Drama Therapy: Self in Performance

Drama Therapy: Self in Performance

 

 

From CIIS Catalog

“Drama Therapy, as one of the creative arts therapies [such as art, music, dance and poetry therapy] facilitates artistic expression-engendering clarity, mastery, meaning, and hope…. We choose from a wide array of adapted dramatic processes. Storytelling, improvisation, self-revelatory performance, life review, physical theatre, creative drama, puppetry, script pieces and more are tailored to the needs of a specific group or individual.”

 

California Institute of Integral Studies offers a graduate level degree in Drama therapy.

  • Therapy for the actors
  • Therapy for the audience

How does it work?  I am curious.  Are you?

How is it different from talk therapy? or group therapy?

  • Talking with a Psychiatrist
  • Talking in a group such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous), AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)

Why role playing helps in getting real and truthful?

  • Role Playing
  • Autobiographical
  • Self Revelatory

How is audience impacted?  How do they heal?

 

Self watching self.  Self experiencing self.

Witness Consciousness, Showing mirrors to each other.

Reflections of the self.  Self Illumination.

Sacred Mirrors.

If reality is holographic and recursive, it makes sense.

I admit I do not yet understand it all.  But I am trying and will continue to try and learn.

My artist friends.  Any suggestions?

 

Drama Therapy

Freedom and possibility are two key words that begin to describe the essence of drama therapy. Life is finite; there are only so many experiences we can have. But in drama, the opportunities and options are endless, enabling us to dive more deeply into the richness of life. And when the dramas are authentic and “real,” they have the power to affect, and even alter, our real lives profoundly. For the past thirty years, we have been investigating how therapeutically adapted dramatic processes work over time to heal wounds, facilitate lasting change, and help people reach their highest potential.

– Renée Emunah, Program Founder/Director


Please note: Please contact the Admissions Counselor, Skylar Hall, at 415-575-6122 or shall@ciis.edu for more information.

For more than 30 years, the CIIS Drama Therapy program has been steeped in the exploration of how therapeutically adapted dramatic processes work over time to heal wounds, facilitate lasting change, and help people reach their highest potential. Our program integrates experiential, didactic, and clinical courses in a carefully paced and sequenced curriculum, to train students to become personally and culturally aware, attuned, and competent drama therapists and psychotherapists.

Our program is one of the only master’s programs in the United States both regionally accredited and approved by the North American Drama Therapy Association, and is one of only a handful of such programs in the world. Furthermore, we are the only program that offers a path to the LPCC license. CIIS is internationally recognized as housing one of the world’s most highly developed and rigorous training programs for drama therapists.

Our graduates work in a variety of leadership positions and settings, including community mental health centers, private practice, schools and educational centers, organizations for serving LGBTQ communities, and clinics offering services for trauma, eating disorders, loss, and self-care.


Renée Emunah, the Founder and Chair of the Drama Therapy Program, is the co-editor a recent book:

The Self in Performance:  Autobiographical, Self-Revelatory, and Autoethnographic Forms of Therapeutic Theatre

Edited by Susana Pendzik, Renée Emunah, and David Read Johnson. New York and London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.

This book is the first to examine the performance of autobiographical material as a theatrical form, a research subject, and a therapeutic method. Contextualizing personal performance within psychological and theatrical paradigms, the book identifies and explores core concepts, such as the function of the director/therapist throughout the creative process, the role of the audience, and the dramaturgy involved in constructing such performances. International contributors address issues of identity, memory, authenticity, self-reflection, self-indulgence, and embodied self-representation in Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance, Self-Revelatory Performance, and Autoethnographic Performance.


9781137541536

Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 8.51.57 AM

Key Terms

  • Identity
  • Memory
  • Authenticity
  • Self-reflection
  • Self-indulgence
  • Embodied self-representation
  • Autobiographical Therapeutic Performance
  • Self-Revelatory Performance
  • Autoethnographic Performance
  • Mirrors of the soul
  • Witness Consciousness

Books for further details

Acting for Real: Drama Therapy Process, Technique, and Performance

Renee Emunah

The Self in Performance

Autobiographical, Self-Revelatory, and Autoethnographic Forms of Therapeutic Theatre

Editors: Pendzik, Susana, Emunah, Renée, Read Johnson, David (Eds.)

 

 

 

Self-Revelatory Performance: The Intentional Use of Theatre’s Therapeutic Nature

Leah Shapiro
Connecticut College, l.shapiro323@gmail.com

 

http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=theathp

 

 

What is Drama Therapy?

North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA)

https://www.nadta.org/what-is-drama-therapy.html

 

 

Tales of Transformation: Drama Therapy in Hospitals

Click to access webinar_WhippleDramaTherapy2012.pdf

 

 

DRAMA THERAPY

AS A FORM OF MODERN SHAMANISM

Susana Pendzik

 

Click to access trps-20-88-01-081.pdf

 

 

 

“Working Through the Drama: The Art of Drama Therapy.”

A Theatre Bay Area article by Jean Shiffman about studying Drama Therapy at CIIS

 

Working Through the Drama: The Art of Drama Therapy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

 By Jean Schiffman

  If you’re an actor who yearns to do more with your acquired skills than perform, if you’re inclined toward helping others, if you’re attracted to psychotherapy and counseling and if an eventual steady paycheck sounds inviting, you might want to consider a career in drama therapy (DT). If so, you won’t need to move—San Francisco boasts one of the best DT programs in the country, at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). In fact, this is one of only a few master’s programs in the field that are both regionally accredited (by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges) and approved by the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA), and one of only a handful of such programs in the world, according to the CIIS catalog. (Others in North America are at NYU, Concordia University in Montreal and Lesley University in Boston.) Completing the two-and-a-half- to three-year program meets academic requirements to become registered drama therapists and fulfills the academic requirements for a Marriage and Family Therapist license in California.


In Transit: Braking at the Intersections, a 2013 production of the California Institute of
Integral Studies Drama Therapy Program’s Theatre of Change project. Photo: Lonny Shavelson

  DT, according to NADTA, is “the intentional use of drama and/or theater processes to achieve therapeutic goals.” It “can provide the context for participants to tell their stories, set goals and solve problems, express feelings, or achieve catharsis. Through drama, the depth and breadth of inner experience can be actively explored and interpersonal relationship skills can be enhanced. Participants can expand their repertoire of dramatic roles to find that their own life roles have been strengthened.”

 The CIIS program, which utilizes “theoretical, practical/clinical and experiential formats,” was founded and is directed by Renée Emunah, who first began the program in 1983 at Antioch University San Francisco before moving it to CIIS in 1989. With a PhD in clinical psychology and an MA combining theatre arts and clinical psychology (from San Francisco State), Emunah studied DT in England before it became a field in the US in 1979. She was one of the first four drama therapists to become officially registered in the United States.
In September I sat in one of her first-semester classes, Drama Therapy Process and Technique, to get a feeling for what kinds of students are attracted to the field. The group of about 18 skewed toward 20-something (with one in her mid-50s)—an articulate, intently focused group, mostly women, mostly but not entirely white, a few foreign accents and one hijab among them. They sat on the floor hunched over notebooks for a PowerPoint lecture (followed by a group discussion) on the topic of the day, which was the difference between psychodrama and DT. Basically, DT includes the fictional among its tools (Emunah paraphrases Oscar Wilde: “Give a person a mask, and they will tell the truth”) and is useful for groups; psychodrama is more individual-focused, deals more with straight autobiographical facts and leans less on dramatic skills.

 A typical first-year group, or “cohort,” like this one will stick together for the entire program, taking many of their classes together. They were admitted through a competitive process involving an interview and some group activities to gauge their potential skills in interrelating, intuition and such, after which only about a third are accepted. They are required to have at least some theatre background (the majority have a BFA in theatre) and to be in individual psychotherapy for at least 50 hours during their training (which is true for all psychology and counseling masters programs at CIIS). Despite a heavy weekly workload—perhaps four to five three-hour classes—most also work 15 to 20 hours. Financial aid and a few scholarships are available.

 The first year, while academically intense, might be more fun—if “fun” is an appropriate word to use for such rigorous training—than the extremely challenging second year, when students have a practicum, which is an internship in the field (on site 17 hours a week) along with their coursework.

 Although the day I was there was a traditional but informal lecture-style class, experiential classwork is a large part of the curriculum. As the catalog states, “Drama Therapy, as one of the creative arts therapies [such as art, music, dance and poetry therapy] facilitates artistic expression-engendering clarity, mastery, meaning, and hope…. We choose from a wide array of adapted dramatic processes. Storytelling, improvisation, self-revelatory performance, life review, physical theatre, creative drama, puppetry, script pieces and more are tailored to the needs of a specific group or individual.” Emunah teaches a five-phase integrative model in which drama therapists lead clients in a steadily progressive, carefully plotted journey of healing. Students practice these methods in the classroom, working together as though in a therapeutic environment.

 “There’s quite a bit of reading, of paper-writing, academic writing,” explains Emunah. “There are many publications in the field and lots of methods and approaches. Obviously their own material is evoked in the processes, but it’s a training program to become drama therapists, so we stress that meta-level and observational skill. That can be challenging. It’s not a drama therapy group; it’s class, [but] they can’t just be sitting and taking notes.” One class, for example, is geared to the application of DT in different facilities and age groups, and students practice being in the role of drama therapist while others simulate potential clients. The balance is between experiential classes and psychology classes. In lieu of a formal written thesis at the end, or making a documentary video, or directing a therapeutic “performance,” most students opt to create a “self-revelatory” piece: a scripted, deeply personal, 30- to 45-minute performance that differs from an autobiographical solo show (such as Brian Copeland’s revealing Not a Genuine Black Man) in that the student is not “telling a story” as such but rather is working through an emotional issue. “There’s a sense of suspense in terms of unraveling the multiple strands of healing,” explains Emunah, “but not a pat resolution or quick fix.” Some students have taken their “self-revs” into the mainstream theatre world, performing in festivals.

 

Renee Emunah’s Drama Therapy Process and Technique class at the California Institute of Integral Studies, October 2014.

Photo: Maya Grodman

 In the weeks before I attended the class, the students had—along with academic reading and other classes—played a variety of theatre games familiar to actors who have had basic acting and/or improv training: back-to-back nonverbal conversations; repetitive exchange of lines à la Sanford Meisner (“I want it”/”You can’t have it”) and the more objective-oriented “I want [fill in the blank with something you really want]”/”You can have it”; throwing an imaginary ball around a circle; blind walks (a trust exercise); a blind touch and smell sensory awareness-type exercise; a form of “emotional statues”; creating a scene for characters in conflict. Students keep a journal of the insights they’ve gained. Of the sensory exercise, one student wrote, “It was a different, new experience when miming in a group where the focus is not on the artistic side of it but on the playful, spontaneous, creative side.” One student wrote about a comedic improvisation involving three loud and rude Americans going into a strictly halal restaurant in Jordan and the cultural-political discussion that followed. “This scene really demonstrated just how powerful this work can be!” she wrote.

