El següent article son alguns paràgrafs de l’article “Welcome to postnormal times” escrit per Ziauddin Sardar.


The concept of ‘postnormal’ was first introduced by Ravetz, the celebrated British philosopher of science, and the Argentinean mathematician Funtowicz [6].Working on the mathematics of risk, they noticed that the old image of science, where empirical data led to true conclusions and scientific reasoning led to correct policies, was no longer plausible [6].

‘The first decade of the 21st century has been a series of wake up calls’, says an advertisement for IBM. ‘These are system crises—from security, to climate, to food and water, to energy, to financial markets and more’ [4]. What is unique about these crises is that they have occurred simultaneously: ‘we have never seen any era when we have been hit by all these multiple crisis at the one time’, says UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon [5]. It is not just that things are going wrong; they are going wrong spectacularly, on a global scale, and in multiple and concurrent ways. We thus find ourselves in a situation that is far from normal; and have entered the domain of the postnormal.

Much of what Ravetz and Funtowicz said about science in the 1990s is now equally true about other disciplines—indeed, society as a whole. Everything from economics to international relations, markets to products in local shops, politics to dissent has become postnormal. There are very good reasons for this state of affairs. All of them are related to three c’s: complexity, chaos and contradictions—the forces that shape and propel postnormal times. It is important for us to understand these forces to negotiate a viable way forward.


Complexity is a natural by-product of the fact that most of our problems have a global scale.

2. Chaos

Postnormal times exist in an epoch of chaos, where acceleration is the norm, predictability is rare, and small changes can lead to big consequences [10]

3. Contradictions

While we are bombarded with information on almost all and every subject, we have very limited capability to actually discern what is important and what is trivial.


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