Learning Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, +7200 Readings

The Science of Social Emergence

Sociology should be the foundational science of social emergence. But to date, sociologists have neglected emergence, and studies of emergence are more common within microeconomics. Moving forward, I argue that a science of social emergence requires two advances beyond current approaches—and that sociology is better positioned than economics to make these advances. First, consistent with existing critiques of microeconomics, I argue that we need a more sophisticated representation of individual agents. Second, I argue that multi-agent models need a more sophisticated representation of interaction processes. The agent communication languages currently used by multi-agent systems researchers are not appropriate for modeling human societies. I conclude by arguing that the scientific study of interaction and emergence will have to migrate out of microeconomics and become a part of sociology. Sociologists, for their part, should embrace multi-agent modeling to pursue a more rigorous study of these traditional sociological issues.

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Read also: Handbook of Research on Agent-Based Societies: Social and Cultural Interactions

Agent Cognitive Capabilities and Orders of Social Emergence

Relationships Between the Processes of Emergence and Abstraction in Societies

Search as a Tool for Emergence

Reputation – Social Transmission for Partner Selection

The Growth of Structural and Functional Complexity during Evolution

Although the growth of complexity during evolution seems obvious to most observers, it has recently been questioned whether such increase objectively exists. The present paper tries to clarify the issue by analysing the concept of complexity as a combination of variety and dependency. It is argued that variation and selection automatically produce differentiation (variety) and integration (dependency), for living as well as non-living systems. Structural complexification is produced by spatial differentiation and the selection of fit linkages between components. Functional complexification follows from the need to increase the variety of actions in order to cope with more diverse environmental perturbations, and the need to integrate actions into higher-order complexes in order to minimize the difficulty of decision-making. Both processes produce a hierarchy of nested supersystems or metasystems, and tend to be self-reinforcing. Though simplicity is a selective factor, it does not tend to arrest or reverse overall complexification. Increase in the absolute components of fitness, which is associated with complexification, defines a preferred direction for evolution, although the process remains wholly unpredictable.

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Reaqd also: The Emergence of Distributed Cognition – a Conceptual Framework

Modelling the Emergence and Evolution of Distributed Cognition

Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 29, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Social Emergence – Societies as Complex Systems

Can we understand important social issues by studying individual personalities, decisions, and behaviors? Or are societies somehow more than the people in them? Sociologists have long believed that the study of individual decisions and behaviors cannot fully explain the complex social phenomena that emerge when people interact in organizations, institutions, and societies. In contrast, most psychologists and economists tend to treat social phenomena as if they were reducible to the actions of individuals, whose independent choices can simply be added together to explain complex social processes. Social Emergence takes a new approach to these long-standing questions. Sawyer argues that societies are complex dynamical systems and that the best way to resolve these debates is by developing the concept of emergence, focusing on multiple levels of analysis – individuals, interactions, and groups – and on how social group phenomena emerge from communication processes among individual members. This book makes a unique contribution not only to complex systems research but also to social theory.

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Social Network Approaches to Leadership

Contemporary definitions of leadership advance a view of the phenomenon as relational, situated in specific social contexts, involving patterned emergent processes, and encompassing both formal and informal influence. Paralleling these views is a growing interest in leveraging social network approaches to study leadership. Social network approaches provide a set of theories and methods with which to articulate and investigate, with greater precision and rigor, the wide variety of relational perspectives implied by contemporary leadership theories. Our goal is to advance this domain through an integrative conceptual review. We begin by answering the question of why–Why adopt a network approach to study leadership? Then, we offer a framework for organizing prior research. Our review reveals 3 areas of research, which we term: (a) leadership in networks, (b) leadership as networks, and (c) leadership in and as networks. By clarifying the conceptual underpinnings, key findings, and themes within each area, this review serves as a foundation for future inquiry that capitalizes on, and programmatically builds upon, the insights of prior work. Our final contribution is to advance an agenda for future research that harnesses the confluent ideas at the intersection of leadership in and as networks. Leadership in and as networks represents a paradigm shift in leadership research–from an emphasis on the static traits and behaviors of formal leaders whose actions are contingent upon situational constraints, toward an emphasis on the complex and patterned relational processes that interact with the embedding social context to jointly constitute leadership emergence and effectiveness.

