LEÓN, MÉXICO, JUNE 24 – JULY 1, 2001



E-mail: <andersk@hrz1.uni-oldenburg.de

“Women live longer, are more caring; men are more aggressive and violent; women are dominated by men!" All of these are assumptions widely encountered and held to be empirically validated by observation.  Not only are such views attributed to behavioural characteristics in a generalized manner, but at the same time “sex cohorts" are constituted as a result of which their conduct is assumed to be predictable.  Such assumptions, however, also retroactively exert influence on the individuals observed.  They are thus provided with role to which they then conform when these are proffered to them as presumably corresponding to actual fact.  According to Lawrence Kohlberg (1974/2000) individuals' concepts of themselves are formed by way of a more or less generalized and typifying self-image of sex consistency as well as its perception by others.
Since time immemorial human beings have sought to gain insight into the conditions of their future surroundings.  Social phenomena observed in the present and in the past are projected onto or hypostasized as the behaviour and characteristics of future generations.  With the attribute "social" our intention here is to call attention to derivative effects, in particular to those involving human relationships.  The observation of social phenomena is thus itself seen to be a characteristic of interpersonal relationships.
Considering the manifold possibilities for distinguishing between various social phenomena, differentiations can be made on the basis of whether observations take place on the level of individual interhuman relationships or whether they are directed by an individual upon his or her own social setting or, finely, whether the observation of individual characteristics and behaviour patterns results from the typification of group conduct.  The latter is typical for highly developed social and cultural structures.  Democratic societies, where work is carried out by division of responsibilities, demanded that areas for political action be constituted, where decisions require their being based upon social apperceptions.  For the constitution of such areas, for the formation of public opinion, preparations for decision-making as well as for the decisions themselves, information is essential with regard to prevailing social configurations.  Deriving from such recognition, scientific disciplines have evolved accompanying structure formation and these are associated with one another in interdependence.  The observation of collective social phenomena thus finds its motivation in the necessity of justifying political decisions and of a willingness as well as an ability to do so.
In addition, the following questions are examined:
· What characteristics can be utilized for the observation of social phenomena?
· For what reason is an individual's sex employed as an indicator when social phenomena are observed?
· Who uses an individual's sex as an indicator of social phenomena?
· What effects stem from the utilization of sex as an indicator in the course of observing social phenomena?
· What consequences does restriction to the utilization of sex as a criterion have upon the observation of social phenomena?
Thus arises a variety of insights into recursive societal functions.  Owing to historically explicable presuppositions, the sex criterion was used as a readily available possibility of forming social cohorts. The continuation of such sexually ascertained differentiation is an enduring component in the consciousness of an individual's experience.  Although social activity on the individual level should be distinguished from activity on the political or general social level, here a coherence is presumed to exist.  The criterion of sex often correlates only coincidentally with other criteria.  The consequences deriving from this fact could be avoided if in the observation of social phenomena the criterion of sex were utilized exclusively in contexts where clearly biological associations are determinable.



Evelyne ANDREEWSKY and Geneviève KOUBI
Emails: <andreews@ext.jussieu.fr> and <Genevieve.Koubi@droit.u-cergy.fr

I - Referendum, votes, and intention polls

Intention polls - which are nowadays involved in most referendum and votes - have a well known feed-back effect on the very vote itself. Indeed, a given citizen which has for instance made up his or her mind to choose the answer "A", as opposed to "B" in a given vote, is likely to feel (namely if the day to vote is a smart sunny one...) that it is useless to go to add his or her own small ballot paper to all the other one in favor of "A", as far as nevertheless, as asserted by a number of polls, "A" will win... Obviously, a collection of such a behavior is not really in favor of "A".

But effects linked to polls are sometimes much more complex than in this case, and could lead to complex collective responses. Let us take two examples to introduce such phenomenon:

- Some months ago, in the United States, a duel was opposing as usual Democrats and Republicans (Al Gore and Busch) for the succession of Clinton. The overall results of the ballots was, interestingly enough, a very accurate score, 50% ± e for the candidates (e being smaller than the usual errors rate..). This score does not mean only that "a few more American are for Busch than for Al Gore". Its accuracy traduces rather something else, some implicit complex response of a large collectivity - at least the so called "floating voters" - to the simple choice at hand. It express namely, for many observers, something like neither Busch nor Al Gore are the host that American people dreams for the White House.

- In France, the results of a 1992 referendum on the amplification of the European Union (Maastricht) has been "yes". But it was a very small yes, with only 50%+e of yes answers. Such an e (<0.2) is an incredibly accurate score. This score does not mean only that "there is a few more French people for Maastricht than against". Its accuracy traduces rather, here again, something else, some implicit complex response of a large collectivity (at least the so called "floating voters") to the simple choice at hand. It express namely, for many observers, something like not so happy with the European Union amplification, we are not for all that turning our back to Europe.. In short, the collective response was a yes- but... one.

How such accurate scores as the above ones can be achieved? Let us present a theoretical approach which may provide a model of the involved mechanisms.

II. A theoretical approach: the Specularity theory

Specularity theory was introduced by Jean-Louis Vullierme  as a theoretical instrument for the macroscopic understanding of social morphogenesis.

Like more classical approaches, this theory views social forms as emerging from the underlying behavior of individuals. One of its specific features is yet to consider individual behavior as being determined by the model each individual has of how he or she should behave in a given situation. This model is specular (i.e. mirror-like) in the following sense:

- the model an individual has of himself is also a model of the models other people have of him or her;
- discrepancies between the model the individual has of himself and his or her model of the models other people have of him (and of themselves), are assessed in reference to the model the individual has (and other people have) of the model an independent and well-informed third party might have of such discrepancies.

Specular models are therefore: (a) self-referential models of the modeling individual, (b) models of the actual modeling activity of others, and (c) models of the virtual modeling activity of neutral third parties appraising them both.

Individual models being cross-representations of models, and being submitted to a self-correcting mechanism (the virtual arbitration by third parties), they naturally tend to adjust.
ocial situations thus emerge from specular interaction between individuals forming such a network of "resonance" among them.

The very precise adjustment occurring in the scores of both the United States ballot and the French referendum (cf. above) could be accounted for by such specular interactions between networks of voters. This is indeed supported by a set of clues; for instance, in France, until the last minute before voting for or against Maastricht, many people (including the authors of the paper) have not make up their mind, and were excitedly consulting polls, news-papers, weather, first estimations of the rate of voters, etc. before voting. Such a behavior was obviously not directed to get any better understanding of the stake of the referendum; it was more likely an (implicit) attempt to model the actual modeling activity of all others in the given situation, defining thus the model each individual has of how he or she should behave as regards the ballot. In such a framework, the overall accurate score emerges from specular interactions between individuals, adjusting a network of resonance around this score.


Kenneth D. BAILEY
E-mail: <kbailey@soc.ucla.edu

It would seem intuitively reasonable that in a modern complex society, members would think in terms of multi-group, multi-dimensional paradigms, reflective of modern pluralistic society.  In reality, as Luhmann has shown, group memberhip, group boundary formation, and subsequently, group identity, continues to be formed in a primarily dichotomous fashion.  Luhmann has shown that while defining a group or system in terms of itself is inherently tautological, defining it in terms of what it is not (by contrasting it with what it is not--the reigning paradigm), is inherently paradoxical.  While dichotomous group identification would seem suitable for Durkheim's mechanical society, it seems less so for modern complex society (Durkheim's organic society).  In analyzing complex social systems, sociology's continued reliance on dichotomies, such as insider/outsider, or local/cosmopolitan, has led to blatant paradoxes, as Luhmann predicted.  This is especially true for the oft-used, but chronically problematic, insider/outsider distinction, as evidenced by the use of such ironic "repair" terms as whan an individual is referred to as an "outsider-insider".  Such attempts at repair can never remove the paradoxical nature of the insider/outsider dichotomy, which remains aritrary, ambiguous,and indexical.  This issue has particular urgency in social research methods, where "insiders" (often members of an indigenous group), frequently question the validity of research on the group that is conducted and/or controlled by "outsiders".  Luhmann's treatment of dichotomies will be explicated, and then expanded and applied to the analysis of problematic dichotomies currently in use by sociologists, with particular emphasis on the insider/outsider conundrum.


