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Encyclopedia > Sociocybernetics
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Sociocybernetics is an independent chapter of science in sociology based upon the General Systems Theory and Cybernetics. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Systems theory or general systems theory or systemics is an interdisciplinary field which studies systems as a whole. ... Cybernetics is the study of feedback and derived concepts such as communication and control in living organisms, machines and organisations. ...


It also has a basis in Organizational Development (OD) consultancy practice and in Theories of Communication, theories of psychotherapies and computer sciences. The International Sociological Association has a specialist research committee in the area – RC51 – which publishes the (electronic) Journal of Sociocybernetics www.unizar.es/sociocybernetics. The field of organization development (OD) has had several definitions. ... Communication is a process that allows beings - in particular humans - to exchange information by several methods. ... Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living. ... Computer science (informally: CS or compsci) is, in its most general sense, the study of computation and information processing, both in hardware and in software. ...


The term "socio" in the name of sociocybernetics refers to any social system (as defined, among others, by Talcott Parsons and Niklass Luhmann). Social structure (also referred to as a social system) is a system in which people forming the society are organized by a patterns of prelationships. ... Talcott Parsons Talcott Parsons (December 13, 1902–May 8, 1979) was for many years the best-known sociologist in the United States, and indeed one of the best-known in the world. ...


The idea to study society as a system can be traced back to the origin of sociology when the emergent idea of functional differentiation has been applied for the first time to society by August Comte. Auguste Comte Auguste Comte (full name Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte) (January 17 (recorded January 19), 1798 _ September 5, 1857) was a positivist thinker and a founder of the discipline of sociology. ...


The basic goal, why sociocybernetics was created, is to produce a theoretical framework as well as information technology tools for responding to the basic challenges individuals, couples, families, groups, companies, organizations, countries, international affairs are facing today.

Contents

Sociocybernetics analyzes social 'forces'

It is common observation that public policy rarely achieves its manifest goals, and, indeed, usually achieves its opposite. In education, for example, more than 80% of the population agree that its main goals include nurturing the diverse talents of the pupils and individual qualities like initiative. But schools rarely attend to these goals and the system as a whole achieves its opposite – it arranges people in a single hierarchy (misleadingly termed “ability”) the main function of which is to legitimize and perpetuate a divided society which compels most people to participate in the destructive activities of which modern societies are so largely composed. (See eg Raven, 1994, 1995). The same discrepancy can be observed at the individual level: whereas most people support activities which would help to stem our headlong plunge toward extermination as a species (see sustainability), most engage in activities which have the opposite effect. Sustainability is an attempt to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future. ...


Many people offer “common sense” explanations of these discrepancies and many of these have some foundation. But the truth is more basic. We find ourselves at the mercy of a series of hidden social forces which form a network of mutually supportive feedback loops. We find ourselves in the world similar to that in which people found themselves prior to Newton. At that time, it was believed that if things moved or changed direction it was of their internal properties. They were ``animated``. After Newton it was because they were acted upon by a network of invisible forces which could nevertheless be mapped, measured, and harnessed. (To extend the quotation from Plato given at the beginning of the main cybernetics entry, it was impossible, until this was done, to design sailing boats that would harness the available forces in such a way as to be able to sail into the wind – and thus to enable captains and their crews to get where they wanted to get to.) Cybernetics is the study of feedback and derived concepts such as communication and control in living organisms, machines and organisations. ...


One of the tasks of sociocybernetics is to map, measure, harness, and find ways of intervening in the parallel network of social forces that primarily control human behavior. To link once more back to the basic definition of cybernetics, the task is to understand the guidance and control mechanisms that actually govern the operation of society (and the behavior of individuals more generally) and then to devise better ways of harnessing and intervening in them – that is to say to devise more effective ways of running (and, to link back to the origins of the word cybernetics one may use the word “governing”) society in the long term public interest. As such, sociocybernetics is crucial to the survival of our species (see sustainability). Cybernetics is the study of feedback and derived concepts such as communication and control in living organisms, machines and organisations. ... Sustainability is an attempt to provide the best outcomes for the human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future. ...


Raven, J. (1994). Managing Education for Effective Schooling: The Most Important Problem Is to Come to Terms with Values. Unionville, New York: Trillium Press.


Raven, J. (1995). The New Wealth of Nations: A New Enquiry into the Nature and Origins of the Wealth of Nations and the Societal Learning Arrangements Needed for a Sustainable Society. Unionville, New York: Royal Fireworks Press; Sudbury, Suffolk: Bloomfield Books. (Chapters 1 [which summarises the whole book], 4 [“Some Observations on Money”], and 17 [Summary of Parts I to III and overview of Part IV: The Way Forward] are available at www.npsnet.com/cdd/nwn.htm ).


Sociocybernetics aims to generate a general theoretical framework for understanding cooperative behavior.

It claims to give a deep understanding of the General Theory of Evolution. The key that Sociocybernetics gives to all living system lies in a Basic Law of SocioCybernetics. It says: All living systems go through five levels of interrelations (social contracts) of its subsystems: This article is about biological evolution. ...

  • A. Aggression: survive or die
  • B. Bureaucracy: follow the norms and rules or woodoo death
  • C. Competition: my gain is your loss
  • D. Decision: disclosing individual feelings, intentions
  • E. Empathy: cooperation in one unified interest

Going through these five phases of relationship gives the framework for all evolutional systems. It serves as an "equation for life" in biology and ecological sciences. It is one of the basic components in the General Integrating Theory in Philosophy of Science Philosophy of science is the study of assumptions, foundations, and implications of science, especially in the natural sciences and social sciences. ...


One of the possible end-products of sociocybernetics would be a software system that allowed humans to live a global community society instead of countries...


Issues and challenges

Recent research from the Santa Fe Institue present the idea that social systems like cities don't behave like organisms as has been proposed by some in sociocybernetics. [1]


Notes

  1. ^ Luís M. A. Bettencourt, José Lobo, Dirk Helbing, Christian Kühnert, and Geoffrey B. West. Growth, innovation, scaling and the pace of life in cities. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0610172104v1

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Sociocybernetics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (383 words)
Sociocybernetics is an independent chapter of science in sociology based upon the General Systems Theory and Cybernetics.
The basic goal, why sociocybernetics was created, is to produce a theoretical framework as well as information technology tools for responding to the basic challanges individuals, couples, families, groups, companies, organizations, countries, international affairs are facing today: giving software and database solutions of problems mostly coming from the competitive nature of human relationships.
One of the possible end-products of sociocybernetics would be a software system that allowed humans to live a global community society instead of countries...
Introduction - Journal of Sociocybernetics (2634 words)
Indeed, sociocybernetics has attracted a broad range of scholars whose departmental affiliations represent the entire spectrum of the disciplines and whose countries of origin attest to the wide international appeal of sociocybernetic approaches.
The intellectual heritage of Sociocybernetics, and thus the Journal of Sociocybernetics and the Research Committee it represents, draws on a broad spectrum of approaches in terms of appropriate subject matters, pertinent theoretical frameworks and applicable methodologies.
Sociocybernetics can now be roughly defined as a general term denoting applications of GST and first- and especially second-order cybernetics in the social sciences.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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