 There is a decidedly aesthetic component to the practice of DT; as a student wrote in her journal, “A drama therapist needs to identify as a drama/theatre artist.” Armand Volkas, a Marriage and Family Therapist and registered drama therapist with a private practice (the East Bay’s Living Arts Counseling Center, with a focus on “drama and expressive arts therapy”), emphasizes that point: “The more aesthetic you can make therapy, the more transformative it will be.” Volkas also teaches advanced improv and “Drama Therapy and Social Change” at CIIS. He started out by studying acting at UCLA, but when he codirected a theatre piece about children of Holocaust survivors (as he is himself) and realized how therapeutic it was, he knew he needed to apply theatre skills in a nontraditional way. He points out that DT emerged from several sources: ritual, shamanism, play therapy and—perhaps mostly importantly—the experimental theatre movement.
Volkas thinks DT is a field that more traditional therapists don’t take seriously. “I think they see the power of it, and it scares them,” he theorizes, “to get out of their chairs and into action.”

 Acting, he continues, requires a certain kind of narcissism. “It’s about you as an instrument—finding an agent, getting work. But when you’re a drama therapist, it’s not about you. It’s not the mommy-look-at-me impulse any more. You’re using your tools in the service of someone else. So you need to have the impulse to be a servant. To make the world a better place. [But] you don’t throw aesthetics out the window, although you have to adjust it because you’re working with people [your clients] who are not skilled. But when you think of the aha! moment of your life, it has an aesthetic quality. So that’s an important value in DT—to strive for an aesthetic even as a therapeutic goal. In a way you’re creating new memories and you’re rewiring the brain, so that when the person thinks of trauma, it can be rerouted to the new, reparative experience.”    

 Volkas has used his DT and theatre skills in a variety of innovative ways, including teaching a process he calls “Healing the Wounds of History,” an approach to intercultural conflict and collective trauma. He trains drama therapists in his method, then invites a group in historical conflict (say, Turks and Armenians) to engage in a therapeutic process in which they might look at things like “the art of apology.” “An apology is a performance,” he says. “The tools of Method acting apply: how do you make an apology real? These are existential and spiritual questions for groups in conflict, where there’s enormous trauma. How do you heal trauma? Theatre and DT are wonderful tools to research those kinds of questions.” He also works with clients to create the same type of self-revelatory theatre pieces that CIIS students perform as a thesis; the client then performs for an invited audience.

  Pamela Greenberg with auxiliary actors performing in her capstone self-revelatory performance for

California Institute of Integral Studies’ Drama Therapy Program. Photo: Courtesy of CIIS

 The drama therapists I talked to who’d completed the masters program at CIIS were enthusiastic—and employed. Aileen Cho, who had been a theatre major at UC San Diego with an interest in theatre for the oppressed and theatre for social change, working in commercials was unfulfilling. She’d been in traditional talk therapy herself, and when she started Googling around for ideas, she was surprised to discover DT. She’d always known theatre was a powerful tool for change, but thought, Wow, this can be applied in a clinical setting? The master’s program turned out to be the most intense thing she has ever done. She and her cohorts used to jokingly call it “trauma therapy.” Her practicums included working with veterans with PTSD, with teens in Oakland schools and in a residential program for eating disorders, which has turned out to be her niche. “The experiential stuff was the most challenging,” she reports. “They expect you to use your self and your life and personal stuff to experience the modality in DT. There’s always a fine line between therapy and not-therapy. It was very demanding academically and personally on all levels.” She became so close to her cohorts that they are now lifelong friends. “I’ve had close bonds with cast members, but this is a whole other level,” she says. Now Cho works in residential and partial hospitalization and intensive programs for eating disorders, specializing in DT; maintains a private practice; and works with Volkas’s performance programs as well as performing with a troupe of drama therapists at CIIS.

 Like Cho, Jennifer Stuckert—who has a BFA in acting from NYU and has performed on Bay Area stages—discovered DT via Google. She wanted more autonomy over her career, and a steadier income. And she’d always been interested in psychologically driven theatre about interpersonal and social issues. When she took an introductory class at the New School in New York, she fell in love with the field. So two years after receiving her BFA, she applied to CIIS. She was surprised, she says, at just how challenging the program was. “It was scary at times, too,” she says, “and surprising: learning how to not have compassion fatigue, learning how to have boundaries, even mental boundaries—be able to let go as you would let go of a role at the end of a show and return to yourself.” She says it takes ego strength and self-awareness to do this kind of work. “It’s not about you,” she adds. “You can bring your authenticity and your empathy and your love for narrative, but you have to want to help people. That’s not easy.” But she loved the program and finds this career path to be rich and rewarding. She now works as a drama therapist at Volkas’s Living Arts Counseling Center, has started moving toward sex therapy—and is heading to L.A. to pursue film work.

 And Emily Burleson, who is a drama therapist at a Jewish K-8 school in Oakland, says that she was drawn to the field by the same impulses that drew her to theatre. Theatre had been healing for her and she wanted to share that with others. But she also didn’t understand how the healing really happened, what that magic was—plus it depended on her being in a show. She needed “better access to whatever would provide me with that. Drama therapy training connected those dots for me.”

 Burleson attended the CIIS program from 2009 to 2012. She liked the emphasis on, “instead of diving directly into a client’s own story, placing it into a fairy tale or investigative frame, a heightened reality that makes it exciting rather than depressing or terrifying or upsetting.” She was thrilled to go to school with “psychology and theatre geeks.” The hard part was the practicum, which for her was at a psychiatric hospital and required “a lot of grit and compassion.” When she made it through to the end of that year, she felt fantastic. Now she realizes that the magic she was seeking happens when she helps another person to reach a deeper sense of peace and healing. Then she too receives the benefits.

 Finally, what kind of jobs do DT graduates get? Cho says that she and her colleagues are good at getting work, because DT is unique, and “there are not that many of us.” The majority of CIIS graduates work in community mental health, largely with groups, says Emunah: with emotionally disturbed children, at women’s shelters, in chemical dependency or eating disorders programs. A smaller percentage build a private practice, working with individuals. Many, like Aileen Cho, continue to find ways to satisfy their acting itch as they’re working as drama therapists.

 Visit ciis.edu or call (415) 575-6230. You can also read about the field in Renée Emunah’s book Acting for Real: Drama Therapy Process, Technique and Performance. And the Living Arts Counseling Center (livingartscounseling.org) offers exploratory sessions; call (510) 595-5500, ext. 10.

   Jean Schiffman is an arts writer based in San Francisco.

Drama Theory: Acting Strategically

Drama Theory: Acting Strategically

 

 

Key Terms

  • Pradoxes of Rationality
  • Metagame Analysis
  • Confrontation Analysis
  • Game Theory
  • Drama Theory
  • Conflict
  • Resolution
  • Dilemmas
  • Rationality
  • Rational choice
  • Preference change
  • Emotions
  • Humanities
  • Art and Culture
  • Bharata Muni Natya Shastra
  • Aristotle’s Poetics
  • Integral Theory
  • Ken Wilber
  • Problem Structuring Methods

From Acting Strategically Using Drama Theory

In today’s confrontational and connected world, communication is the key strategic act. This book uses drama theory—a radical extension of game theory—to show how best to communicate so as to manage the emotionally charged confrontations occurring in any worthwhile relationship. Alongside a toolset that provides a systematic framework for analysing conflicts, drama theory explains why people need to listen to, and rely on, their feelings to help shake themselves out of fixed, unproductive positions and to find new ways of solving tough problems.

This guide provides a sufficient grounding in the approach to enable you to apply it immediately for your own benefit and for the benefit of those with whom you work. A host of inspirational examples are included based upon actual situations in social and personal relations, business and organisational relations, defence and political management. These will give you an entirely fresh way of seeing how power is exercised in everyday interpersonal exchanges and a greater critical awareness of such factors as subtext and plotholes in public narratives. Using this approach you will be able to overcome the dilemmas of credibility and disbelief to build compelling messages that underpin your strategic intent. Moving beyond the vague platitudes of concepts like emotional intelligence, drama theory will also help you to avoid the pathologies that bedevil the process of managing conflicts and find ways of achieving authentic resolutions.

Please see my related post

Drama Theory: Choices, Conflicts and Dilemmas

Key Sources of Research

Problem structuring methods in action

John Mingers a,*, Jonathan Rosenhead

 

Click to access Problem-Structuring-Methods-in-Action.pdf

 

Confrontation Analysis: a Command and Control System for Conflicts Other Than War*

Peter Murray-Jones

Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, Portsdown West, Hants, PO17 6AD UK pmurrayjones@dera.gov.uk

Nigel Howard

ISCO Ltd, 10 Bloomfield Road, Birmingham B13 9BY UK

 

Click to access 042howar.pdf

 

 

Co-ordinated Positions in a Drama-theoretic Confrontation: Mathematical Foundations for a PO Decision Support System

Peter Murray-Jones
(DERA)
Nigel Howard
(dramatec)
12 Chesham Road, Brighton BN2 1NB, UK Tel.: +44 1273 67 45 86
e-mail: nhoward@dramatec.com)

 

Click to access 076_tr6.pdf

Game Theory and the Humanities: Bridging Two Worlds

By Steven J. Brams

 

 

 

Strategic and Dilemma Analysis of a Water Export Conflict

ftp://ftp.theochem.ru.nl/pub/toinesmits/PDF_files_supporting_literature_24%2625-11-2009/2005ObeidiStrategic%20and%20dilemma%20analyses%20of.pdf

 

 

Game Theory and Literature

Steven Brams

Click to access brams1994.pdf

 

 

 

Decision Making Using Game Theory: An Introduction for Managers

An introduction for managers

Anthony Kelly

Click to access Decision-Making-Using-Game-Theory-An-Introduction-for-Managers.pdf

 

 

Foundation of Subjective Confrontation Analysis

Pri Hermawan1, Kyoichi Kijima2*

 

http://journals.isss.org/index.php/proceedings50th/article/download/334/107

 

 

 

 

Drama, Emotion, and Cultural Convergence

D. Lawrence Kincaid

 

Click to access Kincaid%20drama.pdf

 

 

 

DRAMA THEORY AND METAGAME ANALYSIS

Nigel Howard

Click to access 666923c54a0189c888080db4e5b8c4529783.pdf

Drama theory: dispelling the myths

J Bryant

Manifesto for a Theory of Drama and Irrational Choice

Nigel Howard, Peter Bennet, Jim Bryant & Morris Bradley

Drama theory and its relation to game theory. Part 1: Dramatic resolution vs. Rational solution

  • Nigel Howard

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01384354

Drama theory and its relation to game theory. Part 2: Formal model of the resolution process

  • Nigel Howard

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01384355

The Sanskrit Drama in Its Origin, Development, Theory & Practice

By Arthur Berriedale Keith

Click to access 2015.102820.The-Sanskrit-Drama-In-Its-Origin-Development-Theory-And-Practice.pdf

Rationality, emotion and preference change Drama-theoretic models of choice

Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening

Integral Life Practice: A 21st-Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening

 

From Preface of the book

Welcome to the world of Integral! The fact that you have picked up this book means that you are ready to begin not just thinking about Integral but practicing and applying it as well. This is a truly momentous occasion, to judge from the developmental research itself.

Developmental models are in general agreement that human beings, from birth, go through a series of stages or waves of growth and development. The lower, earlier, junior stages are initial, partial, and fragmented views of the world, whereas the upper stages are integrated, comprehensive, and genuinely holistic. Because of this, the earlier stages are often called “first tier,” and the higher stages are called “second tier.”

The difference between the two tiers is truly profound. As pioneering developmental researcher Clare Graves put it, with second tier an individual “goes through a momentous leap of meaning.” That leap is what Integral is all about—Integral Thinking and—yes—Integral Practice. At the Integral stages of development, the entire universe starts to make sense, to hang together, to actually appear as a uni-verse—a “one world”—a single, unified, integrated world that unites not only different philosophies and ideas about the world, but different practices for growth and development as well.

