Social systems theory is dominated by a reductionistic individualism and a dualistic functionalism. Especially the latter doesn’t adequately integrate the human being. In order to avoid dualism, mechanistic determinism and reductionism, a dialectical concept of social systems that is based on the notion of self-organization seems necessary. In order to establish a dialectical theory of social self-organization it is appropriate to integrate aspects of Anthony Giddens’ structuration theory. Gidden’ acknowledges the importance of knowledgeable human actors in society and argues that structures are medium and outcome of actions. Structures both enable and constrain social actions. This idea corresponds to saying that social systems are re-creative, i.e. self-organising social systems. Re-creativity is based on the creative activities of human beings. Social structures exist in and through the productive practices and relationships of human actors. The term evolution can be employed in a non-functionalist way that acknowledges the importance of knowledgeable human actors in social systems by conceiving the historical development of society based on a dialectic of chance and necessity and the principle of order through fluctuation in situations of instability and bifurcation. All self-organising systems are information-generating systems. Giddens’ concept of storage mechanisms that allow time-space distanciation of social relationships helps to describe the relationship of information and self-organization in social systems.
Giorgio BertiniResearch on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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