Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems


special session on the


5th International Conference on

Social Science Methodology


Research Committee on Logic and Methodology (RC33) of the

International Sociological Association (ISA)


Cologne, Germany, October 3 - 6, 2000


Book of abstracts, Volume 8 2000

Presentation order





Dorien J. DeTombe (Ed.)


Delft University of Technology

International Society on Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems




Board of the International Society on Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems

Dr. Dorien J. DeTombe (chair), Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Prof. Dr. Tineke Bahlmann, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Prof. Dr. Joseph Wolfe, University of Tulsa, United States of America



Corresponding address:


Dr. Dorien J. DeTombe, Ph.D.

Chair Operational Research Euro Working Group Complex Societal Problems

P.O. Box. 3286, 1001 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe

Tel: +31 20 6927526



The Fifth International Conference on Social Science Methodology will combine all areas of quantitative and qualitative methods in empirical social research. Earlier conferences were held in Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Trento, and Essex.

Social Science Infrastructure Service (GESIS) will co-organize the conference, and Joerg Blasius of the Zentralarchiv of the University of Cologne will act as chair of the organizing committee. Joerg Blasius Zentralarchiv fuer Empirische Sozialforschung

Universitaet zu Koeln Bachemer Str. 40 50931 Koeln

Tel: ++49-221-476 94 46 oder ++49-221-470 31 55

Sek: ++49-221-476 94 33 (Frau Priemer) Fax: ++49-221-476 94 44



Organizing committee: Nancy Andes, Joerg Blasius, Edith de Leeuw, Joop Hox, Peter Schmidt, Karl van Meter.



ISBN 90-5638-051-6

Ó Dorien J. DeTombe, All rights reserved, March 2000

International Society on Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems


Handling complex societal problems needs a special approach. Handling societal problems in an interdisciplinary way has become a must for our society and a challenge for the human sciences. The problems society is confronted with are difficult to handle. There is a growing gap between the complexity of these problems and the human capacity to deal with them. There is a need for better methods and tools, more knowledge and imagination. Scientific knowledge is needed to survive amidst these problems.

Therefore methodology for analyzing complex societal problems has become a new field of scientific attention. Some of the scientific reasons for this special approach are that the problems are seldom defined, change during their development, many actors are involved often with a different view on the problem, with different interest and with different ‘solutions’ in mind. Societal reasons for this special approach is the importance of these problems for society, the impact they have on many people, and the large amount of money involved. Combining the effort of scientists who are working in this field is an inspiring serious challenge from the perspective of a number of disciplines. To combine existing knowledge and creating new insights with methods and tools for supporting complex societal problems is a challenge for scientists from different fields.

Together with the Dutch Nosmo Research Group on Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems, the Euro Working Group 21 on Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems, the goal of the International Society on Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems is to increase and to combine the available scientifical knowledge regarding the handling of complex societal problems. Means to reach this goal are organizing workshops and conferences, publishing proceedings and books in which the discussion on this subject can take place.

Keywords: Methodology; Handling Societal Problems

Special sessions and conferences organized by the Euro Working Group 21, in cooperation with the International Society of Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems and the Dutch NOSMO research group on Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems, on topic of Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems:


Books published on the topic of Methodology of Handling Complex Societal Problems



Methodology for Complex Societal Problems I

Thursday 5th October 2000 10.30-12.30 Room: P-S56

Session Organiser: Dr. Dorien J. DeTombe

Chair : Dr. Dorien J. DeTombe


Presentation 1:

Introduction in the field of Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems: a combination of methods: the field, the methods, the difference and similarity with other kind of methodology research.

DeTombe, Dorien J., Dr.

Chair International Research Group Methodology for Handling Complex Societal Problems

Technical University Delft, School of Technology, Policy and Management

P.O. Box. 3286, 1001 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe

Tel: +31 20 6927526



Keywords: Methodology; Handling Societal Problems


In the field of methodology research one often specializes in one or two kinds of methods such as data analyzing, interview techniques or multi level research. These methods are often specialized in certain kind of knowledge acquisition or data analyzing, mostly applied on events that already exist of has happened in the past. Such as finding causal relation between youngsters leaving secondary school without a diploma and speaking an other language at home than in school, what is the background of the CDU voters in Germany, how many cars pass each day at a certain point, and why people want to buy something.