Integral Life Practice is just such an integrated practice, a practice that will help you grow and develop to your fullest capacities—to your ultimate Freedom and greatest Fullness in the world at large (in relationships, in work, in spirituality, in career, in play, in life itself). ILP is about developing your greatest FREEDOM from the world—freedom from your limitations, freedom from fragmentation, freedom from partialities—and your truest FULLNESS in the world—a fullness that includes and embraces all the seemingly partial aspects of yourself and your world into a seamless, whole, ultimately fulfilled life. Freedom and Fullness—to transcend all of life and to include all of life, unfolding and fulfilling your greatest capacities—is what Integral Life Practice is about.

As such, this “transcending and including” contains modules that address practices for the body, mind, spirit, and shadow dimensions of your own being. Because it is inclusive, this practice contains a distilled and condensed series of practices that are taken from premodern, modern, and postmodern approaches to growth and development. It is an “all-inclusive” practice in the sense that it takes the very best practices from all of them, and puts them together in a larger framework that uses—and makes sense of—all of them. Premodern practices include the world’s great wisdom traditions and the meditation practices that drive them. Modern practices include scientific studies of human growth and ways to induce it. Postmodern practices include a pluralistic and multicultural composite map of the human territory—the territory of you—and ways to include (and not marginalize) all of the important dimensions of your own being (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual—in self, culture, and nature).

Putting all of these together creates a “cross training” for human growth and spiritual awakening, a cross training that dramatically accelerates all of its dimensions—body, mind, spirit, and shadow—producing faster, more effective, more efficient practices than were ever possible prior to this time. It is the comprehensive, truly holistic, extraordinarily inclusive nature of Integral Life Practice that makes it the simplest practice you can do to truly wake up. Other approaches have part of the puzzle and therefore give you partial practices (and partial successes), whereas Integral Life Practice gives you a composite and comprehensive practice that covers all the essential bases, increasing the effectiveness and quickness of each, compared to when they are practiced alone. It is the dramatically increased speed and effectiveness of ILP that is one of its hallmarks.

ILP is practicing from the leading edge of evolution itself, from the Integral stages and waves that are just beginning to evolutionarily unfold in humanity at large. Being grounded in these Integral stages, ILP embodies, emerges, and attracts individuals to the same stages that produced it. Put differently, Integral Life Practice is a second-tier practice—it comes from second-tier, and it draws consciousness itself to second tier. Thus, it trains both “altitude” and “aptitude”—altitude or vertical growth in consciousness, and aptitude or specific training in horizontal capacities. All of this is included in the Integral Life Practice, which the following pages will fully train you in. In short, ILP is a practice aimed at helping you discover your own “momentous leap of meaning,” a leap that will radiantly affect every aspect of your life.

 

So, once again, welcome to Integral. One of the advantages of this particular book is the team of writers that created it. They have a broad and fully qualified exposure to Integral Life Practice, both in its theory and in its actual practice. The writing team is an integration of the richly different backgrounds and perspectives of the co-authors. Although I did not write any of these chapters myself, I fully participated in the writing and its review, and oversaw the integration of the various perspectives and experiences of the writers, reaching across generational and typological differences. That’s what Integral Life Practice is all about—integration— and that is one of the many strengths of this book. The style turned out to be accessible, transparent, and covering difficult topics with an easy-to- understand clarity and humanity. I’m very happy with the results, and proud to put my name on it.

Integral Life Practice is, as the name implies, the practice aspect of Integral Theory. Integral Theory, in both its original form and critical alterations of it, has had a profound impact on several million readers around the world. If you want to just do Integral Theory and not also Integral Practice, that is fine. (Integral Theory is itself a mental praxis, and it summarizes practices in all of the major dimensions—it is a composite Map of the world’s most important methodologies.) But if we take that composite Map and turn it into a composite Practice, the result is Integral Life Practice, a practice that is therefore grounded in the very best of Integral Theory itself. For this reason, ILP is a truly ground- breaking and leading-edge evolutionary practice for waking up.

Thank you for picking up this book and beginning your own “mo- mentous leap of meaning.” If you are ready, then let’s get started!

Ken Wilber Denver, Colorado, Winter 2008

 

Integral Cross Training in

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Spirit
  • Shadow
  • Work
  • Ethics
  • Relationships
  • Creativity
  • Soul

 

Here are a few more possible reasons for engaging an ILP:

• Embracing and working with crisis, pain, or suffering

• Becoming a better person—on all levels, in all areas

• Living with integrity and excellence

• Getting over yourself

• Waking up!

• As a way to understand everything or make sense of it all

• Living according to your highest ideals

• Becoming more fully alive and creative

• Finding and/or living your deepest purpose

• Loving and caring for others more fully

• Making your highest contribution

• Communing with life, the universe, and Spirit

• Participating in the evolution of consciousness

• Because you’re in love with the Mystery (or God)

• No specific reason—it’s just what you’re drawn to do

 

Many people come to ILP after an experience with a specific type of practice, which, at a certain point, no longer seems full or inclusive enough. ILP makes room for you to bring everything to the path:

• You may have experience training for physical excellence or com- petitive sports.

• Maybe you’ve disciplined your mind and emotions for peak per- formance in business.

• Perhaps you’ve practiced yoga or meditation, maybe even for decades.

• You may have done deep psychological exploration, facing your shadow and exploring your deep psyche.

• You might have come to practice out of your deeply felt devotion to God or a beloved teacher or guide.

• Maybe your interest in ILP comes through your scholarship, in- sight, and thirst for understanding.

 

Integral Life Practice is . . .

The Ultimate in Cross-Training, working synergistically on body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature.

Modular, allowing you to mix and match practices in specific areas or “modules.”

Scalable, adjusting to however much—or little—time you have, down to the 1-Minute Modules.

Customizable to your individual lifestyle—you design a program that works for you, and adapt it on an as needed basis.

Distilled, boiling down the essence of traditional practices— without the cultural or religious baggage—to provide a highly concentrated and effective form of practice for post-postmodern life.

Integral, based on AQAL technology, an “All Quadrants, All Levels” framework for mapping the many capacities inherent in human beings.

 

 

Please see my related post

Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Integral Theory of Ken Wilber

Levels of Human Psychological Development in Integral Spiral Dynamics

Key Sources of Research

 

Integral Life Practices

Click to access ilp_preview_chs1_2.pdf

 

Understanding Rasa: Yoga of Nine Emotions

Understanding Rasa: Yoga of Nine Emotions

 

Our emotions rule us. Some more than other. But Why?

This post briefly list different emotions called Rasa in Indian art and aesthetics tradition.

Their attributes and their relationships to Mood, Color, and Music are also displayed.

Please see the text referenced for further details.

Details of Rasas relationship to Food, Gunas, Doshas, Bhutas, and Koshas can be found in the book.  It is highly important for us to understand and manage our emotions for living a happy and joyful life.

 

The Yoga of the Nine Emotions: The Tantric Practice of Rasa Sadhana

Rasas are the essence of our emotions that exist in both the body and the mind. The Tantric tradition recognizes 9 Rasas that represent our basic emotions: love, humor, wonder, courage, calmness, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust. Those who practice Rasa Sadhana learn to overcome negative emotions in order to pursue better health, enhanced spiritual growth, and enduring happiness.

Our emotions are continuously affected by the interplay of our senses, the elements, food, and the life force in our body. In The Yoga of the Nine Emotions, Peter Marchand offers many practical physiological and philosophical tools from Tantric and Ayurvedic traditions that can help readers change their emotional patterns. He explains the nature and purpose of each Rasa and how we can strengthen or weaken one Rasa through another. He also offers Ayurvedic cooking guidelines and daily routines for balancing sensory input and strengthening emotional health, including fasting from negative emotions as well as how to energize positive ones. As we master our emotions through the practice of Rasa Sadhana, we gain true control of our lives and our relationships with others.

Peter Marchand became a student of Harish Johari in 1983 and is one of the founders of Sanatan Society, a networking organization of family and students of Harish Johari. He travels to India annually and teaches Rasa Sadhana in Europe, America, and Asia. He lives in Belgium.

Harish Johari (1934-1999) was a tantric scholar, poet, musician, composer, artist, and gemologist. He authored twelve books, including Chakras, Tools for Tantra, and Ayurvedic Healing Cuisine.

 

Nine Rasas

  • love – Shringara
  • humor – Hasya
  • wonder – Adbhuta
  • courage  – Veerya
  • calmness, – Shanta
  • anger – Raudra
  • sadness – Karuna
  • fear – Bhayanaka
  • disgust – Vibhatsa.

 

Attributes of Rasas

 

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Relationships of Rasas with Color, Music, Natya Bhava (Mood)

Screen Shot 2019-11-13 at 9.07.35 AMScreen Shot 2019-11-13 at 9.15.35 AMScreen Shot 2019-11-13 at 9.16.56 AM

 

Key Sources of Research

 

The Yoga of the Nine Emotions: The Tantric Practice of Rasa Sadhana

Peter Marchand

 

Bharatmuni’s Natya Shastra

 

Boundaries and Distinctions

Boundaries and Distinctions

 

 

Distinctions create cultural diversity.

If you value diversity, you value distinctions

If you value networks, you value boundaries

 

 

Key Terms

  • Social Class
  • Social Status
  • Distinction
  • Boundaries
  • Borders
  • Difference
  • Division
  • Diversity
  • Power
  • Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Networks as Boundaries
  • Inequality
  • Taste
  • Symbolic Boundaries
  • Social Boundaries
  • Spatial Boundaries
  • Social Processes
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Confrontation
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Samaj
  • Community
  • Social Stratification
  • Identity
  • Emile Durkheim
  • Max Weber
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  •  Fredrik Barth
  • Charles Tilly
  • Harrison White
  • Michèle Lamont
  • Relational Sociology
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Many Levels of Development
  • Spiral Dynamics
  • Values
  • Culture
  • Holons
  • Holarchy
  • Integral Theory

 

Symbolic Boundaries

 

Symbolic Boundaries (General)

Michèle Lamont
Department of Sociology
Princeton University
Princeton New Jersey 08540
U.S.A.

Article #: 20851A4/8/007
Symbolic Boundaries (General)

1. Definition and Intellectual Context

“Symbolic Boundaries” are the lines that include and define some people, groups and things while excluding others (Epstein 1992, p. 232). These distinctions can be expressed through normative interdictions (taboos), cultural attitudes and practices, and more generally through patterns of likes and dislikes. They play an important role in the creation of inequality and the exercise of power. The term “symbolic boundaries” is also used to refer to the internal distinctions of classification systems and to temporal, spatial, and visual cognitive distinctions in particular (Wagner-Pacifici 2000; Zerubavel 1997; see the entry cognitive schemata and expressive forms). This article focuses on boundaries within and between groups.It discusses the history, current research, and future challenges of work on this topic.

The literature on symbolic boundaries has gained importance since the sixties due to a convergence between research on symbolic systems and indirect forms of power. Writings by Pierre Bourdieu, Mary Douglas, Norbert Elias, Erving Goffman, and Michel Foucault on these and related topics have been influential internationally across several disciplines, but particularly in anthropology, history, literary studies, and sociology. In North America, a renewed cultural sociology has produced wide-ranging empirical research agendas on symbolic boundaries and inequality. In other fields including community, cognition, deviance, gender, immigration, knowledge and science, nationalism, professions, race and ethnic studies, and social movements, issues of boundaries have gained analytical prominence, although some authors analyze boundary work without using the language of symbolic boundaries.

