Boundaries and Networks

Boundaries and Networks

 

Boundaries precede Networks.

It is the difference which makes the difference.

Boundaries in

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

 

 

Key Terms:

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

 

Chapter 2
The Relational Turn in Social Sciences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.stanrzeczy.edu.pl

 

 

Please see my related posts:

Boundary Spanning in Multinational and Transnational Corporations

Relational Turn in Economic Geography

Networks and Hierarchies

Boundaries and Relational Sociology

Autocatalysis, Autopoiesis and Relational Biology

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

Art of Long View: Future, Uncertainty and Scenario Planning

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

 

BOUNDARIES/NETWORKS

Chapter of Book ME++

Click to access 9780262633130_sch_0001.pdf

 

 


Relational Sociology: Transatlantic Impulses for the Social Sciences

International Symposium, Berlin, September 25/26, 2008

http://www.relational-sociology.de

 

 

 

Symposium on Relational Sociology

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

 

Relational sociology

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

 

 

 

Networks and Boundaries

Athanasios Karafillidis

RWTH Aachen University
Correspondence: atha@karafillidis.com

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

September 25-26, 2008

Click to access Netbound.pdf

 

 

Theorising Borders as Mechanisms of Connection

Anthony Cooper

Click to access 2013cooperaphd.pdf

 

 

Boundaries, Hierarchies and Networks in Complex Systems

PAUL CILLIERS

2001

Click to access Cilliers-2001-Boundaries-Hierarchies-and-Networks.pdf

 

Fractal Boundaries of Complex Networks

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

Click to access boundaries.pdf

 

Rethinking the Financial Network

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

At the Financial Student Association, Amsterdam

28 April 2009

Click to access speech386.pdf

 

 

 

Knowledge, limits and boundaries

Paul Cilliers

Click to access cilliers%202005%20knowledge%20limits.pdf

 

 

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

Kurt A. Richardson & Michael R. Lissack

Click to access 6b5711dc6782e451ad32078b799cd487cb3b.pdf

Exploring System Boundaries: Complexity Theory and Legal Autopoiesis

Thomas Edward Webb

Click to access T.E._Webb_Exploring_System_Boundaries_accepted_version_.pdf

 

 

The Role of Leaders in Managing Organisation Boundaries

Click to access v10286-012-0001-0.pdf

 

 

 

Managing Boundary Spanning Elements: An Introduction

Sunil Sahadev, Keyoor Purani, and Neeru Malhotra

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

 

 

 

 

Boundary-Spanning in Organizations: Network, Influence and Conflict

Edited by Janice Langan Fox, Cary Cooper

 

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

A Borderless World and Nationless Firms?

Click to access prism_chapter.pdf

 

 

 

 

ADAPTATION AND THE BOUNDARY OF MULTINATIONAL FIRMS

Arnaud Costinot
Lindsay Oldenski
James E. Rauch

January 2009

Click to access w14668.pdf

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

 

The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade

James R. Markusen

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

 

Incomplete Contracts and the Boundaries of the Multinational Firm

Nathan Nunn

Daniel Trefler§

June 2008

Click to access NunnTreflerPaper.pdf

 

 

Complexity and Philosophy

Francis HEYLIGHEN

Paul CILLIERS,

Carlos GERSHENSON

Click to access 0604072.pdf

 

 

 

Complexity, Deconstruction and Relativism

Paul Cilliers

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

Click to access The_importance_of_a_certain_slowness.pdf

 

 

Towards an Economy of Complexity: Derrida, Morin and Bataille

Oliver Human

Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Paul Cilliers

Click to access Human_Complexity.pdf

 

 

 

The architecture of complexity

Herbert Simon

Click to access Thearchitectureofcomplexity.pdf

 

 

 

 

Complexity and postmodernism

Understanding complex systems

Paul Cilliers

Click to access Paul-Cilliers-Complexity-and-Postmodernism-Understanding-Complex-Systems-1998.pdf

 

 

Complexity, Difference and Identity
An Ethical Perspective

Paul Cilliers, Rika Preiser (Eds.)

