Boundaries and Networks

Boundaries and Networks

 

Boundaries precede Networks.

It is the difference which makes the difference.

Boundaries in

  • Regionalism, Globalization, Multinational Firms (Trade/Economics)
  • Social Networks Theory/Relational Sociology (Sociology)
  • Complex Systems Theory – Micro/Macro Links (System Sciences)
  • Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology (Biology)
  • System and Its Environment (Strategic Planning/Management)
  • Functional Silos (Supply Chain Management/Operations Management)
  • Individual and the Collective (Philosophy)
  • Self, Nature, Culture (Meta Integral Theories – Ken Wilber/Roy Bhaskar)
  • Fractal/Recursive/Holographic Paradigm (Cosmology)

 

Chapter 2
The Relational Turn in Social Sciences

Recent times have witnessed relational sociology, as arguably the major form of relational scholarship, gain considerable scholarly momentum. There is a forthcoming major handbook (Dépelteau, 2018), significant edited collections such as Conceptualizing relational sociology (Powell & Dépelteau, 2013), Applying relational sociology (Dépelteau & Powell, 2013), and in the broader leadership literatures Advancing relational leadership research (Uhl-Bien & Ospina, 2012).  In addition, there have been key texts from Crossley (2011), the work of Donati (1983, 1991, 2011) has become more accessible in English (to which he thanks Margaret Archer for, stating she “greatly encouraged and assisted me in presenting my theory to an international audience (Donati, 2011, p. xvii)), and – although less engaged with by English-speaking audiences—Bajoit’s (1992) Pour une sociologie relationnelle.

The Canadian Sociological Association has established a research cluster for relational sociology, with regular symposia, meetings, and events. Significantly, in 2015 the International Review of Sociology/ Revue Internationale de Sociolgie published a special section on relational sociology. Edited by Prandini (2015) and with contributions from Crossley (2015), Dépelteau (2015), Donati (2015), and Fuhse (2015), this special section sought to ascertain whether an original and international sociological paradigm entitled “relational sociology” could be identified. Prandini (2015) argues:

A new and original social paradigm is recognizable only if it accedes to the world stage of the global scientific system constituted and structured by networks of scientific scholars, scientific contributions published in scientific journals, books, internet sites, etc., fueled by a vast array of international meetings, seminars, conferences, and so on. It is only at this global level that we can decide if a new paradigm is gaining a global stage or not. Put in other words: are we really witnessing a new and emergent sociological ‘school’, or are we observing only a sort of ‘esprit du temp’ which is able to catalyse similar intuitions and sociological insights? (pp. 1–2)

At the end of his paper, Prandini (2015) contends that there is less a paradigm (in its precise Kuhnian meaning) and instead it is better to speak of a “relational turn” in sociology. Built on a strong and clear convergence toward a common critique of classic sociological theories, it is possibly the early stages of an emerging paradigm but such a label is currently premature. The real breakthrough of this turn is in forcing social scientists to specify “accurately the ontology of society and social relation and to discover new methods and research techniques well suited to study it” (Prandini, 2015, p. 13).

Relational theory is, as Emirbayer (1997) declares, beyond any one disciplinary background, national tradition, or analytic and empirical point of view. Outside of the major centers of Europe and the USA, Yanjie Bian hosted the International Conference on Relational Sociology at the Institute for Empirical Social Science of Xi’an Jiaotong University, and Jan Fuhse hosted the international symposium Relational Sociology: Transatlantic Impulses for the Social Sciences at Humboldt University of Berlin. Donati (2011) claims that interest in social relations can be found in philosophy (from the metaphysical point of view), psychology (from the psychic point of view), economics (from the resource perspective), law (control by rule), and even biology (bioethics). The interest is also not limited to the social sciences, with Bradbury and Lichtenstein (2000) noting:

The interdependent, interrelated nature of the world has also been discovered by physicists in their study of quantum reality. In their quest to identify the basic building blocks of the natural world, quantum physicists found that atomic particles appeared more as relations than as discrete objects (Capra 1975; Wolf 1980), and that space itself is not empty but is filled with potential (Bohm 1988). Heisenberg’s discovery early this century that every observation irrevocably changes the object being observed, further fueled the recognition that human consciousness plays an irreversible role in our understanding of reality (Bachelard, 1934/1984; Wilber 1982; Jahn & Dunne 1987). (p. 552)

Apart from its widespread contemporary appeal, relational thinking has a long history. The North American stream arguably finds its roots in the New York School, European scholars such as Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, Gabriel Tarde, Norbert Elias, Niklas Luhmann, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour, among others, have long argued for various relational approaches (even if not using that label), and Emirbayer traces the tradition of privileging relations rather than substances to pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus. What is consistently germane across these various scholars is a critique of substantialism in classic sociological accounts. This also arguably speaks to the proliferation of relational scholarship in the past few decades as globalized forces are causing a rethink of spatio-temporal conditions (e.g., the nation state and geographic borders). In breaking down the substantialist approaches, and their underlying analytical dualisms, relational scholarship asks questions of the ontological and epistemological as much as the empirical.