2. History

Two of the founding fathers of sociology played central roles in shaping the literature on symbolic boundaries: Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. I review their contributions before turning to the “neo-classical” writings of Mary Douglas, Norbert Elias, and Thornstein Veblen, which illustrate the lasting influence of Durkheim and Weber on this literature up to the sixties. While Durkheim brings attention to classification systems and their relationship with the moral order, Weber is more concerned with their impact on the production and reproduction of inequality. (For a more encompassing historical overview which includes a discussion of the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Victor Turner, see Schwartz 1981).

One of the most widely used examples of symbolic boundaries is taken from Durkheim’s later work, Les formes élementaires de la vie religieuse (The Elementary Forms of Religious Life 1965[1911]).In this book, Durkheim arguesthat the distinctiveness of the religious experience from other types of experiences rests in the fact that it involves a symbolic distinction between the realms of the sacred and the profane (p. 234, 250). The meanings of these realms are mutually exclusive and are defined relationally, through interdictions and rituals that isolate and protect the former from the latter (e.g., a Roman-Catholic sinner cannot receive communion until he is purified through confession) (p. 271).

The distinction between the sacred and the profane extends to the whole universe of objects and people in which it takes place. For instance, the status of members of a community is defined by the types of relationship they have with sacred objects (e.g., Roman Catholic women cannot celebrate mass). In this sense, religious systems provide a cosmology, i.e., a general interpretation of how the world is organized and how its elements relate to one another and to the sacred. This cosmology acts as a system of classification and its elements are organized according to a hierarchy (counterpoising for instance the pure with the impure). The belief invested in this “order of things” structures people’s lives to the extent that it limits and facilitates their action. In Durkheim’s words, “the power attached to sacred things conducts men with the same degree of necessity as physical force.” (p. 260).

Moving beyond the religious realm, Durkheim points to the existence of a moral order, i.e., a common public system of perception of reality that regulates, structures, and organizes relations in a community. This system operates less through coercion than through inter-subjectivity (p. 238). In fact, Durkheim defines society by its symbolic boundaries: it is the sharing of a common definition of the sacred and the profane, of similar rules of conducts and a common compliance to rituals and interdictions that defines the internal bonds within a community. Hence, he posits that the boundaries of the group coincide with those delimitating the sacred from the profane.

Unlike Durkheim, Max Weber is more concerned with the role played by symbolic boundaries (honor) in the creation of social inequality than in the creation of social solidarity. In Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Economy and Society, 1978[1922]), he describes human beings as engaged in a continuous struggle over scarce resources. In order to curb competition, they discriminate toward various groups on the basis of their cultural characteristics, such as lifestyle, language, education, race, or religion (chap. 2). In the process, they form status groups whose superiority is defined in relation to other groups. They cultivate a sense of honor, privilege relationships with group members, and define specific qualifications for gaining entry to the group and for interacting with lower status outsiders (e.g., opposing miscegenation). They invoke their higher status and shared rules of life to justify their monopolization of resources. Hence, cultural understandings about status boundaries have a strong impact on people’s social position and access to resources.

Thornstein Veblen’s The Theory of the Leisure Class (1979[1899]) parallels Weber’s writings on status group. Veblen is also concerned with the mechanisms that produce boundaries between status groups. This American economist suggests that habits of thought (“classifying and demarcating”) are central to these mechanisms and are often organized around notions of superiority and inferiority concerning employment, consumption, and leisure. In his words, “the concept of dignity, worth, or honor, as applied either to persons or conduct, is of first-rate consequence in the development of class and class distinctions” (p. 15). For instance, idleness symbolizes status because it signifies pecuniary status. It is a way for “successful men to put their prowess in evidence”. Evidence of non-productive consumption of time includes “quasi-scholarly or quasi-artistic accomplishments”. Also, “refined tastes, manners, and habits of life are useful evidence of gentility because good breeding requires time, application, and expenses” (p. 49) and are therefore not available to those “whose time and energies are taken up with work.”

Veblen also developed the concept of “conspicuous consumption” in the context of an acerbic critique of the excesses of the business class. He argues that the possession and display of wealth confers honor: as an invidious distinction, it symbolizes ranking within a group. This way of manifesting superiority is more common when predatory aggression or war are less frequent. Veblen’s analysis assumes that there is a usual tendency to change standards of sufficiency as one’s pecuniary situation improves, so that one becomes restless with creating “wider and ever-widening distance” between herself and the average standard.

Also paralleling Weber’s work, is the work of German sociologist Norbert Elias, Uber Den Prozess der Zivilisation (The Civilizing Process, 1982[1939]). Elias analyzes the historical emergence of a boundary between civilized and barbarian habits by using evidence from Western manner manuals written between the late middle ages and the Victorian period. His attention centers on “natural” bodily functions such as spiting, defecating, eating, and blowing one’s nose to show an “advance in the threshold of self-control,” over time. He demonstrates the growing centrality of shame and embarrassment in instituting norms of behavior in public and private. At a more general level, he shows transformations in standards of behavior and feelings and in personality structures (what he calls “habitus,” or habits emerging from social experience). He argues that these vary across hierarchical groups in society and that these variations are key to pacification and the exercise of power.

Elias’ The Established and the Outsiders (1994[1965], with John L. Scotson) is another benchmark in the study of boundaries. This community study analyzes the causes for the difference in status between residents of two parts of a town (“the Village” and “the Estate”). The former group has more cohesion, in part because it is older and more established than the latter. Its residents see themselves as having higher status because they have been able to gain control of strategic positions and channels of communication over time, which allows them to stigmatize the outsiders and impose their own definition of self. Conversely, the “outsiders” are not in a position to impose an alternative self-definition.

To turn now to the lasting influence of Durkheim’s work, in Purity and Danger(1966), Mary Douglas is concerned with the order-producing, meaning-making and form-giving functions of classification systems and the role of rituals in creating boundaries grounded in fears and beliefs. In Natural Symbols (1970), she takes on the idea of a correspondence between classification systems and social organization advanced by Durkheim and Mauss (1963[1903]). She describes the structure of binary symbolic systems as “reflecting” that of group structures. Like Elias, she is also concerned with the moral order and centers her attention on the system of social control as expressed through the body and through the observable artifacts of everyday life (food, dirt, and material possessions). She argues that the very basis of order in social life is the presence of symbols that demarcate boundaries or lines of division.

One of Douglas’s main concerns is how communities differentiate themselves from one another and how they are internally differentiated. She distinguishes groups on the basis of their degree of social control and of the rigidity of their grid (by which she means the scope and coherent articulation of their system of classification or the extent to which it is competing with other systems). In societies with high social control and great cultural rigidity (i.e. what she calls high grid and group), there is a concern to preserve social boundaries; the role structure is clearly defined; and formal behavior is highly valued and well-defined in publicly insulated roles. Through “the purity rule“, formality screens out irrelevant organic processes, “matters out of place”. Douglas suggests that “the more complex the system of classification and the stronger the pressured to maintain it, the more social intercourse pretends to take place between disembodied spirits” (1966, p. 101), i.e., the more the purity rule applies.

3. Current Theory and Research

In the contemporary literature on symbolic boundaries, both the neo-Weberian and neo-Durkheimian heritage remain strong. The question of how boundaries intersect with the production of inequality has attracted great interest in recent years, following the publication of Pierre Bourdieu’s impressive corpus. In the United States in particular, cultural sociologists have been working to assess some of Bourdieu’s theoretical claims and to use his work as a stepping stone for improving our understanding of the cultural aspects of class, gender, and racial inequality. Other important developments concern the study of identity through boundary work, and research on moral order, community, and symbolic politics. As I argue in the final section of this article, social scientists will soon face the challenge of integrating work from a wide range of fields that have used the concept of boundaries to various ends.

3.1 Culture and Inequality

In the last twenty years, a large neo-Weberian literature emerged around the study of processes of closure, as illustrated most notably by the work of Frank Parkin and Randall Collins. Parkin (1979) drew on Weber to propose an analysis of class relationship that focuses on the distributive struggle for monopolizing or usurping resources within and across classes – with an emphasis on the right of ownership and credentialism, i.e., the use of educational certificates to monopolize positions in the labor market. Equally inspired by Durkheim, Collins (1998) extended his earlier work on credentialism and interaction rituals to analyze how intellectuals compete to maximize their access to key network positions, cultural capital, and emotional energy, which generates intellectual creativity. These authors’ contributions intersect with those of Pierre Bourdieu and his collaborators, although their ideas followed an independent path of development.

In Reproduction (1977[1970]), Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron proposed that the lower academic performance of working class children cannot be accounted for by their lower ability but by institutional biases against them. They suggest that schools evaluate all children on the basis of their familiarity with the culture of the dominant class (or cultural capital), thus penalizing lower-class students. Extensive vocabulary, wide-ranging cultural references, and command of high culture are valued by the school system and students from higher social backgrounds are exposed to this class culture at home. Hence, children of the dominated classes are over-selected by the educational system. They are not aware of it, as they remain under the spell of the culture of the dominant class. They blame themselves for their failure, which leads them to drop out or to sort themselves into lower prestige educational tracks.

This work can be read as a direct extension of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ (1979) “dominant ideology thesis”, which centers on the role of ideology in cementing relations of domination by camouflaging exploitation and differences in class interests. However, Bourdieu and Passeron are more concerned with classification systems than with representations of the social world itself, i.e., with how representations of social relationships, the state, religion, and capitalism contribute to the reproduction of domination. Implicitly building on Gramsci (1971), they made inroads in analyzing the subjective process of consolidation of class domination, focusing on the shaping of cultural categories. The control of subjectivity in everyday life through the shaping of common sense and the naturalization of social relations is the focus of their attention. They broaden Marx and Engels by suggesting that crucial power relations are structured in the symbolic realm proper, and are mediated by meaning. They de facto provide a more encompassing understanding of the exercise of hegemony by pointing to the incorporation of class-differentiated cultural dispositions mediated by both the educational system and family socialization.

In Distinction (1984[1979]), Bourdieu applies this analysis to the world of tasteand cultural practice at large. He shows how the logic of class struggle extends to the realm of taste and lifestyle, and that symbolic classification is key to the reproduction of class privileges: dominant groups define their own culture and ways of being as superior. Thereby they exercise “symbolic violence,” i.e., impose a specific meaning as legitimate while concealing the power relations that are the basis of its force (Bourdieu and Passeron 1977[1970], p. 4). They define legitimate and “dominated” cultures in opposition: the value of cultural preferences and behaviors are defined relationally around binary oppositions (or boundaries) such as high/lower, pure/impure, distinguished/vulgar, and aesthetic/practical (p. 245). The legitimate culture they thereby define is used by dominant groups to mark cultural distance and proximity, monopolize privileges, and exclude and recruit new occupants to high status positions (p. 31). Through the incorporation of “habitus” or cultural dispositions, cultural practices have inescapable and unconscious classificatory effects that shape social positions.

