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Boundary Objects

  • By: Sarah Boslaugh
  • In: Green Technology: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney
  • Subject:Environmental Sciences (general), Environmental Technology, Policy & Management

The Health Effects Institute is a boundary object between the Environmental Protection Agency, which is focused primarily on the health effects of pollution, and the automobile industry, which is focused primarily on the financial health of automobile companies.

In sociology, a boundary object is something—not necessarily a physical object—that acts as an interface between different communities. A boundary object may be used differently by different communities (indeed, a community need not understand or even be concerned with how the object is used by any community but their own) but must also be sufficiently robust to retain its identity despite the different ways it is used. For instance, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that accepts donations from a manufacturer and distributes them to a community in need is ...

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