Contemporary thought and analysis in social theory is overrun with “turns.” In this chapter, rather than be seduced by contemporary attention to a relational turn in the social sciences, I seek to highlight some major events, trajectories, or streams of relational thought. In doing so, I am critically aware of the difficulty of arguing for relational understanding and then constructing significant events as though they are entities in and of their own right. Within the confines of a single chapter, and mindful of the role that this chapter is playing the book (e.g., setting some context/trajectory for developing my argument), my goal is to cite key developments and how they relate to one another and my argument. Given my particular interest in organizing activity, my focus is on the Human Relations Movement of the early twentieth century, the New York School of relational sociology, and then contemporary developments in sociology, leadership, and to a lesser extent, the natural sciences. While I concede that there is increasing interest in what has come to be known as “relational sociology” (see also the following chapter), relational scholarship has a long and diverse intellectual history. Importantly though, as Powell and Dépelteau (2013) note, relational sociology is not a heterogeneous label and as a collection of scholars, is still quite some way from achieving any form of  consensus. Whether consensus is required, or even desirable, for relational scholarship is questionable. The diversity of ontological and methodological starting points allows scholars to investigate a wide range of phenomena. This diversity, complexity, depth, and vitality enable dialogue and debate without requiring consensus. What binds them together is their scholarly focus on relations rather than alignment with a specific empirical object and/or method of inquiry

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

The Relational Turn in Sociology: Implications for the Study of Society, Culture, and Persons

Special issue of the academic journal Stan Rzeczy [State of Affairs]

The relational approach, which has a long tradition, has re-emerged and strengthened, forming a new, vital movement of divergent variants in sociology. Initiated and systematically developed by Pierpaolo Donati, it has grown into what is called the Italian relational turn, later followed by a proliferation of relational sociologies of various origins, including the works of Harrison C. White, Charles Tilly, Mustafa Emirbayer, Pierre Bourdieu and others. After the postmodern diffusion and beyond the stagnation of interpretative against normative conceptualizations of social life, relational sociology offers new conceptual tools and plays a leading role in reconstructing sociology both on theoretical and applied planes.

Modern sciences are founded on the study of relations, rather than essences or substances. From the outset, the relational approach has had to pave its way in sociology against holistic (“science of society”) and nominalistic (“science of individuals”) orientations. Social relations are among the key sociological concepts and have been studied as constitutive for social bonding. On the micro-level, interpersonal relations have been in the center of attention in the area where sociology and social psychology overlap. The relational turn consists not only of focusing on social relations; it also involves introducing relational categories of analysis.

The category of social relations is certainly not new in social theory. What is new is the way of looking at them. Contemporary relational thinking assumes radical changes in the ontological, epistemological, and phenomenological status of social relations. Refocusing on social relations, on their constitution and emergent effects leads us to a new way of describing, understanding and explaining social and cultural phenomena as relational facts.

A particularly significant feature of relational sociology resides in its capacity to broaden the theory of the human subject not only as a self, agent, and actor, but also through the development of the concept of the person; more precisely, through deeper research on the relational constitution of the human person as a social subject emerging from relational reflexivity (dialogue between ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘We’, ‘You’ in a situated social context) – in other words, a view of the human person as homo relatus. Analyzing these processes leads to a sui generis relational theory of agency.

Various or divergent theories of contemporary social and cultural processes evoke relationality, but relational analysis differs from “relationistic” positions. Most existing approaches, both historical and modern, cannot be considered relational sociology in a true sense unless the social relation is conceived as a reality sui generis and society is conceptualized as a network of social relations.

“Turn” refers to a gradual transformation of the field of scientific theories, rather than to a scientific revolution. Several characteristic features of a “turn” appear to correspond well with significant traits of the relational turn: an epistemological rupture, which is brought about by introducing an innovative vocabulary that opens up new analytic perspectives;  an attempt to reconstruct the scientific domains of knowledge under conditions of their growing fragmentation; introduction of a novel perspective that shows existing knowledge in a new light; moving on from the research object to the category of analysis. These are the features of a genuine new intellectual movement that enters into debates and polemics, particularly as regards various ways of understanding relations and relationality.

The synergetic effect of a creative exchange of ideas between the founders of theories that have been independently pursued – the relational theory of society developed by Pierpaolo Donati and the theory of morphogenic society, developed on the basis of critical realism by Margaret S. Archer – proves particularly fruitful for the study of the after-modern and the new possibilities of a morphogenic society, in which the challenge of re-articulating social relations remains of central importance.