E-mail: <lbiggier@luiss.it
URL: <http://www.luiss.it/facolta/economia/biggiero

Standard decision theory is based on the principle of maximization (or minimization) of that utility function which, according to a single ordering criterion, orders the preferences of the decision maker. This approach implicitly neglects the limits and problems raised by the sources of complexity in human systems. Thus, it cannot accept the theory of complexity, which in the field of decision making means acknowledging the non-trivial, non-linear, multi-criterial, inter-acting and multi-meaning nature of human decisions. On the contrary, one of the two mainstreams of cybernetics developed, from its beginning, the basic blocks of the science of complexity, and therefore is juxtaposed to the standard decision theory.

The consequence is that, if one truly recognize the complex nature of human decisions, standard decision theory and its applications or derivatives should be rejected. Among the latter are the neoclassical economic theory (which is the dominant economic theory), the game theory, some sociological approaches (Boudon, Coleman), the traditional operation research, etc. As can be seen, a few remains. But many kernels of a new decision theory –and more generally of a new epistemology- are emerging. Alongside last half century the complex properties of human decisions have been acknowledged and investigated, with various emphasis, by some kind of behaviorists, evolutionists, operation researchers, and computer scientists. Some kind because others try, more or less intentionally, to neglect or reduce such a complexity. By this way they cancel the real novelty (the paradigmatic rupture) of cybernetics respect to the previous dominant normal science, and they reabsorb the break into the standard decision theory.

This duality between a progressive-innovative and a regressive-conservative perspective is also into the history and the birth of cybernetics. As an example of the former we can remind to Wiener, Ashby, Bateson, Rappaport and Foerster, while as example of the latter we can remind to von Neumann, Minsky, and most artificial intelligence supporters. The work of Herbert Simon is particularly interesting, because he gave the main systematic and complete contribution to the critique of standard decision theory, and to the building of a new one. At the same time he actively participated to the debate of the early cybernetics, and after to the development of artificial intelligence.

Second order cybernetics seems far from the “betrayal” of its roots. The clarification of the complex nature of human decisions and of the consequences it has on social sciences is a task that socio-cyberneticians could do. This research program could ground on the history of cybernetics some recent developments in the field of the science of complexity, the evolutionary computation, the multicriteria decision aid and the cognitive science. Sociocybernetics could become a sort of meta-science where locating social sciences, fulfilling by this way just the intentions and expectations of the founders of cybernetics. This could be also a “guarantee” of preventing the attempt to neglect the complex nature of human decisions, and hence to reduce the decision theory into the severe limits of the ideal world of the standard decision theory.


E-mail: <mpbyron1@home.com

I will present the current status of my efforts to design college undergraduate as well as undergraduate level courses in social scientific simulation.  My intent in designing these courses is to allow students (as well as practicing social science professionals)  who are unfamiliar with computer programming languages to be able to use pre-written off the shelf software to accomplish a wide range of simulation projects. Pursuant to this courses will explain how social scientific research objectives may be formally operationalized into a 'flowchart' format.  Subsequently I will explain how establishing numerical relationships with respect to time will serve to 'animate' the previously flowcharted variables.  At this point, the students will be in a position to create simple flowcharted models of social scientific problems and then to 'animate' them algebraically creating simulations.

The relative utility of two quite different software packages to accomplish these goals will be explored:

1) Simul8 (http://www.simul8.com) This is a fairly comprehensive pre-written software package with several add-on modules.  Simul8 also can be used to animate Visio flowcharts directly.  This aspect of the program may be particularly useful in giving students (as well as non-programming researchers)  an 'intuitive' appreciation of simulation as involving time-varying numerical relationships between variables.  Drawbacks of this simulation approach include relatively high cost ($400.00 and up to purchase software)  as well as a possible inability to utilize a bottom up agent programming approach.  The software is written with mainly business users in mind.  However, this type of approach to simulation is consistent with that of my PhD dissertation.  Based upon my experiences, I'd say that it certainly possesses methodological utility for social scientific simulation research.

2) AgentSheets (http://www.agentsheets.com) This is an easy to use Java-based software package. It offers agent level programming so that bottom up simulations featuring emergent properties can be easily created by non-programming users.  Several political scientific projects such as Cederman's studies of state and nation formation and dissolution have relied upon this type of approach with clear and insightful results. This approach has the advantage of simplicity and relatively low costs (about $150.00) for the software. AgentSheets is available in both windows and Macintosh versions as well.  Disadvantages include possible limitations in ability to simulate flowcharted models.

Both software approaches will be compared and contrasted.  Their utility for modeling specifically second order cybernetic systems will also be addressed.  As my research is still at an early stage due to my heavy class schedule, further details will have to be forthcoming.


Byron, Michael P., Crisis-Driven Evolutionary Learning: Conceptual Foundations and Systemic Modeling, UMI Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, 1997.
Cederman, Lars Erik, Emergent Actors in World Politics: How States Form and Dissolve,  Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA, 1997.


E-mail: <dolanda@intercable.net

The truth is that the globalization of resources, international communications and interactive multimedia, symbolized by the Internet gives us the sensation of vertigo. Vertigo of feeling lost in an ocean of endless information and having to deal with the anguish of not knowing how to sail along with these new and innovating alternatives. And so, with the chaos of homogenization of knowledge and cultures caused by a predominant technicality to which the whole word must yield, including their homes and works.

We will be stuck inside an uncertain whirl of information, if we aren’t capable of creating a new kind of futuristic computer within the complexity of the out going and increasing conscience, autonomy and personalization. This ending up as grave problems between those with knowledge and wisdom, and those not having the opportunity of acquiring it. And finally creating greater deterioration and a considerable growth of pornography, this having to do with its easy access through the Internet and having as a result difficulties on intimacy and warmth issues inside a relationship. We’ll be absorbed by the information and it will leave us without the ability of judging and been free.
We are at the threshold of creation. The creation of new multimedia spaces, which will be outstanding in the century to come. This granting us new globalization forms, oppressive, but reveling at the same time, identities and people, without putting aside the logic of the being, the logic of where to go, and the logic of life itself. But we must know that we could end up been victims of the ecstasy and disorientation.

The new systematic sciences are, in a way, the sciences of wholeness and connection.  They point to us the lack of human life expansion and organization. The lack of a system to block an evil complexity and which may come up with new relation, commitment, and responsibility forms to finish with the crippling, depressive outcomes for the human being and everything surrounding us.

The biological anthropologists show us that thanks to the advances of biology and bio-tecno-analisis and the same path they follow, it has been possible to conceive new bio-materials for devices such as satellites and amplifiers, allowing us to create new and innovating interface between man and machines. But, there must be a symbiosis instead of damage between them. The marriage biology and informatics are going though, provides us a glimpse to a new era of bio-electronics and the direct interface among the human brain and the machines responsible for dealing with the information... an decisive stage for the birth of the planetarium brain.

The new complexity sciences combine both, the analytic and systematic aspects as complementary facets, instead of the idea of these two phenomenon approximations. This makes it possible to propose a thesis that unifies the human conscience auto-evaluation towards predominant spiritual levels, a universal intelligence, which empowers a collective conduct where the creativeness is favored.