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Dialogic Leadership for Social Justice

In this article, I draw on current scholarship about leadership for social justice, to develop a framework intended to help educational leaders think about leading for social justice. I critically examine some ways in which the status quo marginalizes large numbers of students and their families, preventing them from being heard or even acknowledged. I suggest that transformative educational leaders may foster the academic success of all children through engaging in moral dialogue that facilitates the development of strong relationships, supplants pathologizing silences, challenges existing beliefs and practices, and grounds educational leadership in some criteria for social justice. Bakhtin suggests that entering into a relationship and participating in dialogue with another person is the means by which one may overcome “closedness” and achieve understanding. For Bakhtin, depth of understanding only occurs when we encounter difference and deal with it in ways that address its meanings:

“A meaning only reveals its depths once it has encountered and come into contact
with another, foreign meaning: they engage in a kind of dialogue, which
surmounts the closedness and one-sidedness of these particular meanings,
these cultures.”

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Distributed Leadership for Social Justice

Although leadership for social justice and distributed leadership have separately garnered a great deal of interest among educational administration scholars, no studies have explored the possible conceptual and empirical links between these important and promising areas of inquiry. This study draws from extant literature to suggest an exploratory conceptual framework designed to investigate distributed leadership practice for social justice; it then explores the efficacy of the framework using data from an ethnographic study of leadership practice conducted in an urban high school. Findings suggest that the framework has potential for explaining social justice leadership practice as the context-specific and situation-bound work of formal and informal leaders throughout an organization.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 28, 2015 at 11:23 am

Thoughts on a Pedagogy OF Complexity

There is now a developed and extensive literature on the implications of the ‘complexity frame of reference’ for education in general and pedagogy in particular. This includes a wide range of interesting contributions which consider how complexity can inform, inter alia, research on educational systems and theories of learning, as well as work dealing with specific pedagogical domains including physical education, clinical education and in particular the learning of clinical teams, and learning in relation to systems engineering. This material has contributed considerably to my thinking about the subject matter of this essay which is not the implications of complexity for pedagogy but rather how we might develop a pedagogy OF complexity and, more specifically, a pedagogy of what Morin has called ‘general’ (as opposed to ‘restricted’) complexity. In other words how should we teach the complexity frame of reference to students at all appropriate educational levels?

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

The Emergence of Human Interactional Sense-Making Process as a Complex System

The article aims at explicating the emergence of human interactional sense‐making process within educational leadership as a complex system. The kind of leadership is understood as a holistic entity called collaborative leadership. There, sense‐making emerges across interdependent domains, called attributes of collaborative leadership. The attributes give rise to the complex system. They are suggested to be the very agents, i.e. both the source and the outcome of the synergetic sense‐making process. Hence, the agents are not the single persons involved who, however, supply the collective attributes that are modified through human interaction in a holistic way. For studying the emergence process in reality, a long‐term development process within an educational executive team was exploited. The team aimed at co‐creating novel leadership thinking and working practices for its new unit after a merger of separated schools. The emergent sense‐making process was examined through such agent‐attributes that were identified as attractors within the complex system. Moreover, it is argued that illuminating the complex system of collaborative leadership, this can help other leadership teams to better understand their own sense‐making processes in the increasingly complex settings of today.

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…working with (a) Rhizoanalysis … and working (with) a Rhizoanalysis

Rhizoanalysis is introduced here as a way of processing through an assemblage involving research methodology, data generation and analytical possibilities entwined within. In concert, rhizomethodology  is presented as a way of working (with) data, complexly; a way of putting the Deleuzo‐Guattarian philosophical imaginary of rhizome to work. With/in/alongside this rhizomethodological approach, which I employed in my doctoral thesis, rhizoanalysis (as both process and product) is concurrent, becoming the inquiry of the research, (e)merging through the whole research process. In this everything is always already happening – dynamic, changing, in flux – disrupting any (mis)conception of rhizoanalysis as a specifically definable process with distinct and reproducible outcomes. Rather, there is an ongoing intermingling of data, methodology and analysis enmeshed with theorising the literature and practicing the theory, in which each becomes the/an/other. In this article I (re)turn to parts of the never ending slip‐sliding (ad)venture of my doctoral research.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm

The move: Reggio Emilia‐inspired Teaching

The Reggio Emilia perspective shifts the focus of the classroom away from the teacher and onto the students, viewing children as capable, self‐reliant, intelligent, curious, and creative. This approach also treats the classroom as the ‘third teacher’, encouraging teachers to take a great deal of care in the creation and setup of the environment of the classroom and the materials that are introduced. Finally, this approach positions the teacher as a researcher, documenting the children’s relationships and interactions with people, ideas and materials in the classroom.

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Read also: Reggio Emilia approach

Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 27, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Reggio Emilia approach

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