A large American literature applying, extending, assessing, and critiquing the contributions of Bourdieu and his collaborators developed in the wake of their translation in English (for a review, see Lamont and Lareau 1988.) For instance, DiMaggio (1987) suggests that boundaries between cultural genres are created by status groups to signal their superior status. DiMaggio and Mohr (1985) found that levels of cultural capital significantly influence higher education attendance and completion as well as marital selection patterns in the United States. Lamont (l992, chap.7) critiqued Bourdieu (1984) for exaggerating the importance of cultural capital in upper-middle class culture and for defining salient boundaries a priori, instead of inductively. By drawing on interviews with professionals and managers, she showed that morality, cultural capital, and material success are defined differently and that their relative importance vary across national contexts and by subgroups. Lamont also showed variations in the extent to which professionals and managers are tolerant of the lifestyles and tastes of other classes, and argued that cultural laissez-faire is more important feature of American society than French society. High social and geographic mobility, strong cultural regionalism, ethnic and racial diversity, political decentralization and relatively weak high culture traditions translate into less highly differentiated class cultures in the United States than France.

Other sociologists also argue that cultural boundaries are more fluid and complex than cultural capital theory suggests. In particular, in his study of group variation in home decoration, Halle (1993) suggests that art consumption does not necessarily generate social boundaries. He finds that the meaning attached to living room art by dwellers is somewhat autonomous from professional evaluations, and is patterned and influenced by a wide range of factors beyond class — including neighborhood composition. He also finds that cultural consumption is less differentiated than cultural capital theory suggests – with landscape art being appreciated by all social groups for instance. Finally, he suggests that “the link between involvement in high culture and access to dominant class circles . . . is undemonstrated.” (p. 198). For his part, Hall (1992) emphasized the existence of heterogeneous markets and of multiple kinds of cultural capital. He proposes a “cultural structuralism” that addresses the multiplicity of status situation in a critique of an overarching market of cultural capital. Finally, Crane (2000) analyzes how social change disrupts the relationship between cultural capital and social class strata during nineteenth and twentieth century France and the United States.

Bryson (1996), Erikson (1996), and Peterson and Kern (1996) suggest that cultural breadth is a highly valued resource in the upper and upper-middle classes, hence contradicting Bourdieu’s understanding of the dominant class which emphasizes exclusively the boundaries they draw toward lower class culture. Bryson (1996) finds that musical exclusiveness decreases with education. She proposes that cultural tolerance constitutes a multicultural capital more strongly concentrated in the middle and upper classes than in the lower classes. Erikson (1996) suggests that although familiarity with high status culture correlates with class, it is useless in coordinating class relations in the workplace. She writes that the “Culture useful for coordination is uncorrelated . . . with class, popular in every class.” (p. 248) and that “the most useful overall cultural resource is variety plus a well-honed understanding of which [culture] genre to use in which setting.” (p. 249). For their part, Peterson and Kern (1996) document a shift in high status persons from snobbish exclusion to “omnivorous appropriation.” These studies all call for a more multidimensional understanding of cultural capital as a basis for drawing boundaries, and counter Bourdieu’s postulate that the value of tastes is defined relationally through a binary or oppositional logic.

3.2. Identity and Boundary Work

The growing literature on identity is another arena where the concept of symbolic boundaries has become more central. In particular, sociologists and psychologists have become interested in studying boundary work, a process central to the constitution of the self.

Social psychologists working on group categorization have been studying the segmentation between “us” and “them”. Brewer’s (1986) social identity theorysuggests that “Pressures to evaluate ones’ own group positively through in-group/out-group comparison lead social groups to attempt to differentiate themselves from each other.” This process of differentiation aims “to maintain and achieve superiority over an out-group on some dimension.” (Tajfel and Turner 1985, pp. 16-17). While these authors understand the relational process as a universal tendency, sociologists are concerned with analyzing precisely how boundary work is accomplished, i.e. with what kinds of typificationsystems, or inferences concerning similarities and differences, groups mobilize to define who they are.

The concept of boundary work was proposed originally by Gieryn in the early eighties to designate “the discursive attribution of selected qualities to scientists, scientific methods, and scientific claims for the purpose of drawing a rhetorical boundary between science and some less authoritative residual non-science.”(1999, pp. 4-5). In recent years, sociologists have become interested in analyzing this process by looking at self-definitions of ordinary people, while paying particular attention to the salience of various racial and class groups in boundary work. For instance, Newman (1999) analyzes how poor fast-food workers define themselves in opposition to the unemployed poor. Lamont (1992) studies the boundary work of professionals and managers while Lamont (2000) examines how workers in the United States and France define worthy people in opposition to the poor, “people above”, blacks, and immigrants, drawing moral boundaries toward different groups across the two national context. Lichterman (1999) explores how volunteers define their bonds and boundaries of solidarity by examining how they articulate their identity around various groups. He stresses that these mappings translate into different kinds of group responsibility, in “constraining and enabling what members can say and do together.” Binder (1999) analyzes boundaries that proponents of Afrocentrism and multiculturalism build in relation to one another in conflict within the educational system. Becker (1999) studies how religious communities build boundaries between themselves and “the public.” Finally Gamson (1992) analyzes how the injustice frames used in social movements are organized around “us” and “them” oppositions.

Jenkins (1996)’s study of social identity provides useful tools for the study of boundary work. He describes collective identity as constituted by a dialectic interplay of processes of internal and external definition. On the one hand, individuals must be able to differentiate themselves from others by drawing on criteria of community and a sense of shared belonging within their subgroup. On the other hand, this internal identification process must be recognized by outsiders for an objectified collective identity to emerge. Future research on the process of collective identity formation may benefit to focus on the dynamic between self-identification and social categorization.

3.3. Moral Order, Community, and Symbolic Politics

A third strand of work on symbolic boundaries presents more palpable neo-Durkheimian influences. Several empirical studies have centered on moral order and on communities. Wuthnow (1987, p. 69) writes “Order has somehow to do with boundaries. That is, order consists mainly of being able to make distinctions-of having symbolic demarcations – so that we know the place of things and how they relate to one another.” A recent example of this neo-Durkheimian line of work is Alexander’s (1992) semiotic analysis of the symbolic codes of civic society. The author describes these codes as “critically important in constituting the very sense of society for those who are within and without it.” He also suggests that the democratic code involves clear distinctions between the pure and the impure in defining the appropriate citizen. His analysis locates those distinctions at the levels of people’s motives and relationships, and of the institutions that individuals inhabit (with “honorable” being valued over “self-interested” or “truthful” over “deceitful” in the case of the democratic code).

It should be noted that the last decades have produced several studies of status politics that documented precisely how groups sharing a lifestyle made such distinctions, engaged in the maintenance of the moral order, and simultaneously bolstered their own prestige. Particularly notable is Gusfield (1963) who analyzed the 19th century American temperance movement in favor of the prohibition and the Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution. Gusfield understands this movement as a strategy used by small-town Protestants to bolster their social position in relation to urban Catholic immigrants. Along similar lines, Luker (1984) describes the worldviews of anti-abortion and pro-choice activists. She shows that they have incompatible beliefs about women’s careers, family, sexuality, and reproduction, and that they talk passed one another and define themselves in opposition to one another. More recently, Beisel (1997) has studied Anthony Comstock’s 19thcentury anti-pornography movement to protect the morality of children in the context of important social changes that threatened the reproduction of upper class privileges. However, she argued against the distinction between symbolic and class politics and showed how the two often operate hand in hand, particularly in the drawing of moral boundaries. The literature on social movements includes numerous additional studies that focus on the process by which categories of people are turned into categories of enemies (Jasper 1997, chap. 16).

4. Challenges and Future Directions

Two main challenges concerning the study of boundaries are pointing at the horizon of sociological scholarship. They concern 1) a necessary synthesis of the various strands of work that speak to boundary issues across substantive areas; and 2) the study of the connection between objective and subjective boundaries.

The concept of boundaries is playing an increasingly important role in a wide range of literatures, beyond those discussed above. For instance, in the study of nationalism, citizenship, and immigration, scholars have implicitly or explicitly used the boundary concept to discuss criteria of membership and group closure within imagined communities (e.g., Anderson 1983; Brubaker l992; Somers 1993; Zolberg and Litt Woon l999). Some of these authors are concerned with the established rules of membership and boundary work.. Yet others study national boundary patterns, i. e., the ways in which nations define their identity in opposition to one another (Lamont and Thévenot 2000; Saguy 2000).

The concept of boundary is also central in the study of ethnicity and race. The relational process involved in the definition of collective identity (“us” versus “them”) has often been emphasized in the literature on these topics. The work of Barth (1969) and Horowitz (1985) for instance concerns objective group boundaries and self-ascription, and how feelings of communality are defined in opposition to the perceived identity of other racial and ethnic groups. Along similar lines, Bobo and Hutchings (1996), understand racism as resulting from threats to group positioning. They follow Blumer (1958) who advocates “shift[ing] study and analysis from a preoccupation with feelings as lodged in individuals to a concern with the relationships of racial groups . . [and with] the collective process by which a racial group comes to define and redefine another racial group” (p. 3).

Finally, gender and sexual boundaries are also coming under more intense scrutiny. For instance, Epstein (1992) points out that dichotomous categories play an important part in the definition of women as “other” and that much is at stake in the labeling of behaviors and attitudes as feminine or masculine (also Gerson and Peiss 1985). Those who violate gender boundaries in illegitimate ways often experience punishment in the workplace. Stein (1997) analyzes how the boundaries around the lesbian category changed over the course of the feminist movement. More recently, Tilly (1997) argues that dichotomous categories such as “male” and “female” (but also “white” and “black”) are used by dominant groups to marginalize other groups and block their access to resources. He extends the Weberian scheme by pointing to various mechanisms by which this is accomplished, such as exploitation and opportunity hoarding. He asserts that durable inequality most often results from cumulative, individual and often unnoticed organizational processes.

Because these various literature all deal with the same social process, boundary work, it may be appropriate at this point to begin moving toward a general theory of boundaries by, for instance, identifying similarities and differences between boundaries drawn in various realms — moral, cultural, class, racial, ethnic, gender, and national boundaries. This could be accomplished by focusing on a number of formal features and characteristics of boundaries, such as their visibility, permeability, boundedness, fluidity, and rigidity. We may also want to compare embedded and transportable boundaries; explicit and taken-for-granted boundaries; positive and negative boundaries; and the relationship between representations of boundaries and context. Social scientists should also think more seriously about how different types of boundaries can combine with one another across local and national contexts (e.g., how cultural or moral boundaries combine with race, gender, or class boundaries) (Lamont and Thévenot 2000).

A second challenge will be to understand the connection between objective boundaries and symbolic boundaries. Students of objective boundaries have focused on topics such as the relative importance of educational endogamy versus racial endogamy among the college-educated (Kalmijn 1991); racial hiring and firing (Silver and Zwerling 1992); the extent of residential racial segregation (Massey and Denton 1993); the relative permeability of class boundaries (Wright and Cho 1992); and the process of creation of professional boundaries (Abbott 1988). Lamont (1992) has argued that symbolic boundaries are a necessary but insufficient condition for the creation of objective boundaries. More empirical work is needed on the process by which the former transmutes into the latter.

Other relevant entries include: expressive forms as generators, transmitters, and transformers of social power; culture and resistance; networks and linkages; collective identity and expressive forms; discourse and identity; class and expressive forms; gender and expressive forms; race and expressive forms; community and locality, nationalism and expressive forms; leisure and cultural consumption.