Complex societal problems are problems like how to deal with protecting a country from water floods, trying to find interventions for traffic congestion, and handling the Aids problem on an international level. Problems of which much necessary data is missing, many fields are involved, and in which many actors are involved. In these problems knowledge as well as power and emotion play a role. Due to the complexity and the impact these problems have they need a to be handled by an group of people, e.g. an interdisciplinary group of knowledge experts and actors. With handling complex societal problems one has to focus on the past, present and future. In order to analyze the problem, to see what how the situation became what it is and guide the interventions all kind of methods for analyzing, and guiding are needed. Methods for data analyzing (spss, multi level research, literature search), methods for knowledge acquisition (all kind of interview techniques, GDSS, surveys etc) and methods for predicting the future (scenario's and simulation models); qualitative as well as quantitative methods. Also methods for guiding groups and analyzing power are needed, such as network analyzing methods.

The knowledge for these methods comes mostly from the field of methodology , some from other fields like Political Sciences, Social Administration, Artificial Intelligence, Logic, Sociology. The central methodological question in this field is: which method can support a specific phase in the problem handling process, considering the kind of problem, the group of people, the time and money available.


Presentation 2:

Contextual Validation of Model-based Conclusions

Birrer , Frans A.J. drs.

University of Leiden

Department of Mathematics, Computer Science & Society,

P.O. Box 9512, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands



Model-based conclusions regarding societal issues are often contested. Some sociologists have suggested that scientific claims are merely social constructions, whereas others cling to the idea of one uncontestable reality. Neither of the extremes is entirely tenable. What model results have to say about a particular societal problem depends upon the possible consequences of accepting or rejecting claims (i.e.: can the evidence bear the burden of proof of our practical conclusions concerning the problem at hand). Within the community of pure research, these consequences (internal reward/punishment) are artificially kept uniform, which may explain why scientific experts so often fail to distinguish between different contexts. Whereas the very principled may resort to paradigms like decision analysis along Bayesian lines, a simpler option is to keep ordinary statistical methods in, while at the same time making sure that the interpretation of practical conclusions is explicitly adapted to the context of the problem. Looking at the consequences of acceptance/rejection of claims thus introduces a methodological meta-level where the context-dependency of conclusions can be accommodated, and where the defects of both absolutism and relativism can be overcome.


Presentation 3:

Methodology as a Challenge


Dijkum, Cor van, Dr.

Department of Methodology and Statistics

Faculty of Social Science, Utrecht University

Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands

Tel. work: +31 30 2534911 Fax: +31 30 2535797

Tel. home: +31 20 6622002


The new century will face us with a large number of complex social problems. To handle those problems it is for sure that the sciences are needed. But are the social sciences prepared for such a demanding task? Do the social sciences really understand social forces and can they handle their complexity ? Three basic problems, essential for this, are still not yet solved in the (methodo)logic of the social sciences. How do we get grip on the interrelated character of social problems ? How can we understand the time dependent development of those problems? How do we use the knowledge about the dynamics of these developments to tackle facets of complex social problems?

In this paper these question are taken as challenges. As a starting point the idea of a causal feedback cycle is used to criticize on one hand the inadequacy of the text book methodology for answering those questions, on the other hand to come to a better methodological framework. By reference to system dynamics, from this framework, a bridge is build to the art and science of (computer)simulation as a method for analyzing complex social problems. Within this field it is showed how facets of complex social problems can be modeled, made subject of empirical research, and how empirical models can be used as a knowledge base for the handling of complex social problems.

