Outside the Skin
Systems Approaches to Society’s Larger Structural Issues
Life’s game is measured in episodes of awareness, i.e., self-awareness, an awareness of the way things work, or that things are not always what they seem. As a child, when I learned the secret ingredient in my favorite Scandinavian food, “blood sausage,” was actually cow’s blood, it sent chills down my spine and I’ve never eaten it since. Systems dynamics are full of shocks to the system. Whether we are witnessing the physics of a rational system or the profundity of an irrational system, the shocks come with a sense of, “you mean you can do that?” Outside the Skin examines systems dynamics from the perspective of my own triangulated model comprised of common environments (those shared environments at risk for over-use or degradation), the institutions we design to manage those environments, and the human behavior associated with our investment in the triad. The feedbacks between the three comprise the policy arena for collective decision-making and form a backdrop for shaping personal actions. Beautifully illustrated with student case study research covering a range of topics from the past twelve years, the work is written for a wide audience including academics, researchers, designers, and concerned citizens.