References

Abbott, A 1988. The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Alexander, J 1992 “Citizens and Enemy as Symbolic Classification: On the Polarizing Discourse of Civil Society.” In: Lamont M. Fournier M (eds.) Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality, University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Anderson, B 1983/1991 Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Verso, London

Barth, F l969 “Introduction.” In: Barth F (ed.) Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference, George Allen and Unwin, London

Becker, P 1999 Congregations in Conflict: Cultural Models of Local Religious

Life. Cambridge University Press, New York

Beisel, N 1997 Imperiled Innocents: Anthony Comstock and Family Reproduction in Victorian America. Princeton University Press, Princeton

Binder A 1999 “Friend and Foe: Boundary Work and Collective Identity in the Afrocentric and Multicultural Curriculum Movements in American Public Education.” In: Lamont M (ed.) The Cultural Territories of Race: Black and White Boundaries. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and Russell Sage Foundation, New York.

Blumer, H l958 “Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position.” Pacific Sociological Review. 1: 3-7

Bobo, L, Hutchings V L 1996″Perceptions of Racial Group Competition: Extending Blumer’s Theory of Group Position to a Multiracial Social Context.” American Sociological Review. 61: 951-972.

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Bryson, B 1996 “‘Anything but Heavy Metal’: Symbolic Exclusion and Musical Dislikes.” American Sociological Review. 61 (5): 884-899.

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DiMaggio, P, Mohr, J 1985 “Cultural Capital, Educational Attainment, and Marital Selection.” American Journal of Sociology. 90: 1231-1261.

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Michèle Lamont

Department of Sociology

Princeton University

 

 

Click to access m.lamont-v.molnar-the_study_of_boundaries.pdf

 

Boundaries as Social Processes: Territoriality in the World of Flows

Anssi Paasi

Click to access 54eb963f0cf2ff89649dfd55.pdf

 

Boundaries and connections

 

 Fredrik Barth

 

Click to access Kog_Ant_11_B.pdf

THE ROLE OF IDENTITIES AND BOUNDARIES IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD

Prof. Anssi Paasi

http://www.geo.ut.ee/nbc/paper/paasi.htm

 

HOW STRATIFICATION WORKS

 

Click to access Massey_Chap1_2.pdf

Boundary processes: Recent theoretical developments and new contributions

Mark A. Pachucki *, Sabrina Pendergrass, Michele Lamont (Guest Editors)

 

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Status distinctions and boundaries

Murray Milner, Jr.

 

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Moments of Boundary Research: A Long-Term Perspective

 

Jean Terrier

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Social Distinction and Symbolic Boundaries in a Globalized Context:

Leisure Spaces in Istanbul

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.424.9863&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Rural America in an Urban Society: Changing Spatial and Social Boundaries

Daniel T. Lichter1,2 and David L. Brown3

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Cultivating Differences: Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality

edited by Michèle Lamont, Marcel Fournier

 

 

 

FLOWS, BOUNDARIES AND HYBRIDS: KEYWORDS IN TRANSNATIONAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Ulf Hannerz

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Symbolic Boundaries

Michèle Lamont

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Cybernetics Group: A Brief History of American Cybernetics

Cybernetics Group: A Brief History of American Cybernetics

The Cybernetics Group

Focusing on the Macy Foundation conferences, a series of encounters that captured a moment of transformation in the human sciences.

In this sequel to his acclaimed double biography, John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener, Steve Heims recounts another fascinating story in twentieth-century intellectual history – a series of encounters that captured a moment of transformation in the human sciences. Focusing on the Macy Foundation conferences, which were designed to forge connections between wartime science and postwar social science, Heims’s richly detailed account explores the dialogues that emerged among a remarkable group that included Wiener, von Neumann, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Warren McCulloch, Kurt Lewin, Molly Harrower, and Lawrence Kubie. Heims shows how those dialogues shaped ideas in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and psychiatry.

 

Cybernetics

THE MACY CONFERENCES 1946-1953. THE COMPLETE TRANSACTIONS

Between 1946 and 1953, the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation sponsored a series of conferences aiming to bring together a diverse, interdisciplinary community of scholars and researchers who would join forces to lay the groundwork for the new science of cybernetics. These conferences, known as the Macy conferences, constituted a landmark for the field. They were the first to grapple with new terms such as information and feedback and to develop a cohesive and broadly applicable theory of systems that would become equally applicable to living beings and machines, economic and cognitive processes, and many scholarly disciplines. The concepts that emerged from the conferences come to permeate thinking in many fields, including biology, neurology, sociology, ecology, economics, politics, psychoanalysis, linguistics, and computer science.

This book contains the complete transcripts of all ten Macy conferences and the guidelines for the conference proceedings. These transcripts are supplemented with an introduction by Claus Pias that charts the significance of the Macy conferences to the history of science.

 

Macy Conferences Participants

A series of 10 focused meetings spanning 1942 to 1953 sponsored by the Josiah Macy Foundation, which brought together

  • John von Neumann
  • Norbert Wiener
  • Margaret Mead
  • Karl Lashley
  • Ross Ashby
  • Warren McCulloch
  • Walter Pitts
  • Arturo Rosenblueth
  • Claude Shannon
  • Heinz von Foerster
  • Rafael Lorente de No ́
  • R. Karl Pribram
  • Duncan Luce
  • Donald M. MacKay
  • Gregory Bateson
  • Kurt Lewin
  • Molly Harrower
  • Lawrence Kubie
  • Filmer S. C. Northrop
  • Lawrence K. Frank
  • Heinrich Kluver
  • Leonard J Savage
  • Ralph Girard and many others

 

Stuart A. Umpleby

A Short History of Cybernetics in the United States

The Origin of Cybernetics

Cybernetics as a field of scientific activity in the United States began in the years after World War II. Between 1946 and 1953 the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation sponsored a series of conferences in New York City on the subject of „Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems.“ The chair of the conferences was Warren McCulloch of MIT. Only the last five conferences were recorded in written proceedings. These have now been republished.1 After Norbert Wiener published his book Cybernetics in 1948,2 Heinz von Foerster suggested that the name of the conferences should be changed to „Cybernetics: Circular Causal and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems.“ In this way the meetings became known as the Macy Conferences on Cybernetics.

In subsequent years cybernetics influenced many academic fields – computer science, electrical engineering, artificial intelligence, robotics, management, family therapy, political science, sociology, biology, psychology, epistemology, music, etc. Cybernetics has been defined in many ways: as control and communication in animals, machines, and social systems; as a general theory of regulation; as the science or art of effective organization; as the art of constructing defensible metaphors, etc.3 The term ‚cybernetics‘ has been associated with many stimulating conferences, yet cybernetics has not thrived as an organized scientific field within American universities. Although a few cybernetics programs were established on U.S. campuses, these programs usually did not survive the retirement or death of their founders. Quite often transdisciplinary fields are perceived as threatening by established disciplines.

Relative to other academic societies the meetings on cybernetics tended to have more than the usual controversy, probably due to the wide variety of disciplines represented by the participants. Indeed Margaret Mead contributed an article,

Cybernetics of Cybernetics, to the proceedings of the first conference of the American Society for Cybernetics, in which she suggested that cyberneticians should apply their knowledge of communication to how they communicate with each other.4

Interpretations of Cybernetics

Not everyone originally connected with cybernetics continued to use the term. The original group of cyberneticians created approximately four research traditions.

  • The cybernetics of Alan Turing and John von Neumann became computer science, AI, and robotics. Turing5 formulated the concept of a Universal Turing Machine – a mathematical description of a computational device. He also devised the Turing test – a way of determining whether a computer program displays „artificial intelligence“.6 The related professional societies are the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence.
  • Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics became part of electrical engineering. This branch of cybernetics includes control mechanisms, from thermostats to automated assembly lines. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, including the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, is the main professional society. The principal concern is systems engineering.
  • Warren McCulloch’s cybernetics became „second order cybernetics“. McCulloch chaired the Macy Foundation conferences. He sought to understand the functioning of the nervous system and thereby the operation of the brain and the mind. The American Society for Cybernetics has continued this tradition.
  • Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead pursued research in the social sciences, particularly anthropology, psychology, and family therapy. Work on the cybernetics of social systems is being continued in the American Society for Cybernetics and the Socio-Cybernetics Group within the International Sociological Association.

Other groups can also be identified. For example, a control systems group within psychology was generated by the work of William Powers.7 Biofeedback or neuro- feedback is a subject of investigation by some researchers in medicine and psycho- logy. The Santa Fe Institute has developed simulation methods based on the ideas of self-organizing systems and cellular automata.8 Some members of the International Society for the Systems Sciences have an interest in management cybernetics.

This paper recounts about sixty years of the history of cybernetics in the United States, divided into five year intervals. The emphasis will be on the third and fourth groups, McCulloch’s cybernetics and social cybernetics.

Early 1940s

In 1943 two landmark papers were published. Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts wrote, A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity.9 This article sought to understand how a network of neurons functions so that we experience what we call „an idea.“ They presented their explanation in mathematical form.

Arthuro Rosenblueth, Norbert Wiener and Julian Bigelow published Behavior, Purpose, Teleology.10 They observed behavior, which they interpreted as purposeful, and then sought to explain how this phenomenon could happen without teleology, using only Aristotle’s efficient cause. Also in the early 1940s Wiener worked on a radar-guided anti-aircraft gun.

Late 1940s

In the late 1940s the early Macy Conferences were held in New York City.11 They were attended by scientists including Norbert Wiener, Julian Bigelow, John von Neumann, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, Ross Ashby, Grey Walter, and Heinz von Foerster. By 1949 three key books were published: Von Neumann’s and Morgenstern’s Theory of Games and Economic Behavior,12 Wiener’s (1948) Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine,13 and Shannon’s and Weaver’s (1949) The Mathematical Theory of Communication.14 These books defined a new science of information and regulation.

Early 1950s

In the early 1950s more Macy conferences took place. This time proceedings were published with Heinz von Foerster as editor. Meanwhile the first commercial com- puters were manufactured.

Late 1950s

In the 1950s the CIA was concerned about the possibility of brain-washing and mind control. Under the code name MKUltra experiments with LSD and other drugs were conducted at Harvard University and elsewhere.15 Some of the money for this research was channeled through the Macy Foundation. In one incident, a CIA employee was given LSD without his knowledge. Apparently he thought he was going mad and jumped out a window of a hotel in New York City. Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, when he was a student at Harvard, was an experimental subject of these mind control experiments.16

Early checkers-playing programs were written and raised the possibility of artifi- cial intelligence.17 In 1956 at a conference at Dartmouth University people interested in studying the brain and people interested in creating computer programs parted ways. Neurophysiologists valued work that illuminated the nature of cognition. Engineers valued work that led to useful machines. Thereafter the people interested in cybernetics and those interested in artificial intelligence had little interaction.

Following a sabbatical year working with Arthuro Rosenblueth and Warren McCulloch, Heinz von Foerster founded the Biological Computer Laboratory (BCL) at the University of Illinois in 1958. During the 1960s and early 1970s BCL was the leading center for cybernetics research in the U.S. Frequent visitors were Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, Gordon Pask, and Lars Loefgren. Graduates included Klaus Krippendorff, Alfred Inselberg, Crayton Walker, Roger Conant, and Stuart Umpleby.  During the same period the Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI) at the University of Michigan was the leading center for general systems research in the U.S. The founding director of MHRI was James G. Miller. Other systems scientists at MHRI were Kenneth E. Boulding, Anatol Rapoport, Richard L. Meier, and John R. Platt.