In the “New Community,” my goal is to establish this dynamic as a tool to reach the appropriate apprenticeship at the core, without forgetting what the indian communities experiences may contribute, and highlighting where the dynamic has become harder to implement.  Been able to accomplish compatibility between society and each of its members, by taking their example of: solidarity, peaceful unity, love to the earth, veneration of their ancestors and the roots inherited by our biology. It’s a must that we educate with a creative consciousness our eco-citizens.

We require a new class of human being capable of cherishing and assuming his past with creativeness without having to dissociate and divorce form it. A human being who’s strong, courageous and confident enough to solve problems without neither previous training nor preparation if necessary.
The new community or eco-community must go with the development strategies for the use of a system of values, with fundaments in the phylogenetic values. And finally, it will promote the creation of a cosmic conscience, a higher organization of matter, life, mind and soul.
The evolution spirit must be the synergetic element of all the cosmos forces to feed back the constant cycle towards the fulfillment of man with God, and so been able to take in his own being, all things and humans to even more complex levels. This new human being or eco-citizen must be capable of reconstructing the social bond by relying on his almost infinite potential in interaction with their communities and the wider societies.

New converging forces must be created, a total development dynamism of the person-society-cosmos, for a more integrated, rich and fertile personality that doesn’t stays just in a plain and shallow development, but that wishes both, the elevation and deepness of his transcendent spirit.


Jesus  GALINDO Cáceres
E-mail: <arewara@yahoo.com

The proposal resume is the following.- The text is trying to show the relationship between the ecologies as systemic networks and the systems as more stable and self-government forms. The key point is the situation of existence or situational matrix and the possibility context of the ecologies and the systems. This conceptual framework will be explored in the network figures and the social systems with the cyberculture and the information and communication technologies mediation, in the constructive-restrictive scope of the information and communication cultures. The networks and investigation systems event will be the example, in particular, the complex communication and research network. The text is divided in three parts, the first one presents the base of the conceptual work map, the second one explores the interactions and relationships between the concepts, and the third one exemplifies with the networks and investigation systems event and, in particular, the systemic experience of the complex communication and research network.

    Página de la red en comunicación compleja
    Página del grupo de acción en cultura de investigación
    Página de Jesús Galindo Cáceres


Alejandro GUZMÁN
E-mail: <aguzman@tij.cetys.mx

The benefits of working as teams, in a variety of modes, require more than initiative, resources and need, to take full advantage from them.

Organizations invest many resources implementing work team strategies, however, long term results are far away from taking the organization to a sustained growth. A global vision of the Organizational Development (OD), based on the implementation of work team management strategies, is an alternative to succeed in continuous improvement. Thus, we face with the challenge to generate and share the vision of that global administration of the groups within the organization. Because of this reason, we use an information technology tool to develop a graphical model to show to the decision maker user the impact in organizational development, labeled as "vitality", and based on the moment of starting a mode of work team. The paradigm of novelty of working in a certain mode and how it drops over time is considered in the model.

The purpose of the model is to describe the behavior of the level of "vitality" from the work teams in the organization. Where these are lead with a variety of team approaches and their contribution is a function of the time on which each strategy is implemented for the organization's development. A continuous improvement in productivity will be the consequence of an appropriate management of technologies in work teams.

Systems Dynamics is applied to develop an organizational development simulator. Three scenarios: "Fashion Follower", "Conformist" and "Endless Race Challenge", are described to illustrate outcomes in the overall organizational development as a result of the moments of introducing the reference work team strategies.

A Fashion Follower scenario is the result of Management implementing work team strategies with the hope of obtaining the same results of a leading company already working with them. Reacting to follow other's groups strategies not always can be done on time to sustain internal development and a consequence is seasonal improvements in OD going up and down with the risk of turning team members cynic to new team modes. The behavior suggests the lack of a clear vision on how OD will be inheriting developments from previous work team strategies.

The Conformist scenario shows implantation of group modes on time to keep up with a sustained OD but management conforms with a slow rate of improvement at the expense of few strategies implemented over a given period.

Endless Race Challenge is the scenario where an organization could be creating or leading introduction of group strategies and OD is sustained with a fast rate of improvement but management faces sooner the need for new strategies to avoid dropping off OD momentum.


E-mail: <hornung@mailer.uni-marburg.de

The paper will be dealing with an attempt at a possible sociology for the 21st century.

In traditional sociology there exists a number of dichotomies which systems theory claims to be able to resolve while in some cases it creates also new ones like the inside-outside dichotomy. The latter is at the root of Luhmann's concept of closedness of autopoietic social systems. While theory of evolution along with theories of emergence links sociology to physics and its contemporary cosmology, constructivism asserts that every thing is not an ontological reality, but only a construction of the human mind. With regard to the latter, contemporary psychologists and neuroscientists have collected a tremendous amount of information in their respective fields. And yet they are still far from a solution to the old Freudian and Cartesian problem of how mind is linked to brain and how both are linked to the human epistemic condition. With regard to this question, the subjectivistic approach might be a step ahead.

From this background the question arises, how a sociology of the 21st century might have to be constructed in order to take into account, synthesize, or also overcome these issues.

Evidently a short congress paper cannot aim at answering even part of this challenge, much less try to prove the answers suggested. The paper will be an attempt, however, to present a number of hypotheses and to sketch a framework from which it might be possible to work towards a synthesis and towards a sociology of the 21st century. Taking into account the contemporary state of social dynamics, complexity, and evolution of the empirical world, it will have to be a sociology of process. This does not mean to deny the existence of structure but to reconceptualize it.

Any scientific discipline is implicitly or explicitly based on some meta-science. As it is preferable to be explicit, the paper will first outline some basic assumptions concerning such a foundation in its epistemological, ontological, ethical, and logical or methodological aspects. These are the basic questions of traditional philosophy in regard to which a particular science like sociology and sociocybernetics needs to position itself.

In the present context this means epistemologically to start from a constructivist and in a sense subjectivist basis, i.e. Glasersfeld's "epistemic subject" which does not "see" the external, real world but which constructs it.

For ontology this means, that also our (philosophically grounded) ontology is a construction which is valid as long as it works and as long as there is no better alternative.

Structures are integral components in the overall process of the universe, i.e. its evolution which has brought forth different levels of complexity and emergence, like the physical, chemical, biological, social, and cultural level. At the biological level some sort of decision-making and behavioral orientation of organisms emerges. This implies goals and in more differentiated and complex cases values and hence some kind of ethics. It is argued, that behavioral orientation implies some kind of problem-solving. The concept of "problem", which implies both factual and normative aspects, is an appropriate and sufficiently abstract key category for linking the world of facts to the world of goals and values resp. ethics. On such a basis plus the pre-supposition, that the process of life and evolution is accepted as desirable, systems theory permits to develop scientific ethics, i.e. orientation theory.

Methodology finally refers to practical modalities of our process of construction itself. To make bits and pieces coherent, to make sense of something, to arrive at some conclusion of a process of thinking, we can, after all, not avoid logic. It provides a fundamental rationale for systems science's aspiration at different kinds of formalizations and for computer modelling and simulation as the paradigmatic method of systems science.

These considerations lead to a number of general conclusions and hypotheses about the scientific approach as well as particular ones about the construction of a possible sociological resp. sociocybernetic theory for the 21st century.


E-mail: <imtiaz.hussain@uia.mx

On January 1, 1994, when the UN-sponsored Year of the Indigenous People expired, Mexico's Mayan Indians rebelled in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, against the coincidental implementation of NAFTA that same day. Representing the forces of globalization, liberalization, and democratization (GLAD), NAFTA threatened indigenous groups. Liberalization had already swept ejidos away; democratization would marginalize indigenous groups institutionally over the next few years; and globalization, while exposing them, offered a formidable instrument of self-preservation: access to external non-governmental groups. What actually transpired? How has this helped the indígena cause? Why should the issue be of global relevance?