Presentation 4:

The labor market, education, and personnel selection

Hentschel, Uwe, Prof. Dr. * & Sumbadze, Nana, Dr.**

* University of Leiden, Fac. of Social Sciences

Wassenaarseweg 52/ P.O. Box 9555, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands

Tel: 071-5273699 Fax: 071-5273619


** Tbilisi State University, Fac. of Psychology

P.O.Box 25, Tbilisi 8, Georgia, Russia

Tel: 99532-381497 Fax:99532-957392


The paper is starting from the repeatedly reported observation of a discrepancy between the difficulty to find qualified people for certain jobs, in spite of a relatively high rate of unemployment. A theoretical analysis will cover some changes in higher education during the last decades and a link will be made to traditional selection by means of intelligence tests for certain jobs. It is argued that the type of intelligence required e.g. for information technology jobs has changed considerably in comparison to those requirements, which can be regarded to have been the usual ones some time ago. A model will be presented for a hypothetical explanation of the above stated discrepancy and possible solutions overcoming it. In order to provide a comparison with a situation basically different from the situation in the West, a short analysis of the situation in an East European country will be given, following the same theoretical frame of reference. The attainment of the envisaged solutions will in all cases require an interdisciplinary cooperation and thus forms a tremendous challenge for social science methodology.



Presentation 5:

The Compram method: A framework method including various methods for guiding societal problems


DeTombe, Dorien J., Dr.

Technical University Delft, School of Technology, Policy and Management

Chair Operational Research Euro Working Group Complex Societal Problems

P.O. Box. 3286, 1001 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Europe

Tel: +31 20 6927526



Keywords: Methodology; Handling Societal Problems; Compram


The Compram method is a method that combines various methods for supporting handling complex problems. Complex societal problems are problems like handling congestion problems, preventing large rivers from flooding, introducing new technologies and dealing with a multi-cultural society.

The method prescribes a six step approach in which several groups of people, knowledge experts and actors, sequentially and combined regard the problem. Each group passes all the phases in the problem handling process. The groups are guided by a facilitator. The groups are stimulated to discuss the problem together. These discussions are alternated by individual preparations. The Compram method uses a central communication model to describe the problem: the seven -layer model. In the seven-layer model the problem is described in different languages (words and models).

The Compram method is a framework method. This means within the prescription of the main methods, one can chose from a range of all other methods. This can be a Simulation, SPSS, Interview Techniques, Multiple Criteria Analyses, Group Decision Support Models etc. What other method should be used to stimulate the discussion, the exchange the knowledge, to analyze the material and to predict the future, is depending on the phase in the problem handling process, the kind of problem, the group of people, the kind of knowledge one needs to have, and the time and money available. Based on an example of a complex problem is shown what kinds of methods, quantitative and qualitative, are needed.



Presentation 6:

Experimental Methods in Economics: Observing Natural and Artificial Life


Hanappi , Hardy, Prof. Dr. & Zych, Peter, Dr.

University of Technology of Vienna

Institute of Economics

Argentinierstr. 8/175, Vienna, Austria




In recent years artificial-life approaches (AL) have become a rather popular methodological tool for economic analysis. This paper proposes to view them as a special type of experimental economics – namely as the class of experiments where the object of investigation, economic man, is not represented by real time decisions of human individuals but by trajectories of interacting programs representing in turn simple decision logic’s of economic entities (see also [Hanappi, 1994, pp.171-175]). To drive home this point we first explore and classify the current AL research (chapter 1) and compare it to the research tenets in experimental economics (chapter 2). As a consequence of this comparison the methodological status of AL and its relevance for modeling complex social systems can be systematically discussed (chapter 3). In a concluding chapter we then proceed to show how some of the results of these different strands of research could be combined to yield some synergetic extra insight.



Presentation 7:

Aggregation of Social, Behavioral and Biological Variables


Degtiar, V. U., Prof. Dr.

9, Bolshoy Koptevsky proejzd, #49,

125315, Moscow, Russia



In the sphere of social sciences we study influence mainly social variables. Why we need to aggregate social, behavioral and biological variables? Why we need to consider biological ones, which we don't influence directly? Because the value of the fitness of social system is determined on the set of mentioned variables, and because they are dependent from each other. If they were independent, we could optimize our fitness on the mentioned set of variables separately. Moreover, the changes of biological variables are most responsible for changes of the fitness of social system on the big spatio-temporal scales.