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

 

Introduction to Critical Complexity. Collected Essays by Paul Cilliers

Click to access Introduction-to-Critical-Complexity-Collected-Essays-by-Paul-Cilliers.pdf

 

 

Chapter 2
The Relational Turn in Social Sciences

Beyond Leadership
A Relational Approach to Organizational Theory in Education

Authors: Eacott, Scott

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

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

 

 

Relational Sociology: A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences

By Pierpaolo Donati

 

 

 

Conceptualizing Relational Sociology: Ontological and Theoretical Issues

edited by C. Powell, F. Dépelteau

 

Applying Relational Sociology: Relations, Networks, and Society,

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

 

 

 

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

Click to access donati_birth_and_development_of_the_relational_theory_of_society.pdf

 

 

 

Beyond the Manifesto: Mustafa Emirbayer and Relational Sociology

Lily Liang Sida Liu

Click to access Working-Paper-2017-02.pdf

 

 

 

 

Towards Relational Sociology

By Nick Crossley

 

 

 

 

Manifesto for a Relational Sociology

Mustafa Emirbayer

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

Click to access Mustafa%20Emirbayer_Manifesto%20for%20a%20Relational%20Sociology.pdf

 

 

 

TOWARDS A CONCEPTUALIZATION OF BORDER: THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE

by Josef Langer (Klagenfurt)

Click to access JLanger3.pdf

 

 

 

 

THE STUDY OF BOUNDARIES IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

Michele Lamont and Vira ́g Molnar

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

 

 

 

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

Sasha Roseneil

Click to access 11305548.pdf

 

 

 

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

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

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

Click to access relational_turn_speakers.pdf

 

 

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

LILLA VICSEK1 – GÁBOR KIRÁLY – HANNA KÓNYA

Systems View of Life: A Synthesis by Fritjof Capra

Systems View of Life: A Synthesis by Fritjof Capra

Fritjof Capra, Ph.D., physicist and systems theorist, is a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley. Capra is the author of several international bestsellers, including The Tao of Physics (1975), The Web of Life (1996), The Hidden Connections (2002), The Science of Leonardo (2007), and Learning from Leonardo (2013). He is coauthor, with Pier Luigi Luisi, of the multidisciplinary textbook, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Over the last thirty years, a new systemic understanding of life has emerged at the forefront of science. It integrates four dimensions of life: the biological, the cognitive, the social, and the ecological dimension. At the core of this new understanding we find a fundamental change of metaphors: from seeing the world as a machine to understanding it as a network. One of the most radical philosophical implications of the systems view of life is a new conception of mind and consciousness which, for the first time, overcomes the Cartesian division between mind and matter.

From THE SYSTEMS VIEW OF LIFE

The great challenge of our time is to build and nurture sustainable communities, designed in such a way that their ways of life, businesses, economy, physical structures, and technologies respect, honour, and cooperate with Nature’s inherent ability to sustain life. The first step in this endeavour, naturally, must be to understand how Nature sustains life. It turns out that this involves a whole new conception of life. Indeed, such a new conception has emerged over the last 30 years.

In our new book, The Systems View of Life, we integrate the ideas, models, and theories underlying this new understanding of life into a single coherent framework. We call it “the systems view of life” because it involves a new kind of thinking – thinking in terms of relationships, patterns, and context – which is known as “systems thinking”, or “systemic thinking”. We offer a multidisciplinary textbook that integrates four dimensions of life: the biological, cognitive, social, and ecological dimensions; and we discuss the philosophical, social, and political implications of this unifying vision.

Taking a broad sweep through history and across scientific disciplines, beginning with the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution, we chronicle the evolution of Cartesian mechanism from the 17th to the 20th centuries, the rise of systems thinking in the 1930s and 1940s, the revolutionary paradigm shift in 20th-century physics, and the development of complexity theory (technically known as nonlinear dynamics), which raised systems thinking to an entirely new level.

During the past 30 years, the strong interest in complex, nonlinear phenomena has generated a whole series of new and powerful theories that have dramatically increased our understanding of many key characteristics of life. Our synthesis of these theories, which takes up the central part of our book, is what we refer to as the systems view of life. In this article, we can present only a few highlights.

One of the most important insights of the systemic understanding of life is the recognition that networks are the basic pattern of organisation of all living systems. Wherever we see life, we see networks. Indeed, at the very heart of the change of paradigms from the mechanistic to the systemic view of life we find a fundamental change of metaphors: from seeing the world as a machine to understanding it as a network.

Closer examination of these living networks has shown that their key characteristic is that they are self-generating. Technically, this is known as the theory of autopoiesis, developed in the 1970s and 1980s by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. Autopoiesis means “self-making”. Living networks continually create, or recreate themselves by transforming or replacing their components. In this way they undergo continual structural changes while preserving their web-like patterns of organisation. This coexistence of stability and change is indeed one of the key characteristics of life.

In our synthesis, we extend the conception of living networks from biological to social networks, which are networks of communications; and we discuss the implications of the paradigm shift from the machine to the network for two specific fields: management and health care.