From violently challenging the state to lecturing elected officials in Mexico's Chamber of Deputies, Mexico's EZLN faced three exit options over six years: continue fighting to defend indigenous rights; resign into state-sponsored reservations to preserve whatever was left of indigenous culture; or assimilate into the larger national society. Gradually, it abandoned the first option. Crucial to this shift were at least three defensive elements Alfred Hirschman had previously identified under quite different circumstances: (a) voice, in this case, permitting indigenous rights expression; (b) loyalty, that is, converting a minority cause into a mainstream issue through the blue-eyed leadership of Subcomandante Marcos; and (c) exit, or obtaining the most honorable retreat against the odds. Marcos's strategy was high-tech: utilize the Internet.  He and his cohorts publicized the most local of issues to the widest of audiences, elicited moral and financial support, and encouraged peregrination of faithful foreign believers to Chiapas. In the final analysis, they prevented Mexico's indigenous groups from the death and possible extinction that the first exit option meant. Over the long-haul, they helped accelerate legislation to formally preserve threatened cultures, just what the Year of the Indigenous People originally sought! Of course, a happy future ending is not guaranteed, since the legislation is not popular, but the dynamics already give the very notions of democracy and globalization broader connotations than before!

Can these findings be generalized across Latin America? Preliminary observations suggest a variety of scenarios, due in part to the relative size of the indigenous populations in any given country being different: The smaller it is, as in Brazil; gravitation towards the first exit option is more likely; and the larger it is, as in Bolivia, the greater the likelihood of the second or third options prevailing.

Do Latin experiences and prospects shed any light of international relevance? A case may be made that ongoing ethnic conflicts and tensions not only parallel the Latin indigenous predicament more broadly, but also protect locally threatened groups from death and destruction by bringing in the transnational networks galvanized by globalization. Bosnians, Croats, and Kosovars were eventually spared the first exit option against the Serbs by elements similar to those just discussed. This may also be true of the Tutsis, Tamils, Timoreans; Kurds, Kashmiris, and N. Koreans.


E-mail: <Arne.Kjellman@ite.mh.se

The problem of consciousness cannot simply be approached from the third person's perspective - the classical approach is bound to fail. Science is predicting what is to come in future and on the grounds of these predictions we undertake clever actions and here decision making is the crucial point. Today's science that cannot account for human feelings will leave out the most important factor effecting human decisions. The problem must be approached from the very bottom line of science. A cross-disciplinary approach like cybernetics can provide a better understanding.
Sociocybernetics is the obvious name of such a combined effort from cybernetics and the social sciences - and I claim the development of such a discipline will provide a basis for understanding of both the nature of mind and human communication? Cybernetics already by the feedback mechanism has sown, not only the seed of understanding of consciousness, but has also foreshadowed a radical reorientation of human thinking - suggesting a constructivistic epistemology to expand the ideas of the prevailing somewhat misguided realistic ontology (materialism). In this vein von Foerster found a circularity of even cosmic proportions that was the confimation of also the new ideas of quantum physics: The observer must be included in the description of the system observed. This was outrageous because these findings violate the basic principle of scientific discourse - the separation of the observer from the observed - and then he entered the forbidden land - he was accused of doing non-science. To see the predicament of the modern science that replaced the medieval speculations we must put the clock back to Galileo. Aristotle had insisted that science aims not just to describe the phenomena but also to EXPLAIN them.
This led to a view of science as describing the LAWS OF NATURE. Thereby referring to NATURE as to provide the "correct" answer - the TRUTH. Because they were also theologians, they were not content to let NATURE give the answers to all physics - instead they introduced God as the ultimate "mover" - they had anyhow had to refer to God to provide the answers in ethical questions. And here is the point where we should ransack our own scientific thinking. Today' s scientists are today seriously involved in projects looking for the ultimate entities of reality and they also try to use NATURE as reference when testing some obscure TRUTH attributed to our scientific models. In an attempt to liberate science from magic and pure personal speculations Galileo proposed science should now stop speculating and instead concentrate on description. Empirical observation and mathematics (succeeding mathematical modeling) was the correct methodology to use in science. This become the ideal of the scientific observer - the third person (external) observer - that could reflect on the "common reality" from outside and provide truthful models to use for the rest of mankind. This move has lead science astray and banned consciousness from science.
The subject-oriented approach - AVOIDS THE REALITY POSTULATION - and come out in the other end with a new definition on objectivity (and consciousness) and also a demand of revision of the realistic conceptual framework used in the natural sciences. Also the second order cybernetics has explained that goal of science is to explain the observer to himself - or similarly explain science to the scientists. The path we must enter upon is to admit the primacy of subjectivity and from this bright intuition find out that living being construct their own private universes - priverses – inside themselves. Of course not in isolation - rather in social communication and coexistence with other beings and in this way we can restore the forlorn scientific objectivity - not in the form of some observer-independent description but rather in the form of a model universe based on a firmly established scientific consensus. Here sociocybernetics and the subject-oriented approach can provide the understanding of consciousness and human society - and find a reasonable consensual framework for a cross-disciplinary approach to use in all sciences.


E-mail: <ad.laflamme@sympatico.ca

French philosopher Paul Ricoeur (1913-) has developed an ethics inspired by Husserlian phenomenology and hermeneutics, also drawing from the philosophies of the subject. Ricoeur describes the ethical and moral dimensions of a subject to whom an action, whether good or not, whether performed out of duty or not, can be imputed.
The concept of capacity plays a major role in Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of the self. Ricoeur defines the ethical perspective as : “aiming at the good life with and for others in just institutions” (Oneseself as Another, 1992: 180); the ethical capacity thus appears as one of the attributes of the reflexive self, desiring the good life for himself or herself and simultaneously enjoined by an other self to share this good life in just institutions. The reflexive self is capable to distinguish what he or she wishes to do (the good), what he or she is called upon to do (the obligatory), and to orient his or her behaviour according to what he or she sees as the wisest in the case of conflictual situations. This concept of ethical capacity is developed in close reference to phenomenology: “To understand the term “capacity” correctly, we must return to Merleau-Ponty’s “I can” and extend it from the physical to the ethical level. I am that being who can evaluate his actions and, in assessing the goals of some of them to be good, is capable of evaluating himself and of judging himself to be good.” (1992: 181)

 With Ricoeur, we have a Self, capable of imputable actions and called upon by an other Self to attest of this capacity.

German sociologist Niklas Luhmann (1927-1998), whose work is primarily inspired by systems theory and sociocybernetics, is more critical of the “ambivalences” in the conceptual framing of what is called the self (Essays on Self-Reference, 1990: 23; Social Systems, 1995: 130). Instead of contributing to a theory of the subject, he develops the study of self-referential autopoietic systems. Systems theory, he says, “has no need for a concept of the subject, replacing it by the concept of self-referential systems (1995: 28).

