Open main menu

Thomas Martin Baumgartner (born ca. 1945) is a Swiss economist, known for his pioneering work in social systems theory with Walter F. Buckley, Tom R. Burns and others.

Thomas Martin Baumgartner

Life and workEdit

Baumgartner started his academic career at the University of New Hampshire, where he received his PhD in economics 1976 with the dissertation The political economy of international economic exchange and development : a systems approach to the structuring of the international economic system.

After his promotion Baumgartner was affiliated with the University of Quebec at Montreal as visiting professor,[1] with the University of Louvain in Belgium,[2] and with the Institute of Sociology of the University of Oslo,[3][4] ending up as research consultant in Zurich, Switzerland, in the late 1980s,[5] where in the 1990s he directed the Creato-network for environmental planning in Zurich.[6]

In the early 1970s Baumgartner collaborated with Tom R. Burns and a number of other researchers, such as Walter F. Buckley, Matthew Cooper, Philippe DeVille, David Meeker, and Bernard Gauci, among others.[7] They have been developing a new theory complex, which came to be referred to as actor-system dynamics (ASD), a new social systems theory, substantially different from Parson's systems theory and the systems theory later developed by Niklas Luhmann.[8]


Books, a selection[9]

  • 1975. Multi-level, dialectical social action : an open systems theory perspective. With Walter F. Buckley and Tom R. Burns
  • 1976. The Political Economy of International Economic Exchange and Development: A Systems Approach to the Structuring of the International Economic System. University of New Hampshire.
  • 1982. Power, Conflict, and Exchange in Social Life: An Actor-oriented Systems Theory of the Structuring and Dialectics of Social Systems. With Walter F. Buckley and P. DeVille. Institute of Sociology, Uppsala.
  • 1984. Transitions to alternative energy systems : entrepreneurs, new technologies, and social change. Edited with Tom R. Burns.
  • 1985. Man, decisions, society : the theory of actor-system dynamics for social scientists. With Tom R. Burns and Philippe DeVille.
  • 1986. Shaping of socio-economic systems : the application of the theory of actor-system dynamics to conflict, social power, and institutional innovation in economic life. With Tom R. Burns and Philippe DeVille; Preface by Amitai Etzioni.
  • 1987. Politics of energy forecasting : a comparative study of energy forecasting in Western Europe and North America. Edited with Atle Midttun.
  • 1997. Partizipation als Entscheidungshilfe : Pardizipp, ein Verfahren der (Langfrist-)Planung und Zukunftsforschung. With Peter H. Mettler


  1. ^ Tom Burns, Walter Frederick Buckley (1978) Power and control: social structures and their transformation. p. 215
  2. ^ Thomas Martin Baumgartner, Tom R. Burns, Philippe DeVille (1978) Power, Conflict, and Exchange in Social Life. Vol. 2. p. 233
  3. ^ R. Felix Geyer, Hans van der Zouwen (1978) Sociocybernetics: an actor-oriented social systems approach. Vol 1.
  4. ^ Oystein Noreng (1980) The Oil Industry and government strategy in the North Sea. p. 10
  5. ^ Felix Geyer, Johannes van der Zouwen (1986) Sociocybernetic Paradoxes: Observation, Control and Evolution of Self-Steering Systems. p. 224
  6. ^ Peter H. Mettler, Thomas Martin Baumgartner (1997) Partizipation Als Entscheidungshilfe: Pardizipp, ein Verfahren der (Langfrist-)Planung und Zukunftsforschung General info
  7. ^ Ruth Wodak, Paul Paul Anthony Chilton (2005), A New Agenda in (critical) Discourse Analysis: Theory, Methodology and Interdisciplinarity. p.307
  8. ^ Tom R. Burns, Thomas Martin Baumgartner, Philippe DeVille (1985) Man, Decisions, Society: : The Theory of Actor-system Dynamics for Social Scientists. Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.
  9. ^ For his latest work in German in the 1980s and 1990s, see