The aim of this special issue is to reflect upon the innovative potential of contemporary relational theorizing of society, culture, and persons and to go beyond superficial statements on relational sociology by addressing these issues through in-depth investigations. We invite authors to take on problems of relational sociology by discussing its main assumptions, by conceptual clarifications, by re-articulating the concepts pertinent to understanding social phenomena in relational terms, and by empirical studies guided by methodological rules of relational analysis.

http://www.stanrzeczy.edu.pl

 

Key Terms:

  • Order
  • Class
  • Identity
  • Culture
  • Meaning
  • Difference
  • Boundaries
  • Networks
  • Hierarchies
  • Heterarchy
  • Control
  • Power
  • System/Environment
  • Inside/Outside
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Included/Excluded
  • Multi-Level
  • Fractals
  • Scale
  • Multiplex
  • Ties
  • Chains
  • Silos
  • Connections
  • Links
  • Netchains
  • Operational Closure
  • Inequality
  • Information Asymmetry
  • Categories
  • Domain
  • Social Structure
  • Interaction
  • Interlocks
  • Institutions
  • Memory
  • Agency
  • Limits
  • Relational
  • Intra/Inter
  • Process
  • Subjective/Objective

 

 

Please see my related posts:

Boundary Spanning in Multinational and Transnational Corporations

Relational Turn in Economic Geography

Networks and Hierarchies

Boundaries and Relational Sociology

Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

Art of Long View: Future, Uncertainty and Scenario Planning

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

 

BOUNDARIES/NETWORKS

Chapter of Book ME++

https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/titles/content/9780262633130_sch_0001.pdf

 

 


Relational Sociology: Transatlantic Impulses for the Social Sciences

International Symposium, Berlin, September 25/26, 2008

http://www.relational-sociology.de

 

 

 

Symposium on Relational Sociology

https://sozlog.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/symposion-on-relational-sociology/

 

Relational sociology

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relational_sociology

 

 

 

Networks and Boundaries

Athanasios Karafillidis

RWTH Aachen University
Correspondence: atha@karafillidis.com

Paper presented at the International Symposium
„Relational Sociology: Transatlantic Impulses for the Social Sciences“,
Berlin,

September 25-26, 2008

http://karafillidis.de/downloads/Netbound.pdf

 

 

Theorising Borders as Mechanisms of Connection

Anthony Cooper

https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/files/13886314/2013cooperaphd.pdf

 

 

Boundaries, Hierarchies and Networks in Complex Systems

PAUL CILLIERS

2001

http://blogs.cim.warwick.ac.uk/complexity/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2014/02/Cilliers-2001-Boundaries-Hierarchies-and-Networks.pdf

 

Fractal Boundaries of Complex Networks

Jia Shao, Sergey V. Buldyrev, Reuven Cohen
Maksim Kitsak1, Shlomo Havlin, and H. Eugene Stanley

http://u.math.biu.ac.il/~reuven/publications/boundaries.pdf

 

Rethinking the Financial Network

Speech given by
Andrew G Haldane, Executive Director, Financial Stability, Bank of England

At the Financial Student Association, Amsterdam

28 April 2009

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/speeches/2009/speech386.pdf

 

 

 

Knowledge, limits and boundaries

Paul Cilliers

http://www.complexityforum.com/members/cilliers%202005%20knowledge%20limits.pdf

 

 

On the Status of Boundaries, both Natural and Organizational: A Complex Systems Perspective

Kurt A. Richardson & Michael R. Lissack

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/59e3/6b5711dc6782e451ad32078b799cd487cb3b.pdf

Exploring System Boundaries: Complexity Theory and Legal Autopoiesis

Thomas Edward Webb

http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/62005/1/T.E._Webb_Exploring_System_Boundaries_accepted_version_.pdf

 

 

The Role of Leaders in Managing Organisation Boundaries

https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/manment.2012.16.issue-1/v10286-012-0001-0/v10286-012-0001-0.pdf

 

 

 

Managing Boundary Spanning Elements: An Introduction

Sunil Sahadev, Keyoor Purani, and Neeru Malhotra

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michel_Rod/publication/272733714_Sahadev_S_Purani_K_and_Malhotra_N_eds_Boundary_Spanning_Elements_and_the_Marketing_Function_in_Organizations_Springer/links/5566139008aec22682ff167f/Sahadev-S-Purani-K-and-Malhotra-N-eds-Boundary-Spanning-Elements-and-the-Marketing-Function-in-Organizations-Springer.pdf#page=8

 

 

 

 

Boundary-Spanning in Organizations: Network, Influence and Conflict

Edited by Janice Langan Fox, Cary Cooper

 

https://www.routledge.com/Boundary-Spanning-in-Organizations-Network-Influence-and-Conflict/Langan-Fox-Cooper/p/book/9780415628839

A Borderless World and Nationless Firms?