Luhmann distinguishes two levels of systems building: life-based autopoiesis, where basic elements of the systems under observation are biological (cells, molecules, etc.) following Maturana’s description (1990: 115), and meaning-based autopoiesis where elements of the systems are events (conscious events or communication events), which goes beyond Maturana claims (1995: 559). Life produces life from life and, similarly, meaning produces meaning from meaning; among meaning-based processes, the observer can further distinguish between thoughts that are produced from thoughts by psychic systems, and communications that are produced from communications by social systems (interactions, organisations, societies, etc.). When making an observation, the observer has to make a choice between “system references that crosscut the unity of the human being.” (Luhmann, 1990: 85). A human being can observe himself or herself as a unity and can be observed by other human beings as a unity, but a human being is not a system (1995: 38). In contrast, every social contact is understood as a meaning-based autopoietic system and society thus appears as the inclusion of all possible contacts (1995: 15). To discuss the concept of meaning Luhmann draws, as does Ricoeur, from Husserlian phenomenology (1990: 24, 83; 1995: 60).
The complete schema proposed by Luhmann involves both self and external references, which are attributed to what Luhmann calls a second-order observer: “ the “self-” then determines itself as a second–order observer that observes how he divides the world with the help of self-reference and external reference” (Observations on Modernity, 1998: 34). Self-referential autopoietic systems are capable of observing, which means capable of distinguishing distinctions: “If observing means distinguishing and designating one should begin from the distinguishing capacity, i.e., to distinguish distinctions.” (Ecological Communication, 1989 :131). The operation called observation is used by Luhmann as a common denominator to describe goal-oriented action and communication as well: “Actions are selections hat can be attributed. One can use attribution to direct observation and conjoining behaviour” (Political Theory in the Welfare State, 1990: 119) and “Even goal-oriented actions are observations based on the distinction between a state marked in intent and an otherwise ensuing state.” (1998: 47).
With Luhmann, we start with self-referential autopoietic systems capable to distinguish distinctions and to engage in first and second order observations.

According to Luhmann, morality is to be understood as the coding of communication by the binary scheme of good and bad, the moral code being used as a distinction by a second-order observer. Ethics is then seen as a reflection theory of morality. “Only ethics can make a moral judgment about morality (1989: 142).
For Ricoeur, ethics is the aim of an accomplished life, a good life; morality is the articulation of this aim in norms characterized by the claim of universality and by an effect of constraint. Whenever the distinction between the good and the obligatory leads to impasses in practice, the subject is called upon to make an attestation of his or her capacity for “moral invention” (1992: 219, 269).
To examine Ricoeur’s notion of ethical capacity as a manifestation of a more general capacity to distinguish distinctions, as described by Luhmann, could lead to valuable insights on the ethico-moral determinations of human action.


E-mail: <mansy@servidor.unam.mx

In the last years financial markets have received a growing attention from general public. Weather storms are discussed with the same emphasis in journal, newspapers and TV news than the financial ones and their endurance and consequences are analyzed by specialist in both field. Physics have started few years ago to investigate financial data since they are remarkably well-defined complex system, continuously monitored down to time scale of seconds. Besides, almost every economic transaction is recorded, and an increasing amount of economic data is becoming accessible to the interested researchers. Hence, financial markets are extremely attractive for researcher aiming to understand complex systems. Several toy models of the markets behavior have been developed, highlighting among them the so-called Minority Game (MG). Starting from this model, several variations have been developed and studied with the objective of mimic the behavior of real economics agents. Concepts as “sophisticated”, “naïve”, etc. have been defined and its influence on the macroscopical behavior of the community of agents have been discussed. In our work we show there are more sensitive measures of the behavior of these models, which have their origin in statistical physics and thermodynamics. That is the so-called physical complexity a magnitude rooted in the Kolmogorov-Chaitin theory .

We also propose an ansatz of the type   for the average value of the physical complexity taken over an ensemble of binary sequences. We also proved that the exponent   strongly depend on the parameters of the model and can be seen as a measure of the coordination of agents in these models. Finally, we also extend our results to real financial markets. To do that, we first develop a codification procedure, which translate real financial series in binary digits series. In spite of its ad hoc character and simplicity this procedure capture several important features of real financial markets series. As we will also prove, the behavior of the above mentioned measure of complexity drastically varies when applied to those intervals of the financial time series placed before the crashes and those where no financial turbulence is observed. In fact, the above-mentioned exponent   take large values in intervals before crashes and large event, meanwhile in those intervals where no financial turbulence is detected take small values. It is very interesting that random binary sequences have small exponents also. We claim that this fact is close related with the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH).

PACS numbers: 05.40.-a, 05.65.+b, 89.90.+n, 02.50.-r

PDF Spanish Version.
E-mail: <chaime@posta.unizar.es

We studied the Aragonese Third Sector during the last two years. As well as describing and cataloguing this Sector of aragonese society, we focus our research on the evaluation of social efficency of its Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs). To do that, we proposed (Marcuello, 1999) a theoretical framework at the beginning of our itinerary. Now, this paper presents some of the main results of researching and applying of our model.

Inicially, we considered the concept of social efficiency. We stated that it must be constructed in dialoging with and from the discourses of the social actors of this Third Sector. All of them were and are in a social system with a particular space–time conditions, which tend to stress the differences and partial views. Our challenge was to create a common model at the same time a versatile pattern and applicable to the whole Sector. But there is more, we want to make a transferable an useful proposal to other social spheres —specially, public management, government policies, markets…— and circumstances. This challenge connects with the present mainstream of applying and looking for models of social audit which explain what is it doing and getting… beyonf the finnancial control of costs and expenses.

Thus, the paper is structured in three sections. In the first one, we will show the keys to understand our  proposal of Social Efficiency Indicators (SEIs). This means to review their limits and problems of conception. These SEIs allows us to indicate —using “deep and fat” descriptions of daily life— what aspects permit  to valuate in a qualitative scale —from worst to best, postive to negative…— the praxis of a concrete organization, institution or social actor. The practices are object of evaluating and assessment. Social audit is a way to clarify the praxis or as others say “is designed to reflect a organization’s social well-being in terms of those most directly affected by its actions”. Social audit is an answer to a first asking for an explanation, is a systemic an systematic analysis of the social consequences that the behaviours and acts produce. Our model of Social Audit will have as central element the assessment of the social efficiency of these practices.

In the second section, we presents the advantages and inconveniences that we found within the process of applying our model of social audit. In this approach, we want to insist in the point of social efficiency and to go beyond. If we asume the main politics and economics discourses —as well Spanish society as Western societies—, we have to deep in the rewards and punishments system —productivity, quality and competitiveness— to ponder in function of the social consequences the results of these practices.

Therefore, in the third section, we connect our proposal with the approach of Pérez Adán (1999) and his concept of Social Health: we contrast and discuss some points of his work to elaborate an eclectic synthesis and to improve our first model. The socioeconomics approach permits to deep in the sociocybernetics. This is possible because both approaches have some points in common. So, we recapitulate considering the importance of assessing the courses that are heading of inside the differents sub-systems of the general social system where we live and breath. We live in small pieces of a world, sometimes we can believe that they go in an autonomous way, but the results of our individual actions produce shared effects.



Durante los dos últimos años hemos estudiado el Tercer Sector en Aragón. Además de la descripción y catalogación del sector, uno de los puntos centrales de nuestra investigación ha sido la evaluación de la eficiencia social de las organizaciones que lo constituyen. Para ello, en su momento (Marcuello, 1999) propusimos un marco teórico donde establecer las coordenadas de partida. Ahora, este trabajo presenta algunos de los resultados de la aplicación del modelo.

Inicialmente consideramos que el concepto de eficiencia social debía ser construido en diálogo con y desde los discursos de los propios actores sociales. Todos situados en un sistema social con unas condiciones de espacio–tiempo que tienden a acentuar las diferencias y visiones parciales. El reto fue crear un modelo común, versátil y aplicable a la totalidad del sector. Pero hay más, hemos querido hacer una propuesta trasladable a otros ámbitos de la vida social —especialmente, la gestión política y el mercado…—. Este reto se suma a la corriente actual de búsqueda y aplicación de modelos de auditoría social con los cuales dar cuentas de lo que se hace y se consigue más allá del control contable de gasto.

Así pues, este trabajo está organizado en tres apartados. En el primero de ellos se ofrecen las claves de los indicadores de eficiencia social propuestos —tanto los problemas de elaboración como sus límites—. Son indicadores que nos sirven para señalar, mediante descripciones densas de la realidad, las razones que nos permiten valorar en una escala cualitativa, — de lo positiva a lo negativo, del muy deficiente al sobresaliente—, la praxis de una determinada organización o actor social. Son las prácticas las que se evalúan. La auditoría social se convierte en un rendir cuentas, en un análisis sistémico y sitemático de los efectos sociales que producen determinados comportamientos. La auditoría social tendrá como un elemento central la evaluación de la eficiencia social de esas prácticas.