Early 1960s

In the early 1960s several conferences on self-organizing systems were held.18 One of these conferences was held in 1961 at the University of Illinois’s Allerton Park.19 As a result of an invitation made at this conference, Ross Ashby moved from England to Illinois. The work on self-organizing systems was a forerunner to the field of study now called ‚complexity‘ or ‚complex systems‘.

Although the Macy Foundation Conferences ended in 1953, the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) was not founded until 1964. This seems rather late. Actually the ASC was founded not so much to continue the work of the Macy conferences but rather as a result of the Cold War.20 During the Presidential campaign in 1960, when John F. Kennedy was elected, there was talk about a „missile gap“ between the United States and the Soviet Union. Not long thereafter there began to be talk about a „cybernetics gap.“ Some people in the Soviet Union thought cybernetics would provide the theory they needed to operate their centrally planned economy.

Consequently, the Soviet government generously funded cybernetics research. Some people in the U.S. government then feared that the U.S. might fall behind in a criti- cal area of research, if this country did not also fund cybernetics research.

In Washington, DC, a cybernetics luncheon club was meeting. The participants included Paul Henshaw, Atomic Energy Commission; Carl Hammer, Univac; Jack Ford, CIA; Douglas Knight, IBM; Walter Munster; Bill Moore, lawyer. This group founded the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC). The founding ceremony was held at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC. A grant from the National Science Foundation helped the Society to establish the Journal of Cybernetics. A conference on the social impact of cybernetics was held at Georgetown University in 1964.21 The first conference arranged by the ASC was held in 1967 at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, MD.22

Late 1960s

Social movements in the United States – against the Viet Nam war and for civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental protection – produced a time of student activism on campuses. In terms of research it was a productive period for the Bio- logical Computer Laboratory (BCL) at the University of Illinois.23

Early 1970s

At a meeting of the American Society for Cybernetics in 1974 in Philadelphia, Heinz von Foerster introduced the term „second order cybernetics.“24 The Mansfield Amendment, which was an attempt to reduce campus unrest caused by the Viet Nam War, cut off government funds for research that was not related to a military mission, including research at BCL.25

There was an argument between the officers of ASC and the publisher of the Journal of Cybernetics. The dispute was submitted to arbitration, and the publisher won. Thereafter the journal continued to be published, but without ASC involvement. The journal published articles primarily in engineering. However, the field of cybernetics was increasingly emphasizing biology and the social sciences.

Late 1970s

Heinz von Foerster retired from the University of Illinois in 1976 and moved to California. There he communicated with Paul Watzlawick, John Weakland and others at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto. During this time second order cybernetics or constructivist epistemology had a significant impact on the field of family therapy.26

In the late 1970s no meetings of the American Society for Cybernetics were held. The people connected with BCL attended meetings of the Society for General Systems Research, which a few years later changed its name to the International Society for the Systems Sciences.

For a few years, due to a conflict among the ASC officers in Washington, DC, there was a rival organization, the American Cybernetics Association (ACA), based in Philadelphia. The two organizations came back together a few years later through the efforts of Barry Clemson, Doreen Steg, Klaus Krippendorff and others. The reorganized society used the ASC name and the ACA by-laws. But the society remained small, usually having fewer than 400 members.

Stuart Umpleby, who received his PhD from the University of Illinois in 1975 and moved to The George Washington University in Washington, DC, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for an Electronic Information Exchange for Small Research Communities. The BCL group moved into cyberspace.27 This group, discussing General Systems Theory, was one of nine academic groups using the Electronic Information Exchange System (EIES) at New Jersey Institute of Technology. For three years in the late 1970s cyberneticians and systems scientists across the United States and a few in Europe communicated with each other using email and computer conferencing via dumb terminals and, initially, 300 baud modems. The long distance telephone charges were paid by the NSF grant. When the grant ran out, there was disappointment that universities would not pay the communications charges. Indeed, it took almost fifteen years before costs declined sufficiently to permit regular email communication among academics.

Early 1980s

As a result of being the moderator of the on-line discussion group, Umpleby was elected president of ASC. A planning conference in 1980 charted a new direction for the Society.28 ASC began organizing conferences again and reestablished connec- tions with its former journal, now called Cybernetics and Systems.

A series of meetings with Soviet scientists was started as a way to bring leading American scientists together to review fundamentals, in particular to discuss second order cybernetics.29 The meetings were funded by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. These meetings were quite productive for exchanging views; however, a controversy with the Soviet side arose over the participation of Vladimir Lefebvre, a Soviet émigré. Prior to glasnost and perestro- ika Lefebvre’s theory30 of two systems of ethical cognition was not accepted by the Soviet government. However, during the break up of the USSR Lefebvre’s work was used by people at the highest levels of government in both the United States and the Soviet Union to prevent miscommunication.31

Lefebvre’s work is being further developed through annual conferences organized by Vladimir Lepsky in the Insti- tute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Lefebvre’s theory of reflexive control is being used by psychologists and educators to help with the psychological and cultural difficulties involved in the social, political, and economic transition in Russia.32

Late 1980s

Members of the American Society for Cybernetics began offering tutorials on first and second order cybernetics prior to systems conferences (see Table 1). They were seeking to make a scientific revolution.33 At a conference in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 1987 the members of the American Society for Cybernetics decided to focus their attention almost exclusively on advancing second order cybernetics.34 The focus on second order cybernetics to the exclusion of other interpretations of cybernetics had the effect of reducing the membership of the ASC to about one hundred mem- bers. However, there was strong interest in second order cybernetics in Europe.35

 

Table 1. Definitions of First and Second Order Cybernetics

Author

First Order Cybernetics

Second Order Cybernetics

von Foerster

The cybernetics of observed systems

The cybernetics of observing system

Pask

The purpose of a model

The purpose of modeler

Varela

Controlled systems

Autonomous systems

Umpleby

Interaction among the vari- ables in a system

Interaction between observer and observed

Umpleby

Theories of social systems

Theories of the interaction between ideas and society

The second Soviet-American conference was held in Tallinn, Estonia, in 1988. Due to glasnost and perestroika the original topics (epistemology, methodology, and management) were expanded to include large-scale social experiments.

 

Early 1990s

In 1990 two symposia on Theories to Guide the Reform of Socialist Societies were held in Washington, DC, and Vienna, Austria.36 These meetings were the beginning of a multi-year effort both to understand the changes occurring in the former Soviet Union from the perspective of social theory and to use knowledge of social systems to guide the transitions.

The work on second order cybernetics was also changing. The members of the ASC had worked almost twenty years on developing and promoting the point of view known as second order cybernetics or constructivism. Some people wanted to move from a period of revolutionary science to a new period of normal science.37 One way to understand the change is to say that the period of engineering cyberne- tics lasted from the mid 1940s to the mid 1970s. The period of biological cybernetics or second order cybernetics lasted from the mid 1970s to the mid 1990s. And the period of social cybernetics began in the mid 1990s (see Table 2).

Late 1990s

Symposia on the transitions in the former Soviet Union continued to be held as part of the European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research. These meetings are held every two years in Vienna, Austria. The symposia bring together scientists from East and West.

In Washington, DC, a series of meetings on the Year 2000 Computer Problem were held with the support of The Washington Post. These meetings were based on the idea that „y2k“ could be regarded as an experiment which would reveal the amount of interconnectedness in our increasingly cybernetic society.38

Niklas Luhmann’s writings in sociology introduced ideas such as constructivism and autopoiesis to social scientists in Europe.39 A Socio-Cybernetics Working Group within the International Sociological Association was established by Felix Geyer and others.

Early 2000s

In the early years of the 21st century large conferences on informatics and cyber- netics were organized by Nagib Callaos and his colleagues in Orlando, FL. One result has been organizing efforts in Latin America stimulated by the conferences in Orlando. Annual conferences on reflexive control began to be held in Moscow

 

Table 2. Three Versions of Cybernetics

Engineering Cybernetics

Biological Cybernetics

Social Cybernetics

The view
of epistemo­ logy

A realist view of epistemology: knowledge is a „picture“ of reality

A biological view of epistemology: how the brain func­ tions

A pragmatic view of epistemology: knowledge is con­ structed to achieve human purposes

A key distinction

Reality vs. Scientific Theories

Realism vs. Constructivism

The biology of cognition vs. the observer as a social participant

The puzzle to be solved

Construct theories which explain ob­ served phenomena

Include the ob­ server within the domain of science

Explain the rela­ tionship between the natural and the social sciences

What must be explained

How the world works

How an individual constructs a „real­ ity“

How people cre­ ate, maintain, and change social sys­ tems through lan­ guage and ideas

A key as­ sumption

Natural processes can be explained by scientific theo­ ries

Ideas about knowl­ edge should be rooted in neuro­ physiology

Ideas are accepted if they serve the observer’s pur­ poses as a social participant

An impor­ tant conse­ quence

Scientific know- ledge can be used to modify natural processes to benefitpeople

If people accept constructivism, they will be more tolerant

By transforming conceptual systems (through persua­ sion, not coercion), we can change society

and may lead to the founding of a Russian Association in the field of cybernetics and systems.

In the International Society for the Systems Sciences there is growing interest in group facilitation and participation methods.40 An increasing number of books about cybernetics appear, frequently by German authors.41 A Heinz von Foerster

Society was established in Vienna to further develop the ideas explored at the Bio- logical Computer Laboratory. A new biography of Norbert Wiener was published which explains the break that occurred between Wiener and McCulloch.42

The „global university system“ created by the Internet and the Bologna process is not only greatly facilitating communication among scientists around the world but is also leading to a new metaphor for the social implications of cybernetics, an alternative metaphor to the „global brain.“43

Questions about the History of Cybernetics

Given the promising and exciting beginnings of cybernetics, the outstanding sci- entists involved, and the subsequent impact of cybernetics on many disciplines, it is curious that the term ‚cybernetics‘ is not widely known or used today, even though most professional people spend several hours a day in cyberspace. Margaret Mead commented on the development of cybernetics at the first ASC conference in 1968:

„We were impressed by the potential usefulness of a language sufficiently sophisticated to be used to solve complex human problems, and sufficiently abstract to make it possible to cross disciplinary boundaries. We thought we would go on to real interdisciplinary research, using this language as a medium. Instead, the whole thing fragmented. Norbert Wiener wrote his book Cybernetics. It fascinated intellectuals and it looked for a while as if the ideas that he expressed would become a way of thought. But they didn’t.“44

Why did the cybernetics movement break up following the Macy Conferences? Perhaps it never came together. People stayed in their home disciplines. Many very thought-provoking meetings were held under the label of cybernetics, but the educational programs that were established did not survive in discipline-oriented universities. When their founders retired, the programs were closed. One conse- quence of the lack of educational programs at universities is that key ideas tend to be reinvented. One example is the work on complex systems centered at the Santa Fe Institute. These writers rarely refer to the work in cybernetics and systems theory.

What prevented unity? There was never agreement on fundamentals. Eric Dent in his doctoral dissertation at The George Washington University provides an explanation of the continuing heterogeneity of the field of cybernetics and systems science.45 Dent claims that after World War II the systems sciences dramatically expanded the scientific enterprise. Specifically, science expanded along eight dimen- sions: causality, determinism, relationships, holism, environment, self-organization, reflexivity, and observation.46 However, not all of the various systems fields chose to emphasize the same dimensions. Indeed, each field chose a unique combination. This meant that the various systems fields did not agree on what the key issues were. As a result each subfield developed its own language, theories, methods, traditions, and results.