Human organizations are the function of the mechanism of aggregation social, behavioral and biological variables, which can produce the harmonized or ill organization. The aim of this paper is the identification of mention mechanism. This can help on the design of organization of social systems and strategies of the change of existing organization with the purpose of creating environment for harmonized self-organization of the members of the population. The methodology is based upon a standard Unified Modeling Language, with the aid of which the architecture of the multilevel socio-biological object can be described within an easily understandable common notational system.


Methodology for Complex Societal Problems II

Friday 6th October 2000 14.00-16.00 Room: P-S89

Session Organiser: Dr. Dorien J. DeTombe

Chair : Dr. Cor van Dijkum


Presentation 8:

Methodological Issues of Knowledge Dynamics Management

Steinerova, Jela Prof. Dr.

Comenius University Bratislava

Faculty of Arts, Department of Library and Information Science

Gondova 2, 818 01 Bratislava, Slovak Republic


Keywords: methodology, knowledge management, knowledge dynamics

The paper is aimed at development of methodological foundations of knowledge dynamics with respect to knowledge management in information institutions. Information science deals with complex social problems (knowledge, information) and appropriate methodology for knowledge management should be derived from complex societal problem handling. The complexity of knowledge management comes from links between people, processes and technology. These links are rather unstable and difficult to describe by means of traditional rationalistic representational mechanisms. We will try to find new methodological tools for representation of knowledge dynamics as part of knowledge management.

Based on semiotic viewpoints of knowledge creation, communication and use, the subjective and objective components of knowledge dynamics will be determined. At the subjective level the cognitive structures of individuals in information seeking will be modeled, especially the evolution of information need as special states of knowledge, expectations and emotions. At the objective level the dynamics of socialized, objective knowledge will be modeled. As examples knowledge management methods for special social groups, knowledge domains, and organizations will be described.

As a result knowledge representation methodology for knowledge management will be derived including: 1. cognitive modeling of individual users (changes in states of knowledge, user behavior), 2. modeling of cooperative groups and domains including text types and special domains. The methodology can be used for further discussions on knowledge dynamics and knowledge retrieval in information science and education of new information professionals.

Presentation 9:

Human Ecology 1: Mapping socio-technological development

Krassnitzky, Olaf, Dr.

Key words: human ecology, outcomes, contingencies, technology, development, disasters, critical paths, social construction, methodology, accounting, mapping.


Based on (human-ecological) studies of the natural history of disasters, a mapping methodology was designed to explore the dynamics and structures of social and technological development. The maps are constituted as follows:

  1. fields of contingencies (natural, environmental, technological, organizational, communal fields of contingencies; boundaries and boundary controls between fields; dimensions of material and social constructions)
  2. critical events/decisions path(s), milestones
  3. sociological interpretations
  4. data base design.

The methodology was applied to existing descriptions of disasters (Mexico City Earthquake, Chernobyl, Peruvian earthquake, the Challenger incident, the contamination of the blood supply of various countries with HIV-1). The following conclusions were reached:

  1. the methodology provides a comprehensive accounting of relevant contingencies, some of which would have been (or have been) missed otherwise
  2. this advantage comes at the cost of high resource requirements, not commonly available to social scientists
  3. the methodology can be useful for the analysis of non-disastrous outcomes
  4. the social construction and interpretation of contingencies (e.g. warning signs) are as important in the genesis of outcomes as are material contingencies.

The basic structures of human ideation, experience, and action engaged in the social construction of events and contingencies are discussed in a separate paper (Human ecology 2).


Presentation 10:

Controlling the Emerging Eco-wave

Ryzhenkov, Alexander, Prof. Dr.

Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering

Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences

17 Lavrentiev Avenue Novosibirsk 630090 Russia

Telephone: +7 3832 30 25 46 Fax: +7 3832 30 25 80

E-mail address:

This paper is a synopsis of the author's book just published (Ryzhenkov, A. 2000. Unfolding the Eco-wave: Why Renewal Is Pivotal. Chichester, John Wiley & Sons). It portrays capital accumulation as an evolving system of coupled non-linear feedback loops from the system dynamics perspective. Levels (the share of employees in national income, capital-output and employment ratios) and rates are the fundamental variable types within a feedback causal loop. A discrepancy between a goal and an apparent condition is a component of a rate (or policy). This analytic treatment is supported by computer simulation and gaming.

The capitalist competitive-co-operative structure, revealed in this paper, generates cyclical economic growth, or long wave. The major fluctuations in business activity with a 50-65 years period are known as Kondratiev's cycles. The growth in production in the 1950s and 1960s exceeded the threshold of the environment's carrying capacity. The growing environmental pressures may even lead to the end of long wave itself. World society can experience the next (fifth) Kondratiev cycle, or eco-wave, only if it alters own structure in response to past experience and in anticipation of coming problems. An enhancing of information wealth of the natural environment is the necessary condition for sustainable development.

The proposed guidelines for the social change focus on investing in natural capital (land development, mineral exploration, etc.) and raising eco-efficiency (reducing material and energy intensity of production) that foster profitability and employment, facilitate more equal income distribution. Excessively uneven economic growth, social myopia and escalating social conflicts are not compatible with sustainable development. The Russia's great depression with reduction of the population, decline of produced capital and degradation of the natural environment is a particular case of unsustainable development.

The paper will spark discussions in such hotly debated contemporary issues as the environment and economic growth, distribution of income, business and labor.



Presentation 11:

Regularities of Social Systems Functioning under Crises


Shkurkin, Anatoly, Dr.

Complex Analysis of Regional

Problems Institute,

4, Sholom-Aleyhem str.,

Birobidjan 682200, Russia


Any stable social system functions in the state of equilibrity for the whole of the combination of relations between its elements and structures. Numerous invariants of the system's conduct determine the regularity of its activity. Its essence is in sustaining this regularity or, which is the same, minimizing the entropy. Stability appears as a result of achievement of certain equilibrium in the processes of exchange of matter, energy and information between the system and the environment. In the case this equilibrium is violated in any respect, by any reason, dischange of the excess energy out to the environment is slowing down. Accordingly, entropy is increasing in the system. As soon as the amount of entropy has exceeded a certain critical point, the system starts functioning in a different regime of the crises or bifurcation, and that kind of the disequilibrium social system would poses some regularities basically different from ones in the stable system. First of all, it is strengthening of the social system's chaos, that determines spreading of some irrational values, reasons, needs, intentions and actions in the public conscious. This regularity just noticed by T. Parsons, which we call the synergetic principle of disorganizing, displays itself in the second regularity can be found out by means of the historical principle of the "transfer of the action field" revealed by A.Toynbee. In the process of interaction between the social system and the environment the field for this interaction is gradually transferring from the environment to the internal structures of the system. In the state of crises the non-entropy activity of the system is partly transferred to the lowest levels of its own from the environment. This regularity that we call the "synergetic principle of endogenerating". We call this regularity the "synergetic principle of endogenerating". This reads: In social systems in the state of bifurcation a response to the increase in entropy of the system is removed inside the given system and mostly affects the level of individual conscious. Investigations made by I. Prigozhin at the molecular systems level have shown impossibility for the system's average" behavior to predominate over its separate elements. To say more, in the process of interaction between those separate elements there appear some distant-acting correlations that did not exist in the well balanced system. The same phenomenon can also be observed in the extremely disequilibrium social systems. The role of an individual, a separate person in a system of the kind is considerably strengthening, and in the case the system is removed to the critical zone, this role becomes decisive. All social processes in the systems in crises, unlike ones in the stable systems, are super fleeting. Interactions between separate elements of the system, especially if they belong to different hierarchical levels becomes to a great extent asymmentical. Moreover, the directions for these relations' asymmetry are very often basically unpredictable and not depending on the level of hierarchy of the interacting elements. For instance, some large-scale actions adopted at the governmental level in the

