Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Creativity, Invention, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

pp 1-3

Date: Latest Version

N-Tuple of Helices

  • Loet LeydesdorffAffiliated withAmsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam Email author 


Complex dynamics


As a generalization of a biological double helix and an institutional triple helix, the n-tuple of helices is based on Luhmann’s distinction of symbolically generalized media and codes of communication that are considered functionally differentiated as the economy, polity, science, etc. In response to Carayannis and Campbell’s (2009) introduction of a quadruple helix and the further extension to a quintuple helix by Carayannis and Campbell (2010), Leydesdorff (2012) argued that an n-tuple of helices can be expected in a pluriform and differentiated society.

The metaphor of a triple helix (TH) of university-industry-government relations (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff 2000) more or less invites proposals to extend the model to more than three helices (Bunders et al. 1999). In a discussion which focused on bringing “society” or “the public” back into the model as a fourth helix, Leydesdorff and Etzkowitz (2003) argued that the helices represent specia ...

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