Molti fenomeni complessi non possono essere compresi a partire dalla conoscenza dei costituenti elementari, poiché, interagendo tra loro danno luogo a una dinamica globale profondamente diversa. Ed ecco apparire piante, animali, popolazioni, organizzazioni, mercati, spontaneamente emergenti dal basso. Nessun capo, ma vere e proprie auto-organizzazioni: è il mistero più affascinante della scienza. Auto-organizzazioni, abbiamo delineato le caratteristiche di queste architetture più semplici, proponendo un nuovo schema organizzativo fondato sulle caratteristiche dell’auto-organizzazione, identificato da quattro principi generali tratti da altrettanti modelli rinvenibili nella letteratura più recente (l’organizzazione circolare, l’olografica, la cellulare e l’olonica).
Leggi anche: Semplicità e complessità nelle auto-organizzazioni
Society is self-organising or re-creative in the sense that new emergent structures result from interactions of actors, these structures enable and constrain actions and stimulate further practices. Political self-organisation is a reflexive process where political agents co-ordinate their actions in such a way that political power structures emerge and are differentiated, these structures enable and constrain political activities and stimulate further political practices. Power and the establishment of collective decisions are central aspects of the self-organisation of politics. In the modern State system laws are the most important power structures that stimulate political practices. The modern State consists of two subsystems (the system of rule and the system of civil society), it is organised around the competitive accumulation of power. Central features of the modern state include the regulation of economic autopoiesis, it organises and defends the autopoiesis of society within a bounded territory by making use of the monopoly of the means of coercion, it organises the self-observation, self-containment and self-description of modern society and is a meta-storage mechanism of social information. The Postfordist mode of development of society that is based on economic globalisation and transnationalisation has changed the role of the state. Actors such as transnational corporations, non-government organisations and non-profit organisations are gaining increased importance, the structural coupling between the economy and the State is becoming more rigid in the direction where the economy influences the state system, parts of the welfare system are either shifted to the mode of economic autopoiesis or to the system of civil society. Postfordism is shaped by an increase dominance of economic autopoiesis over political, cultural and life-world autopoiesis. This doesn’t imply a “weak state” or the end of the nation state, the latter transforms its functions and answers with measures of re-organisation to the increased globalisation and complexity of the world. Self-observation, self-containment and self-description are altered by the nation state in such a way that the closure of society increases although the openness of the world economy grows.
The aim of this paper is to outline some foundational aspects of a theory of self-organising social change. Synchronous social self-organisation is based on a contradiction between structures and actors that produces emergent results. The cycle of expanded reproduction of capital outlined by Marx can be interpreted as economic type of autopoiesis or self-reproduction. Aspects of Marxist crisis theory can be incorporated consistently into the framework of a theory of social self-organisation. Capitalism is a complex, evolutionary, antagonistic system that is shaped by a dialectic of chance and necessity: In diachronic social self-organisation of capitalism, the evolving economic, political and cultural antagonisms as objective conditions of existence again and again result in phases of crisis and instability where the future development of the system is highly undetermined. The objective structures condition a field of possibilities, it is not pre-determined which alternative will be taken. In such phases of crisis and bifurcation, agency and human intervention play an important role in order to increase the possibility that a certain desirable alternative will be taken. Certainty can’t be achieved, but agency also is not made impossible by the principles of self-organising social change. The whole movement of social self-organisation is based on a dialectic relationship of chance and necessity. Regulation theory sees the development of system shaped by a dialectic of chance and necessity as well as by a dialectic of generality and specificity in the same manner as self-Organisation Theory. Mechanistic, reductionistic, economistic and deterministic arguments that have been characteristic for traditional crisis theories are avoided, a crisis of society is not reduced to economic factors and to a single economic antagonism. Regulation theory rather considers besides economical also political and ideological factors as relatively autonomous ones that influence crises of society. An unity of a regime of accumulation and a mode of regulation that is characteristic for a specific mode of development that is shaped by a specific structure of antagonisms is assumed. There are distinct parallels between the regulation approach and self-organisation theory, but the relationship between general and specific categories as well as between chance and necessity is still largely unsettled in the regulation approach (as well as in systems theory). It seems that the regulation school assumes a development of capitalism that is largely shaped by random evolution of antagonistic structures that is not dialectically related to general categories and antagonisms. Nonetheless regulation theory gives us a detailed analysis of Fordism, its crisis and Postfordism as well as a very useful model of the development of society. Hence my own approach is partly based on this theory.
In this paper I suggest that a theory of self-organization can be used as a consistent background theory for explaining the dynamics and logics of globalization. Globalization is not confined to the human realm, it is an attribute of all complex, self-organizing systems. Globalization in a synchronous sense means a micro-macro-link where bottom-up-emergence of new qualities in the self-reproduction of complex systems takes place, it is accompanied by a macro-micro-link of top-down-localization. A dynamic interaction between a global and a local level (glocalization) results in the permanent overall self-reproduction of the system. Globalization in a diachronic sense means the emergence of a new, higher level of self-organization during a phase of instability and heavy fluctuations by order through fluctuation. Globalization is shaped by a dialectic of change and continuity: in the hierarchy that stems from emergent evolution there are both general aspects of globalization and aspects that are specific for each organizational level. Applying this general notion of globalization to society means that human globalization is both a general process that can be found in all societies and a specific process with emergent qualities in concrete phases of societal development. Globalization processes in modern society are based on structural antagonisms that result in uneven developments in the technosphere, the ecosphere, the economy, polity, and culture. The transition to Postfordist, informational capitalism has been a consequence of the development of the structural antagonisms of Fordism and has been accompanied by a new phase of globalization that has transformed the subsystems of society and has resulted in new antagonism that are an expression of general antagonisms that shape modern societies. Hence we find antagonistic tendencies of contemporary globalization in all subsystems of society that result in both risks and opportunities. Human beings have the ability to actively shape society in such a way that an alternative sustainable form of globalization can be achieved.
The Internet is a global socio-technological system that is based on a technological structure consisting of networked computer networks that works with the help of the TCP/IP protocol and stores objectified human knowledge, human actors permanently re-create this global knowledge storage mechanism by producing new informational content, communicating in the system, and consuming existing informational content in the system; the technological infrastructure enables and constrains human communication. The Internet consists of both a technological infrastructure and communicating human actors. Together these two parts form a socio-technological system, the technological structure functions as a structural mass medium that produces and reproduces networked communicative actions and is itself produced and reproduced by communicative actions. The technical structure is medium and outcome of human agency, it enables and constrains human activity and thinking and is the result of productive social communication processes. Important qualities that are connected with the Internet as a socio-technological system are Open Source, Virtual Reality, globalization, and many-to-many dialogue. Traditional mass media have been based on one-to-many-communication, whereas the Internet is based on many-to-many-communication. Hence the Internet has a large intrinsic democratic potential. In the terminology of Vilém Flusser it can be said that it could support a shift from discursive media society to dialogic media society.