society of crisis may be completely disregarded with the citizens, while a relatively neutral phrase of a politician canevoke rather acute reaction on apart of a considerable number of people. The nearer a social system approaches the attractor the breaking point of the crisis system - the less opportunity it has to come back to its initial, or very close to this, state. This is the reason why, f.i. in Russia the wide masses of people have their hopes, values, and ideals ruined. To paraphrase K. Yaspers, the social system in crisis can to some extent be called the "cemetery for the dead ideal". In the period of bifurcation the social order is sharply reducing; accordingly the large-scale rise of the social chaos is observed. Created nonequilibrium conditions cease suppressing marginality existing in the society, deviations from the normative rules and standards reproductive mechanisms of the society starts working with some irregularity in this situation, the normative kernel gives up selfreplication that would poses the quality and reliability demanded for the stable functioning consequently, the social anomaliness spreads out, evolving more and more social layers into the deviated movements, the normative standards destroyed, and it means that the anomaliness (anomia) or social chaos starts selfreplicating. This one and some other principles that describe the social systems behavior in the situation of crisis completely display themselves in the reforming Russia, being during the last decade the unique experimental historical field for defining the regularities for functioning of the objects of social nature in the strongly disequilibrium conditions to give a start for the new sociological science - sociosynergetics.



Presentation 12:

Between Complex problems of being and Global Possibilities for Well-being. Making place in the 21st century City


Chaffers, J. Prof. Dr.

University of Michigan,

Michigan, USA


Keywords: Space, place, globalization, design, citizenship, consumership, quality, well-being


This paper extends my current research on power relationship emerging within back -to-the-city movements in metropolitan America. Thinking broadly about city, space and globalization, I expend my focus to include first-hand observations of similar migrations occurring in The Republic of South Africa. Across all cultural locales, my exploration reveal a direct exploration between a predominant emphasis on values of self-advancement consumer rights and mass individual consumptions (consumership) and a parallel underdevelopment of values focuses on family well-being and civic responsibility (citizenship). This paper proposes an enlarged concepts of family aimed at encouraging a more balanced exercise of consumership/citizenship powers. Specifically , a framework of conceptual building blocks is proposed that aims to highlight opportunities for strategic problem-solving embedded within the entrepreneurial ethos of transnational market democracies. These inherent ' building blocks for good business' would ideally serve to bind the increasingly globalized production of commodious spaces for consumership in a more harmonious balance with spiritual-rooted places for citizenship.



Presentation 13:

Research on second language education and ‘critical thinking’: current theoretical and methodological issues.


Bertrand, Lynda*, Dr. & Krassnitzky, Olaf, Dr.

1837 Aspenview Way

Orléans, Ontario, Canada

K1C 6S7

Telephone: (613) 837 2116

Fax: (613) 837 8610



Errors in informal logic can be grouped as categorical, causal and rhetorical fallacies. A small exploratory study into the relationships between critical thinking and English as second-language competencies amongst university students in Canada revealed that this classification of logical fallacies, with proper correction for language competency, can be used as an analytical instrument to study differences and similarities in how social groups, classes, societies, or cultures construct their respective life-worlds. The authors found that categorical errors are commonly linked to levels of language competence. Causal errors appear to be linked to formal educational factors (i.e. rational instrumental thinking), and how people see their life-world to be used. In contrast, rhetorical errors seem to be linked to cultural and social factors, and may not be errors in the philosophical sense, but rather expressions of differences in how people relate to their life-world. This instrument can provide an interface between various theoretical positions/perspectives, and empirical work in order to confirm, refute, or consolidate theoretical claims. This appears to be of importance with respect to claims of the political left and Right in the area of ‘emancipatory education.’ Possible applications, research strategies, and methodological problems associated with the instrument are discussed.


Keywords: critical thinking, sociolinguistics, methodology, globalization.