En el segundo apartado, presentamos las ventajas e inconvenientes encontrados en el proceso de aplicación de nuestro modelo de auditoría social. Sobre todo cuando en este enfoque queremos insistir en la parte de la evaluación de la eficiencia social e ir más allá. Si asumimos el discurso económico y político imperante —tanto en la sociedad española como en la europea—, hemos de profundizar en el sistema de premios y castigos —competividad, productividad y calidad— para ponderar en función de las consecuencias sociales los resultados de esas prácticas.

Por eso, en tercer lugar, relacionamos nuestra propuesta con el enfoque de Pérez Adán (2000) sobre indicadores de salud social. Contrastamos algunos de los puntos de ambas propuestas para elaborar la síntesis ecléctica, que después nos ha servido para mejorar el modelo inicial. El enfoque socioeconómico nos permite ahondar en el sociocybernético a partir de la convergencia en algunos de los puntos del primero. Con ello recapitulamos sobre la importancia de evaluar los rumbos que se marcan dentro de los distintos sub–sistemas del gran sistema social en el que nos movemos y vivimos. A pesar de vivir en trozos del mundo que aparentemente funcionan de modo autónomo, las consecuencias de nuestras acciones producen efectos compartidos.


E-mail: <dmenante@maroon.tc.umn.edu

The Hispanic population in the United States has reached over 35 million, becoming the largest and fastest growing minority in the country. By the year 2050, one out of every four inhabitants in the United States could be Hispanic, and their numbers may approach the 100 million mark.  In spite of this rapid population growth and contributions of Hispanics in the U.S., they still face problems concerning social acceptance, discrimination, and equality of opportunities in education, work, and income.

The presence of Hispanics in the U.S. is not a recent phenomenon. About 150 years ago, the states of California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado were Mexican territories. After the war with Mexico in 1846, the U.S. annexed those areas and communities. Also, a high proportion of Latinos in the U.S. has been born in the country. This is the case of 62% of individuals with Mexican background, 58% with Puerto Rican origins, 27% of Cubans, and more than 30% of children of Central or South American parents.

This paper will discuss the following questions:

1. Why has the Hispanic population experienced lower levels of assimilation in the
United States than other minorities despite the long historical presence of Hispanics in this country?

2. What are some of the theoretical perspectives available to study adaptation of individuals in a society and, more specifically, the processes of acceptance or rejection of Hispanics? Does the literature on sociocybernetics propose strategies to approach the complexity of systems with increasing ethnic and racial diversity?

3. What are the results of exclusionary practices toward Hispanics in the U.S., especially in education, work, and income distribution?

Early theories dealing with adaptation of immigrants emphasized the importance of education for a successful integration process. Park’s Cultural Assimilation perspective (1926) suggested that adaptation depends on learning the values, norms, and conducts of the new society. The Multicultural Paradigm (Berry, 1993) maintains that the relation of diverse ethnic groups entails exchanges by which individuals make arrangements to maintain elements of their ethnic identities. In recent years, the World Economic System Model, focusing on international labor migration, observed that the displacement of human resources and adaptation of immigrants are responses to movements of transnational capital. The Social Capital perspective (Coleman, 1988)  suggests that common ties among members of the same ethnic group allow them to trust each other and act together in a foreign environment. But the concept of Cultural Capital (Bourdieu, 1984) also represents those elements used by dominant groups to determine boundaries of acceptance or exclusion of new members.

Considering the impact of globalization on international migration and the growing needs of minorities in the world system, this paper explores some basic elements offered by the  sociocybernetic perspective to deal with issues of cultural diversity and social acceptance. Following Geyer and van der Zouwen (1991) observation that “sociocybernetics inevitably tends to concentrate on problems associated with change and growth, rather than with stability,” this study focuses attention on the changing conditions of Hispanics in American communities. The analysis concludes that a possible world for Hispanics in the United States is one of adaptation, coexistence, and inclusion.  Maturana and Varela (1998) refer to these concepts saying that adaptation implies compatibility of units with their environment and adaptation “is a necessary consequence of that unity’s structural coupling with that environment.” “ Concerning actions of coexistence in society these authors remark that “…the only possibility for coexistence is to opt for a broader perspective, a domain of existence in which both parties fit in the bringing forth of a common world.” Finally, regarding the imperatives of acceptance and inclusion, they affirm that “anything that undermines the acceptance of others, undermines the social process… without acceptance of others, there is no social phenomenon.”


E-mail: <mesjaszc@ae.krakow.pl

Metaphors and analogies taken from various fields are an important instrument of description and analysis of social systems at various levels, beginning from organization at the micro-level (group, company, bank, etc.) and ending at the level of broadly defined international relations or even global system. At the micro-level metaphors and analogies were predominantly used in development of management theory and practice. (For the sake of terminological rigor social system at the micro-level is called here as "organization"). In the early stages of development of management theory a mechanistic metaphor had been used and later was replaced with a metaphor of organism (biological system). A significant breakthrough in applications of metaphors in management theory was caused by development of systems thinking and cybernetics (the latter is viewed as a part of the former). Metaphors and analogies rooted in systems thinking, and later complexity studies (the author refrains from using the term "complexity science), have become an important instrument of studies of organisations, embodying the uses of earlier concepts.

From among many analogies and metaphors applied in studies of organisation the following ones have been most useful in theory and practice: machine, biological system (living system), open system (related with the previous concept), complex system (fitness landscapes, simulated annealing, local maxima, patches, generative relationships), fractal organization (related with the previous concept), autopoietic system, learning system.

In the evolution of metaphors of organisation an interesting phenomenon can be observed. While the source fields of the first metaphors - machine and organism were somehow "external" to the organisation, thus the source fields of further metaphors, and especially those of open system, complex system, autopoietic system and learning organization are overlapping with the concepts of organisation itself (the target field). For the use in the paper, the metaphors of organisation are divided into two groups following specificity of their source fields - external (machine and biological system) and overlapping - the remaining ones. It is easy to observe that the level of overlap varies for each of the remaining metaphors.

It is commonly agreed that ability of self-observation and knowledge about itself is an important part of an organisation. For the "external" metaphors the self-referential mechanism is easier to identify. For the "overlapping" metaphors this phenomenon has been studied predominantly for "second order cybernetics and for autopoiesis, and the results show that the knowledge about itself influences the organisation in a very intricate way, e.g. the concept of re-entry in the works of Niklas Luhmann.

The main aim of the paper, which is an introduction to author's further research, is to study how this evolution of application of metaphors influences the theory organisation. The following interpretations of analogies and metaphors will be taken into account: descriptive, explanatory, predictive, normative, prescriptive and regulatory.

Bell, Raiffa and Tversky have proposed to discern between a normative approach resulting from mathematical models, predominantly game models, and prescriptive approach reflecting recommendations resulting from decision analysis, including also qualitative aspects.

In the study the following distinction will be used: descriptive approach - based on analogies and metaphors, explanatory approach - based upon mathematical models and  analogies, and metaphors, predictive approach - resulting from mathematical modeling and other methods of prediction (statistical, qualitative), normative approach - resulting from mathematical systems modeling (used herein in a limited way), prescriptive approach - including norms deriving from mathematical models and norms resulting from qualitative predictions based on systems analogies and metaphors,

A regulatory approach will be proposed in the paper. This approach is expressed in a way the dominant analogy or metaphor influences control of a system, i.e. they differ for mechanistic, biological (living) system or learning system.

