Structuration Theory and Self-Organization

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  systemsRe-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.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research 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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