Presentation 14:

Human Society Hystory: Concepts, Phenomenon And Models. Comparative Review

Makarenko, A. Prof. Dr.,

National Technical University of Ukraine (KPI)

Institute of Applied System Analysis

Kiev, Ukraine

Human sciences have a long history and many achievements. First of all it should be remarked some global concepts such as goals of society, historical progress and their indexes, civilizations, culture, science. This concepts firstly originated from empirical research and hadn’t been strictly formalized. Now the development of science follows to more strict formalizations of background notions and objects under investigation and moreover modeling.

The parallel review of traditional concepts and strict models are displayed in report. It was compared as issues above as many new: sustainable development, World order, global economics and market, Enchant history, education as whole, nation, languages, hermeneutics. The well established results and new models are discussed.

Entirely new is author’s models with accounting individual mentality. The unexpected consequences of new models for methodology are posed. For example, the anticipatory property of individuals lead to many scenarios of development and to deep analogs of society history to behavior of some natural systems. The sources of nonclassical logic in new models are described. Consequences for history interpretation and learning are discussed.


Keywords: Civilization, Culture, Historical Progress, Models



Presentation 15:

Environmental Management At South African Mines: What About Iso 14001?

Pothas*, Anne-Marie, Dr., Hermanus Prinsloo, Kobus van der Walt & Dries de Wet, Dr.

*Vaal Triangle Campus of the PU for CHE

PO Box 1174,

Vanderbijlpark 1900, South Africa



In the South African mining sector environmental management does not formally form part of the other management systems of the mines, i.e. at a South African mine an Environmental Management Program, and not an Environmental Management System, is legally required. Mining is by nature a destructive activity, and impacts such as erosion, atmospheric pollution and pollution of surface and ground water bodies may occur. It is increasingly realised that during the different phases of a mining project – from planning to post-closure – the cost-effective managing of the natural and the social environments should be regarded as integral to each and all of the different phases of the project. The lack of a prescribed Environmental Management System has motivated several of the bigger South African mines to voluntarily implement ISO 14001 based systems, but most mines, with only an approved Environmental Management Program in place, are not enabled to apply integrated environmental management. What implications does an Environmental Management System such as ISO 14001 have for South African mines? To answer this question, investigating the attitude of mining management to integrated environmental management and the implementing of an Environmental Management System, was regarded as a starting point. Here the authors share the results and some implications of their investigation.


Keywords: Environmental Management, Mines, Attitude.


Presentation 16:

Exploring Perceptions Of Diversity At The Potchefstroom University, South Africa


Wet, Dries de Dr. & Pothas, Anne-Marie Dr.*

Vaal Triangle Campus of the PU for CHE

PO Box 1174


South Africa



Higher education institutions across the globe are experiencing societal and financial pressures to transform. South African universities are all addressing this need - rendered especially acute in post-apartheid South Africa - for transformation. The Potchefstroom University is a case in point. The university has two residential campuses and also offers distance education. Transformation forums consisting of all roleplayers (students, personnel, authorities and the community) are established at both residential campuses. Crucial to the transformation process is the managing of the diversity ubiquitous throughout the university. The two residential campuses serve different communities, whilst the distance education program reaches across Africa. The student corps consist of the different South African population groups and show a diversity of language preference, of financial means, of educational background, of value systems, of religion, of sexual orientation, of … . Exploring the students’ perceptions of this rich diversity would offer the university management the opportunity not only to identify and satisfy student needs, but also to anticipate and defuse possible issues of future contention. Tasked by the transformation forums, the authors are carrying out an investigation on the perceptions of diversity amongst the students at the two residential campuses as well as amongst the distance education students. In this article the results obtained so far and the implications thereof for the transformation process at the university are discussed.


Keywords: Diversity, Transformation


See for  more information on the NOSMO Research Group Complex Societal Problems


See for more information West_Euro Research Group Complex Societal Problems


See for more information Euro Working Group Complex Societal Problems


See for more information  Research Groups on Complex Societal Problems



See for information about  methods of Complex Societal Problems COMPRAM


For direct policy support in handling complex societal problems 

Foundation Greenhill & Waterfront




Ó Dorien J. DeTombe, All rights reserved, May 2001