For all metaphors of organisation the specific features of each approach will be predominantly described. The main attention will be focused how the "overlap" of the source field of a metaphor with the target field (organisation itself) influences each of those approaches. Even a preliminary observation allows to conclude, that in consequence of the "overlapping " intricate problems of self-reference are occurring which in the paper will be treated only in an introductory way.

For the more "overlapping" metaphors a specific impact of development of the "Information Society" must be taken into account. From many more or less specific facets of the "Information Society" the following one will be exposed. The IS will be characterised as a system with growing capability of mapping itself onto itself. This general observation will be preliminary developed in the paper and must be elaborated in the author's further studies.

Due to the size and scope of the paper only some preliminary results of research will be presented. In addition to the presentation of results referring to theory of organisation some consequences of the phenomenon of "overlapping" of metaphors of organisation for contemporary theory of microeconomics will be shown. The hypothesis will be preliminary put before that the proposed approach can be helpful in introducing into the methodology of neoclassical economics the cognitive aspects, which in turn, may prove helpful in deepened understanding of the "New Economy". In order to support this introductory hypothesis, the concepts of utility and contractual approach in microeconomics will be the subjects of introductory studies.


1. Metaphors, analogies and theory of social organisation
2. Evolution of metaphors of organisation
3. What is the Information Society?
4. Organisation, metaphors and the Information Society
5. What can be found beyond metaphors?
5.1.   Emerging problem of self-reference
5.2.    Implications for theory of social organisation
5.3    Some questions for economic theory


Matjez MULEJ
E-mail: <Mulej@uni-mb.si

There are philosopher who gain approval when saying: centuries before the 19th centuries were centuries of hunger, the19th century was the one of industrialization, the 20th century was the one of innovation and world wars, and the 21st century is going to be the one of search for sense. There are others, who on the basis of experience say: the level of the quality of life is measured by time one can control oneself. Both are mutually completing rather than competing. The transitional societies of the Central and Eastern Europe found themselves in the role of laggards, a century ago, compared to the West. They tried to catch up by imitating the reality (rather than model) of USA: accelerated industrialization and urbanization made USA a world top country.

On the other hand, countries who kept to the agricultural way of life (and spending time), were found exploitated by the industrialized ones; the same was found true between regions inside the same country - locked in market. By centralization of power they tried to catch up, under the political name of socialism, communism, self-management. The name reflected the old culture of solidarity, common life, far-away authorities, but this was partly true and partly falsification. In reality, the change of culture from the preindustrial solidarity to the urbanistic individualism remained out of scope, intentionally or not, what ever. At any rate, one came to speak of innovation, although with limitation to the incremental changes by the Suggestion System (professional could not be awarded for their own new ideas, even when changed from inventions to innovations, but had to do a lot of additional work for the ideas of other to be made innovations - with no additional pay or other reward).

In 1984, Slovenia, a Socialist Republic inside Yugoslavia then, had the first conference of the governing party "Slovenia - toward and Innovative Society". Legislation followed, no other republic followed, dissolution of Yugoslavia followed, upgrading of the idea in the Constitituion of the independent country Republic of Slovenia followed, all internatinally renown legal support for to-be-innovators followed. Not so the number of jobs in R&D or in the previous offices supporting invention and innovation activities outside R&D, they declined dramatically over the first decade of entering of Slovenia into the global innovative society. What a culture is demonstrated by such facts? What a culture is demonstrated by opinion research, e.g. about interdependence of innovation, quality, creditworthiness and (good) quality of (work) life and the change of market situation? What is on the other hand demonstrated by the experience, that many instructors come from EU etc., from the West, and they talk about many important topics, the least about innovation (as a process and an outcome and a basis of competitiveness) and about entrepreneurship (being the interdpendent part of the same story)? Our conclusion is: transition seems to be limited to legal topics, while catching up is a serious economic issue which has a lot to do with a change of culture toward innovation-friendly behavior (including forgetting about control over your own time). Is this the essence of what makes sense?


Michael PAETAU
E-mail:  <paetau@gmd.de
URL: <http://ais.gmd.de/en/ASZ1.html

One of the consequences of the so-called »digital revolution« is a deep change of the way in which we communicate, generate and use knowledge. The reason that »knowledge society« became a catchword in public and political debate is not only because there is an enlargement of available information, an increase of speed and variety of access. In connection with social phenomena like the increasing medialization of society and the delocalization of social coherence, knowledge changes its social character. It becomes an immediate phenomenon of social systems, not only of human individuals.

This can be shown by various examples. In the latest number of the »Journal of Sociocybernetics« Ahlemeyer has shown it for organizational social systems (Ahlemeyer 2000). But organizations are very special social systems. To absorb uncertainty they make use of rules of social inclusion and exclusion, they have implanted hierarchies, they set up rules and established a system of sanctions. By way of contrast (modern) society cannot organize knowledge in a comparable manner. Nevertheless there are some impressive examples for the emergence of knowledge in non-organizational systems: As the first example I would like to mention the so-called »open source community«, which created, for instance, the PC operation system »Linux« and a lot of successful applications meanwhile used worldwide. Eric S. Raymond (1997) characterized it comparing a »cathedral« and a »bazaar«. A second example was illustrated by Karin Knorr-Cetina (1999) who described so-called »epistemic cultures« in scientific large-scale projects. A third example once can name the global activity for a »sustainable development« This is the example, we are focussing in our research activities and I want to point out in my contribution.

For two reasons, the issue of the global problems and the strategies for a sustainable development places special emphasis on the question about the sociality of knowledge: Firstly: Due to the close context between local actions and global effects or vice versa between global problems and local consequences, worldwide networked communication and action relationships arise. It is this close context - also called ”glocalization - that requires a novel handling of social knowledge and that draws attention to a possible collective and global knowledge production, i.e. knowledge which is no longer attributable to individual actors or groups of actors. Thus, knowledge will get a systemic character.

Secondly: Because sustainable development cannot be achieved without modifications in our way of life and without a considerable change to the predominant production and consumption patterns, the question arises: To what extent are modern societies able to accomplish such a serious self- change? The question for the social conditions of the possibility for sustainable development is a question for the self-control of modern societies which cannot be understood adequately in terms of national states and territorial areas and which cannot use the traditional forms of information processing. If the findings collected in sociology with respect to the impacts of the increasing ”functional autonomy” of social systems in modern society are true, in particular those with respect to restricted controllability, KNOWLEDGE becomes a central category with regard to a sustainable development. If traditional forms of control fail and control can only be achieved by increasing the learnability of society, KNOWLEDGE becomes the crucial resource for the self-control of complex and dynamic social systems. Unfortunately, however, we still know too little about KNOWLEDGE (how do social systems learn? How does a society learn?) to be able to use this resource for successfully regaining our society’s ability to cope with the future.

In history, society had resort to hierarchy and used defined selection rules. According to their hierarchical level they knew from where they got the necessary knowledge (preselected according to their specific function), and they knew where to transmit the knowledge processed on this basis. Only in relatively modern times (i.e. since the emergence of the civic public, i.e. almost 250 years) another pattern of knowledge processing that is based on the concept of the public and that does not function hierarchically has emerged. The science system has developed a special type: In thematically focused networks of mutual observation, scientific discourses arise – primarily based on text. However - and that is now the crucial point - all these forms collapsed in the course of the the »digital revolution«. Knowledge processing cannot resort to the old patterns anymore even if desired. But which new forms are available? The new phenomenon we are confronted with is that, in a highly networked world, the generation of knowledge itself is a process which takes place in the form of novel social entities it is not well understood as yet. The generation, processing and communication of knowledge does no longer follow the old patterns of industrial society. New patterns arise only step by step and so far no clear and uniform forms have been identifiable. Capturing them by concepts such as organizations, political institutions, markets etc. is very inadequate.