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/prism_chapter.pdf

 

 

 

 

ADAPTATION AND THE BOUNDARY OF MULTINATIONAL FIRMS

Arnaud Costinot
Lindsay Oldenski
James E. Rauch

January 2009

http://www.nber.org/papers/w14668.pdf

http://economics.mit.edu/files/6456

 

The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade

James R. Markusen

http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.9.2.169

 

Incomplete Contracts and the Boundaries of the Multinational Firm

Nathan Nunn

Daniel Trefler§

June 2008

https://www.princeton.edu/~ies/IESWorkshop/NunnTreflerPaper.pdf

 

 

Complexity and Philosophy

Francis HEYLIGHEN

Paul CILLIERS,

Carlos GERSHENSON

https://arxiv.org/pdf/cs/0604072.pdf

 

 

 

Complexity, Deconstruction and Relativism

Paul Cilliers

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.466.6144&rep=rep1&type=pdf

http://geldofcs.nl/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/The_importance_of_a_certain_slowness.pdf

 

 

Towards an Economy of Complexity: Derrida, Morin and Bataille

Oliver Human

Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Paul Cilliers

http://blockchainstudies.org/Human_Complexity.pdf

 

 

 

The architecture of complexity

Herbert Simon

http://claude.rochet.pagesperso-orange.fr/pdf/Thearchitectureofcomplexity.pdf

 

 

 

 

Complexity and postmodernism

Understanding complex systems

Paul Cilliers

http://uberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Paul-Cilliers-Complexity-and-Postmodernism-Understanding-Complex-Systems-1998.pdf

 

 

Complexity, Difference and Identity
An Ethical Perspective

Paul Cilliers, Rika Preiser (Eds.)

http://www.springer.com/us/book/9789048191864

 

Introduction to Critical Complexity. Collected Essays by Paul Cilliers

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rika_Preiser/publication/291337692_Introduction_to_Critical_Complexity_Collected_Essays_by_Paul_Cilliers/links/57faa56508ae8da3ce5bcdc1/Introduction-to-Critical-Complexity-Collected-Essays-by-Paul-Cilliers.pdf

 

 

Chapter 2
The Relational Turn in Social Sciences

Beyond Leadership
A Relational Approach to Organizational Theory in Education

Authors: Eacott, Scott

http://www.springer.com/us/book/9789811065675

http://scotteacott.com/reading-list/

 

 

Relational Sociology: A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences

By Pierpaolo Donati

 

 

 

Conceptualizing Relational Sociology: Ontological and Theoretical Issues

edited by C. Powell, F. Dépelteau

 

Applying Relational Sociology: Relations, Networks, and Society,

edited by Francçois Depélteau and Christopher Powell.
Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan,

 

 

 

Birth and development of the relational theory of society:
a journey looking for a deep ‘relational sociology

http://www.relationalstudies.net/uploads/2/3/1/5/2315313/donati_birth_and_development_of_the_relational_theory_of_society.pdf

 

 

 

Beyond the Manifesto: Mustafa Emirbayer and Relational Sociology

Lily Liang Sida Liu

http://sociology.utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Working-Paper-2017-02.pdf

 

 

 

 

Towards Relational Sociology

By Nick Crossley

 

 

 

 

Manifesto for a Relational Sociology

Mustafa Emirbayer

The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 103, No. 2. (Sep., 1997), pp. 281-317

https://edisciplinas.usp.br/pluginfile.php/1897097/mod_resource/content/1/Mustafa%20Emirbayer_Manifesto%20for%20a%20Relational%20Sociology.pdf

 

 

 

TOWARDS A CONCEPTUALIZATION OF BORDER: THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE

by Josef Langer (Klagenfurt)

http://www.kakanien-revisited.at/beitr/theorie/JLanger3.pdf

 

 

 

 

THE STUDY OF BOUNDARIES IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

Michele Lamont and Vira ́g Molnar

https://scholar.harvard.edu/lamont/files/m.lamont-v.molnar-the_study_of_boundaries.pdf

 

 

 

Beyond “the relationship between the individual and society”: broadening and deepening relational thinking in group analysis

Sasha Roseneil

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/11305548.pdf

 

 

 

The Relational Turn in Sociology: Implications for the Study of Society, Culture, and Persons

Special issue of the academic journal Stan Rzeczy [State of Affairs]

https://calenda.org/385129?file=1

http://www.is.uw.edu.pl/wp-content/uploads/relational_turn_speakers.pdf

 

 

NETWORKS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES: COMPARING ACTOR-NETWORK THEORY AND SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS

LILLA VICSEK1 – GÁBOR KIRÁLY – HANNA KÓNYA

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Author: Mayank Chaturvedi

You can contact me using this email mchatur at the rate of AOL.COM. My professional profile is on Linkedin.com.

4 thoughts on “Boundaries and Networks”

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