These eight dimensions have both united and divided the systems sciences. The dimensions unite the systems sciences because each of the subfields of systems sci- ence uses at least one of the new assumptions, whereas classical science uses none. The dimensions divide the systems sciences because each subfield emphasizes a different dimension or set of dimensions. Hence, issues that are very important in one subfield are less important or do not arise in other subfields. Given different questions, the answers in theories and methods have been different.47 Perhaps in the 21st century the progress made in developing the field of cybernetics in many disciplines will be successfully integrated.

Notes

1  Claus Pias, ed., Cybernetics – Kybernetik: The Macy Conferences 1946–1953, Zürich and Berlin 2004.

2  Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, Cambridge, MA 1948.

3  Larry Richards, Defining ‚Cybernetics‘ (1987), http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/definitions.htm.

4  Margaret Mead, Cybernetics of Cybernetics, in: Heinz von Foerster et al., eds., Purposive Systems, New York 1968.

5  Alan Turing, On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, in: Pro- ceedings of the London Mathematical Society 42/2 (1936), 230–265. Reprinted in Martin Davis, ed., The Undecidable, New York 1965.

6  Alan Turing, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, in: Mind 59 (1950), 433–460.

7  William Powers, Behavior: the Control of Perception, New York 1973.

8  M. Mitchell Waldrop, Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, New York 1992.

9  Warren S. McCulloch and Walter Pitts, A Logical Calculus of the Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity, in: Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 5 (1943), 115–133; reprinted in Warren S. McCulloch, Embodiments of Mind, Cambridge, MA, 1965, 19–39.

10  Arturo Rosenblueth, Norbert Wiener and Julian Bigelow, Behavior, Purpose and Teleology, in: Philosophy of Science 10 (1943), 18–24; reprinted in W. Buckley, ed., Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist, Chicago 1968, 221–225.

11  Steve J. Heims, The Cybernetics Group, Cambridge, MA 1991.

12  John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, Princeton, NJ 1944.

13  Wiener, Cybernetics.

14  Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver, The Mathematical Theory of Communication, Urbana, Ill. 1949.

15  John Marks, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate, New York 1978.

16  Alston Chase, Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist, New York 2003.

17  Arthur Samuel, Some Studies in Machine Learning Using the Game of Checkers in: IBM Journal 3/3 (1959), 210–229.

18  Marshall Yovits and Scott Cameron, eds., Self-Organizing Systems, London 1960; Marshall Yovits, George Jacobi, Gordon Goldstein, eds., Self-Organizing Systems – 1962, Washington 1962.

19  Heinz von Foerster and George W. Zopf Jr., eds., Principles of Self-Organization, New York 1962.

20  Charles Richard Dechert, ed., The Social Impact of Cybernetics, New York 1966.

21  Ibid.

22  Heinz von Foerster et al., eds., Purposive Systems, New York 1968.

23  Albert Müller and Karl H. Müller, eds., An Unfinished Revolution? Heinz von Foerster and the Bio- logical Computer Laboratory, 1958–1976, Wien 2007.

24  Heinz von Foerster, Cybernetics of Cybernetics, in: Klaus Krippendorff, ed., Communication and Control in Society, New York 1979.

25  Stuart Umpleby, Heinz von Foerster and the Mansfield Amendment, in: Cybernetics and Human Knowing 10 (2003), No. 3–4.

26  Paul Watzlawick, The Invented Reality: How do we Know what we Believe we Know? Contributions to Constructivism, New York 1984.

27  Stuart Umpleby, Computer Conference on General Systems Theory: One Year’s Experience, in: M. Henderson and M. MacNaughton, eds., Electronic Communication: Technology and Impacts, Boul- der, CO 1979; Stuart Umpleby and K. Thomas, Applying Systems Theory to the Conduct of Systems Research, in: Anthony Debons ed., Information Science in Action: System Design, vol. l, The Hague 1983.

28  Stuart Umpleby, The 1980 Planning Conference of the American Society for Cybernetics, in: Cyber- netics Forum 10/1 (1981).

29  Stuart Umpleby, American and Soviet Discussions of the Foundations of Cybernetics and General Systems Theory, in: Cybernetics and Systems 18 (1987); Stuart Umpleby and Vadim Sadovsky, eds., A Science of Goal Formulation: American and Soviet Discussions of Cybernetics and Systems Theory, New York 1991.

30  Vladimir A. Lefebvre, Algebra of Conscience: A Comparative Analysis of Western and Soviet Ethical Systems, London 1982.

31  Stuart Umpleby, A Preliminary Inventory of Theories Available to Guide the Reform of Socialist Societies, in: Stuart Umpleby and Robert Trappl, eds., Cybernetics and Systems 22/4 (1991).

32  Stuart Umpleby and Tatyana A. Medvedeva, Psychological Adjustment to Economic and Social Change, in: Reflexive Control 1/1 (2001), 102–112.

33  Stuart Umpleby, On Making a Scientific Revolution, in: Heinz von Foerster, ed., Cybernetics of Cy- bernetics, Urbana 1974; reprinted in 1995, Minneapolis: Future Systems.

34  Stuart Umpleby, Three Conceptions of Conversation, in: Continuing the Conversation: A Newsletter of Ideas in Cybernetics, No. 10, 1987.

35  Stuart Umpleby, Cybernetics of Conceptual Systems, in: Cybernetics and Systems 28/8 (1997), 635– 652.

36  Umpleby, Inventory.

37  Stuart Umpleby, The Science of Cybernetics and the Cybernetics of Science, in: Cybernetics and Systems 21/1 (1990).

38  Stuart Umpleby, Coping with an Error in a Knowledge Society: The Case of the Year 2000 Computer Crisis, in: George E. Lasker et al., eds., Advances in Sociocybernetics and Human Development VIII, Windsor, Canada 2000.

39  Niklas Luhmann, Social Systems. Stanford, CA 1995.

40  Ken Bausch, ed., Special Issue on Agoras of the Global Village, World Futures, 6/1–2 (2004).

41  Müller and Müller, Revolution.

42  Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman, Dark Hero of the Information Age: In Search of Norbert Wiener, the Father of Cybernetics, New York 2005.

43  Stuart Umpleby, Strengthening the Global University System, in: R. Meyer, ed., Perspectives in Higher Education Reform, vol. 12, Alliance of Universities for Democracy, American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria 2003.

44  Mead, Cybernetics.

45  Eric B. Dent, The Design, Development, and Evaluation of Measures to Survey Worldview in Orga- nizations. Ann Arbor, MI University Microfilms 1996

46  Eric B. Dent, System Science Traditions: Differing Philosophical Assumptions, in: Systems, Journal of the Polish Systems Society 6 (2001), No. 1–2.

47  Stuart Umpleby and Eric B. Dent, The Origins and Purposes of Several Traditions in Systems Theory and Cybernetics, in: Cybernetics and Systems 30 (1999).

 

 

 

 

Please see my related posts

Systems and Organizational Cybernetics

Feedback Thought in Economics and Finance

Reflexivity, Recursion, and Self Reference

Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology

Socio-Cybernetics and Constructivist Approaches

Cybernetics, Autopoiesis, and Social Systems Theory

Ratio Club: A Brief History of British Cyberneticians

Second Order Cybernetics of Heinz Von Foerster

Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Recursive Vision of Gregory Bateson

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

 

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

 

Whatever Happened to Cybernetics

Kevin Kelly in his book Out of Control

https://kk.org/mt-files/outofcontrol/ch23-a.html

The Cybernetics Group

Steve Heims

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/cybernetics-group

Constructing a Social Science for Postwar America

The Cybernetics Group, 1946–1953

By Steve Joshua Heims

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/constructing-social-science-postwar-america

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/396a/f617fb699b71d3a7ecb44c5a8a39d7c69d31.pdf?_ga=2.252779531.343517398.1572734637-1265037359.1572734637

 

John Von Neumann and Norbert Weiner

From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death

Steve Heims

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/john-von-neumann-and-norbert-weiner

Cybernetics

THE MACY CONFERENCES 1946-1953. THE COMPLETE TRANSACTIONS

EDITED BY CLAUS PIAS

 

https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/C/bo23348570.html

 

 

 

Do Cyborgs Dream of Electronic Rats? The Macy Conferences and the Emergence of Hybrid Multi-Agent Systems

 

Samuel Gerald Collins

 

Click to access FS07-04-005.pdf

 

 

Macy conferences

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

 

 

Cybernetics

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

History of Cybernetics

American Society of Cybernetics

http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/history.htm

 

History of Cybernetics and Systems Science

http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/CYBSHIST.html

 

 

HISTORY OF CYBERNETICS
Additional Reference Resources

http://www.asc-cybernetics.org/foundations/historyrefs.htm

The Macy Story

https://macyfoundation.org/news-and-commentary/the-macy-story

 

 

The Next Macy Conference: A New Interdisciplinary Synthesis [Keynote]

September 2015

Andrew Pickering

 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281896821_The_Next_Macy_Conference_A_New_Interdisciplinary_Synthesis_Keynote

 

 

A Brief History of (Second-Order) Cybernetics

Louis Kauffman
Stuart Umpleby

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319751991_A_Brief_History_of_Second-Order_Cybernetics

 

 

A Short History of Cybernetics in the United States

The Origin of Cybernetics

 

Stuart Umpleby

 

Click to access 4566_oezg4_08_s28_40_umpleby_1_.pdf

 

 

 

Analog, digital, and the cybernetic illusion

Claus Pias

 

Click to access kybernetes.pdf

 

 

 

 

GREGORY BATESON, CYBERNETICS, AND THE SOCIAL/BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES

 

Click to access gbcatsbs.pdf

 

 

Cybernetics: A General Theory that Includes Command and Control

Stuart Umpleby

 

Click to access 076.pdf

 

The Future of Cybernetics

Click to access Pangaro-Nano-2018.pdf

 

 

John Bowlby: Rediscovering a systems scientist

Gary S. Metcalf, PhD

January 7, 2010

 

Click to access John_Bowlby_-_Rediscovering_a_systems_scientist.pdf

 

 

REBEL GENIUS: WARREN MCCULLOCH’S TRANSDISCIPLINARY LIFE IN SCIENCE

By Tara H. Abraham

2016 MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA

ISBN: 9780262035095

 

Click to access The%20prophet%20who%20foretold%20our%20future%202018-4523.pdf

 

 

 

Where are the Cyborgs in Cybernetics?

Ronald Kline

 

Click to access Where-are-the-Cyborgs-in-Cybernetics-Kline.pdf

 

 

SECOND ORDER CYBERNETICS

Ranulph Glanville

 

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.645.9031&rep=rep1&type=pdf

 

 

The Road to Servomechanisms: The Influence of Cybernetics on Hayek

from The Sensory Order to the Social Order

Gabriel Oliva

 

Click to access The%20Road%20to%20Servomechanisms.pdf

 

 

Cybernetics Revolutinaries

Click to access Eden_Medina_Cybernetic_Revolutionaries.pdf

 

 

 

CYBERNETICS AND THE MANGLE: ASHBY, BEER AND PASK*

Andrew Pickering

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.15.882&rep=rep1&type=pdf

 

 

 

 

Cybernetics Page at Monoskop.org

https://monoskop.org/Cybernetics

 

 

 

The Cybernetics Brain

Andrew Pickering

 

 

 

HISTORY OF CYBERNETICS

R. Vallée

Université Paris-Nord, France

 

Click to access E6-46-03-01.pdf