The generation and handling of knowledge can no longer be explained as before by exploring the cognitive basis, but the communicative aspects have to be studied either. Certainly the recent development of Artificial Intelligence, in particular research work on neural networks can be used, but for a deeper sociological understanding we have to go beyond the cognitive point of view. Our subject is not an organic context within a neural network, but a contingent communication context within a network of autonomous systems ( or system elements). The challenge is that, on the one hand, it is a highly complex context and, on the other, - this is even more important –- it is a quite different type of operations which are performed in information processing: Communication (in social systems) is something that is completely different from the neurophysiological processes we can observe in neural networks. Communication that uses language and symbols works on the basis of the processing of meanings (Luhmann (1995: 36)speaks of »meaning-constituting systems«), neurophysiological processes on the basis of chemical and electrical reactions. This leads to important differences for the description of knowledge in social networks.

Ahlemeyer, Heinrich W.: Managing Organized Knowledge: A Systemic Proposal. Journal of Sociocybernetics, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2000), pp. 1-12
Knorr-Cetina, Karin: Epistemic Cultures. How the Sciences Make Knowledge. Cambridge, Mass.(USA) 1999: Harvard University Press
Luhmann, Niklas: Social Systems. Stanford, Cal. (USA): Stanford University Press
Raymond, Eric S: The Cathedral and the Bazaar. http://www.tuxdo.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/United Nations (1999). Agenda 21 - Global Programme of Action on Sustainable Development. United Nations Division for Sustainable Development: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/agenda21text.htm


By José Luis PIÑUEL and José I. GARCÍA LOMAS
E-mail: <pinuel@jet.es

We theoreticians who work with the concept of systems within social sciences can gain conceptual precision in our analyses if we make use of notions pertaining to biology such as “autopoiesis” and “structural coupling”. However, to identify the autopoietic orientation of, for example, our social systems, our communication systems or systems of psychological adaptation to the environment, implies also to be aware of ways of structural coupling between systems that are autopoietic but which are at the same time interrelated. This inter-system coupling implies historical changes and transformations of an intra-system character (for each one of the systems), and in turn, these intra-system changes will influence future inter-system coupling as their base conditions change.

From this dialectic perspective, history becomes a hypergame ( a game of games) in which a single gameboard and a single set of counters are sufficient to play several different games at the same time. In this way the moves of a counter recorded in one of the games (the communication system, for example) can only come to be evaluated, explained and understood if the new positions reached on the board in turn condition the development of other simultaneous games (socio-economic relations game, for example, or the knowledge and behavioural habits game, etc) and vice versa; on modifying social and eco-adaptive relationships, those changes that the practice of communication produce on the gameboard will, in turn, condition the subsequent moves in the communication game itself.

To illustrate this metaphor and its epistemological capacity in the study of historical changes in systems, we will use an interesting analogy which is that of channel flicking (changing choice of TV channel by viewers using a remote control). Observe that when a particular subject makes a selection with the remote there are three different “games” or “systems” simultaneously activated: That which presents the subject to us as a living organism who through this action seeks a specific psychological gratification, a psychological coupling with his environment (eco-adaptive system); that which presents the subject as a consumer agent who makes a choice from among what is offered by the television market (socio-economic system) and that which presents the subject as acting recipient of a specific communicational process which allows him to interpret certain audiovisual information and process particular messages or discourse with a concrete meaning or content (communication system). Imagine that on making a selection with the remote and stopping on a particular channel, the viewer in question accesses a screen on which the following message can perpetually and monotonously be read and heard: If you want to be happy, don’t change channel and keep your attention here. The history of this living organism that is the subject (the history of his knowledge and behaviour, his beliefs and happiness) as well as that of his relationships, his future social activities and future communicational practices are, at that moment, all at stake. Which of the  "gameboards” will impose its rules over the others? And how?


Bernard SCOTT
E-mail: <bernard.scott@lews.uhi.ac.uk

At the Second International Conference on Sociocybernetics, June 25 – July 2, 2000, Panticosa, Spain, drawing on the work of Pask, Thomas and Harri-Augstein and Beer, I presented a paper entitled “A design for the recursive construction of learning communities”. In this paper, I use the models for the constitution of a learning community presented in the earlier paper to report on my experiences working as a “change agent” educational technologist with the University of the Highlands and Islands Project (UHI). UHI is a collaborative enterprise involving fourteen partner institutions (further education colleges and research institutes) to establish a university for the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The guiding idea is that of “networked learning”, using information and communications technologies (ICT – the internet and videoconferencing, local and wide area networks) to jointly develop and deliver higher education courses. As set out in UHI’s strategy document, in order to ensure the courses to be delivered are pedagogically sound, the deployment of ICT also calls for transformations in approaches to learning and teaching.

Essentially, what is required is that the academic staff responsible for the development and delivery of courses should be au fait with constructivist, dialogic theories of learning and teaching and associated principles and processes of course design. It is also envisaged that, more generally, staff should apply the aforesaid theories of learning and teaching reflectively to all aspects of their professional lives in order that, progressively, UHI is constituted as a learning community. As an educational technologist, I am asked to advise on the appropriate pedagogic use of learning technologies, such as virtual learning environments and conferencing and assessment software. I am also called upon, through staff development programmes and other means, to work in the mode of an action learning change agent to help further the ideal of UHI’s being a learning community. It is my experiences to date in the latter role that I highlight here. I use the models for the constitution of a learning community presented in the earlier paper to give an account of successes and difficulties to date and to suggest ways forward.


E-mail: <soto@lycos.com>  / <soto@xanum.uam.mx
URL: <http://www.redmexicana.com/Cultura/complejidad/home.html

Without any doubt about being wrong, we can affirm there are four scientific persuasions or paradigms  that researchers have using for  studying the social reality, they are as follows: a) the positivist paradigm; b) the postpositivist paradigm; c) the radical–critic paradigm; and d) the constructivist paradigm. Since many years from now, the development in multiple and diverse specialization fields has given the entrance to the paradigm of the complexity. Due to the lack about  a complex epistemology for the study of the mind, this work is leading to think about the necessity of taking some distance over thought of the simplification (lineal thought) that put main discussions on a superficial and duality fields enviroments.
There are many problems caused by the positivist inclinations and the excessive use of the experimental method in the psychology, in general, and the social psychology, in particular. This problems have relation with the mind epistemology. The separation between mind–body relationship it’s an artificial resource that tries to escape or avoid the main problem about the relation between mind and body because they are not separated to each other. These problems have generated a hole that implies to arise a so serious epistemological discussion. This discusion finally turn out that the research of an mental science gets away from the hands of the psychologists.
In this journey some contemporary perspectives of the mind, the brain and the body have been analyzed. Queries have also been formulated that lead us  to a new process of deep reflection, so call us to a complex study of the mind. Is it pertinent to talk about a second brain of the body? of two minds? and three brains?. Has the triad been: mind - brain - body, the one that has been taken as pretext to summon to the discussion of the epistemological complexity.
In this work talks about  three main proposes: 1) the three brains of Mac Lean; 2) the second brain of the body of F.Varela; and 3) the problem of the mind - mind of Jackendoff. The psychology, in this analysis, it is conceived like a “donut” that it has lost her center. Its to say, the mind, doesn't seem to already be in the center of the discussion of the psychology. Proposals are been  approached as that of the Italian P. Sacruffi and J. Searle to develop a new vision on the congitive complexity like a center of reflection for the social psychology, without forgetting the three principles of E. Morin's complex thoughts in the search of an epistemology for the discipline.

PLEASE NOTE: You will find here the abstracts of all participants except for Geyer, Lee, and Misheva, who have taken the liberty not to submit an abstract, having been busy organizing this conference.

If you have any question, ask to Felix Geyer, geyer@xs4all.nl
 or Richard E. Lee, rlee@binghamton.edu

updated June 19, 2001