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From pan- +‎ -archy. Coined independently in many different contexts.


panarchy ‎(plural panarchies)

  1. The individual's right to choose any form of government without being forced to move from their current locale.
    • 1860 article by “Panarchy” de Puydt
  2. (systems theory) Dynamic symmetry across multiple scales.
    • 2001, Lance H. Gunderson and C. S. Holling, Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems[1], ISBN 1559638567, page 25:
      In panarchies, transformational change can be generated from below or from above.
  3. (diplomacy) An inclusive, multilateral system in which all parties may participate meaningfully.
    • 2006, W.A. Knight, “Plurilateral Multilateralism: Canada's Emerging International Policy?”, in Andrew F. Cooper, Dane Rowlands, editors, Canada Among Nations[2], ISBN 0773530266, page 100:
      The overlapping governance networks of panarchy have facilitated a context conducive to the above competing multilateralisms.
  4. (anarchism, rare) Rule by all; a system of governance in which each person has absolute power.
    • 2001, David Trend, Reading Digital Culture[3], ISBN 0631223029, page 148:
      If everyone all at once wanted to know who won the Stanley Cup in 1968 they could have the information simultaneously; cyberspace as the site of Unamuno's panarchy, where each one is king.
  5. (rare) Rule of all; absolute or total rule.
    • 1909, Samuel Eagle Forman, A Good Word for Democracy[4], page 91:
      These contentions give rise to systems of political philosophy which range all the way from anarchy to panarchy; from the doctrine that government should do nothing to the doctrine that it should do everything.
  6. (poetic, rare) An all-encompassing realm.
    • 1839, Philip James Bailey, Festus: A Poem[5], 1860 ed. edition, page 369:
      Some held that God, and all the heavenly powers, / As with the starry panarchy of space, / Were of one essence, like divine and high;

Related terms[edit]


  • Sewell and Salter, 1995, p.373

See also[edit]