One of the most rewarding features of the systems view of life is the new understanding of evolution it implies. Rather than seeing evolution as the result of only random mutations and natural selection, we are beginning to recognise the creative unfolding of life in forms of ever-increasing diversity and complexity as an inherent characteristic of all living systems. We are also realising that the roots of biological life reach deep into the non-living world, into the physics and chemistry of membrane-bounded bubbles — proto cells that were involved in a process of “prebiotic” evolution until the first living cells emerged from them.

One of the most important philosophical implications of the new systemic understanding of life is a novel conception of mind and consciousness, which finally overcomes the Cartesian division between mind and matter. Following Descartes, scientists and philosophers for more than 300 years continued to think of the mind as an intangible entity (res cogitans) and were unable to imagine how this “thinking thing” is related to the body. The decisive advance of the systems view of life has been to abandon the Cartesian view of mind as a thing, and to realise that mind and consciousness are not things but processes.

This novel concept of mind is known today as the Santiago theory of cognition, also developed by Maturana and Varela at the University of Chile in Santiago. The central insight of the Santiago theory is the identification of cognition, the process of knowing, with the process of life. Cognition is the activity involved in the self-generation and self-perpetuation of living networks. Thus life and cognition are inseparably connected. Cognition is immanent in matter at all levels of life.

The Santiago theory of cognition is the first scientific theory that overcomes the Cartesian division of mind and matter. Mind and matter no longer appear to belong to two separate categories, but can be seen as representing two complementary aspects of the phenomenon of life: process and structure. At all levels of life, mind and matter, process and structure, are inseparably connected.

Cognition, as understood in the Santiago theory, is associated with all levels of life and is thus a much broader phenomenon than consciousness. Consciousness – that is, conscious, lived experience – is a special kind of cognitive process that unfolds at certain levels of cognitive complexity that require a brain and a higher nervous system. The central characteristic of this special cognitive process is self-awareness. In our book, we review several recent systemic theories of consciousness in some detail.

Our discussion also includes the spiritual dimension of consciousness. We find that the essence of spiritual experience is fully consistent with the systems view of life. When we look at the world around us, whether within the context of science or of spiritual practice, we find that we are not thrown into chaos and randomness but are part of a great order, a grand symphony of life. We share not only life’s molecules, but also its basic principles of organisation with the rest of the living world. Indeed, we belong to the universe, and this experience of belonging makes our lives profoundly meaningful.

In the last part of our book, titled Sustaining the Web of Life, we discuss the critical importance of the systems view of life for dealing with the problems of our multi-faceted global crisis. It is now becoming more and more evident that the major problems of our time – energy, environment, climate change, poverty – cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent, and require corresponding systemic solutions.

We review a variety of already existing solutions, based on systems thinking and the principles of ecodesign. These solutions would solve not only the urgent problem of climate change, but also many of our other global problems – degradation of the environment, food insecurity, poverty, unemployment, and others. Together, these solutions present compelling evidence that the systemic understanding of life has already given us the knowledge and the technologies to build a sustainable future.

 

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

1) THE SYSTEMS VIEW OF LIFE : A UNIFYING CONCEPTION OF MIND, MATTER, AND LIFE

Fritjof Capra

Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, vol. 11, no. 2, 2015

 

http://cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/503/843

 

2) THE SYSTEMS VIEW OF LIFE: A UNIFYING VISION

https://www.ecoliteracy.org/article/systems-view-life-unifying-vision

 

3) The Systems View of Life – A Unifying Vision – An interview of Fritjof Capra

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-05-04/the-systems-view-of-life-a-unifying-vision

 

4) Personal Website of Fritjof Capra

Home

 

5) Systems View of Life- Lecture Video 

 

6) THE SYSTEMS VIEW OF LIFE

http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article4162-the-systems-view-of-life.html

 

7) THE SYSTEMS VIEW OF LIFE A Unifying Vision

Click to access 9781107011366_frontmatter.pdf

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

Society as Communication: Social Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann

 

From Luhmann Reconsidered: Steps Towards an Empirical Research Programme in the Sociology of Communication?

Although Luhmann formulated with modesty and precaution, for example in Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft (1990a, at pp. 412f.), that his theory claims to be a universal one because it is self-referential, the “operational closure” that follows from this assumption easily generates a problem for empirical research. Can a theory which considers society— and science as one of its subsystems—operationally closed, nevertheless contribute to the project of Enlightenment which Popper (1945) so vigorously identified as the driver of an open society? How can a theory which proclaims itself to be circular and universal nevertheless claim to celebrate “the triumph of the Enlightenment” (Luhmann, 1990a, at p. 548)? Is the lack of an empirical program of research building on Luhmann’s theory fortuitous or does it indicate that this theory should be considered as a philosophy rather than a heuristic for the explanation of operations in social systems?

In my opinion, Luhmann’s sociological theory of communications contains important elements which have hitherto not sufficiently been appreciated in the empirical traditions of sociology and communication studies (Leydesdorff, 1996; Seidl & Becker, 2006; Grant, 2007). Anthony Giddens (1984, at p. xxxvii), for example, had no doubt that “these newer versions of Parsonianism, particularly Luhmann and Habermas, were to be repudiated despite the sophistication and importance of these authors.” However, Giddens focused on explaining action; social structure was black-boxed in his “structuration theory” as a “duality” which precedes action as “rules and resources,” and follows from the aggregation of human actions, for example, as institutions (Leydesdorff, 1993). According to Giddens (1984), social structures exist in social reality only by implication, i.e., in their “instantiation” in the knowledgeable activities of situated actors. This duality of social structure cannot be specified empirically without reference to actions and institutions because structure is considered “outside of time-space” (Giddens, 1981, at pp. 171f.) and as an “absent set of differences” (Giddens, 1979, at p. 64).

Giddens’s “virtuality” of structure can also be considered as a dynamic extension of the sociological concept of latency (Lazersfeld & Henry, 1968): the structural dimensions of a social network system are not manifest to participating agents. The agents may be able to conjecture these dimensions reflexively, but predictably to a variable extent. However, Luhmann (1984) theorized about social systems of communication as structural, yet not directly observable dynamics;1 human agents (“consciousness”) were defined as the (structurally coupled and therefore necessary) environment of systems of social coordination (Luhmann, 1984, 1986a, 2002). Nevertheless, the communicative competencies of the agents and their knowledge base can be expected to set limits to their capacity to (a) understand the signals in the network and also the situational meaning in which the network structure resounds, (b) decompose these two dimensions (that is, the information contents of messages and their meaning), and (c) participate in further communication by reflexive restructuration of this relation—between the information contents of messages and their meaning—in follow-up communications. The two systems layers (“consciousness” and “communication”) can be considered as reflexively co-evolving (or not!). This is appreciated by Luhmann (1977)—following Parsons (1968, at p. 437)—as “interpenetration.”

 

Key Ideas:

  • Society as Communication
  • Self Referentiality
  • Meaning and Language
  • Social Autopoiesis
  • Society as Social System

 

Key People:

  • Dirk Baecker
  • Niklas Luhmann
  • Loet Leydesdorff
  • Klaus Krippendorff

 

 

Key Sources of Research:

 

Systemic Theories of Communication

Dirk Baecker

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1865641

 

Niklas Luhmann and Cybernetics

Michael Paetau

https://papiro.unizar.es/ojs/index.php/rc51-jos/article/view/790

 

 

Communication and Language in Niklas Luhmann’s Systems-Theory

Kathrin Maurer

Click to access a02n16.pdf

 

Rewriting Theory: From Autopoiesis to Communication

Raf Vanderstraeten

 

 

 

How Recursive is Communication

Heinz Von Foerster

Click to access Luhmann.pdf

 

Luhmann, Habermas, and the Theory of Communication

Loet Leydesdorff

http://www.leydesdorff.net/montreal.htm

 

Luhmann Reconsidered:
Steps Towards an Empirical Research Programme in the Sociology of Communication?

Loet Leydesdorff

Click to access 0911.1041.pdf

 

THE EVOLUTION OF COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS

Loet Leydesdorff

 

http://www.leydesdorff.net/evolcomm/index.htm

 

THE NON-LINEAR DYNAMICS OF SOCIOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS

Loet Leydesdorff

http://www.leydesdorff.net/commsoc.htm

 

Information, Meaning, and Intellectual Organization in Networks of Inter-Human Communication 

Loet Leydesdorff

Click to access 1406.5688.pdf

 

Radical Constructivism and Radical Constructedness: Luhmann’s Sociology and the Non-linear Dynamics of Expectations

Loet Leydesdorff

 

Click to access v13Feb12.pdf

 

Communication, Music, and Speech about Music

Steven Feld

Click to access 1984+Comm%2C+Music%2C+Sp.pdf

 

A Recursive Theory of Communication

Klaus Krippendorff

 

http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1215&context=asc_papers&sei-redir=1&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3D%2522A%2BRecursive%2BTheory%2Bof%2BCommunication%26btnG%3D%26as_sdt%3D1%252C47%26as_sdtp%3D#search=%22Recursive%20Theory%20Communication%22