Online from: 1972
Subject Area: Electrical & Electronic Engineering
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|Title:||Sociocybernetics and social entropy theory|
|Author(s):||Kenneth D. Bailey, (Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA)|
|Citation:||Kenneth D. Bailey, (2006) "Sociocybernetics and social entropy theory", Kybernetes, Vol. 35 Iss: 3/4, pp.375 - 384|
|Keywords:||Sociocybernetics, Systems theory|
|Article type:||Conceptual paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/03684920610653683 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – To present the contributions of sociocybernetics, particularly as developed by Felix Geyer, and to compare sociocybernetics with social entropy theory (SET).
Design/methodology/approach – This paper first outlines the problems with earlier approaches, and then briefly discusses the four approaches constituting the “new” social systems theory: sociocybernetics, social-autopoiesis theory, living systems theory (LST), and SET. Next the six chief contributions of sociocybernetics are discussed. Then sociocybernetics is compared with SET. The paper ends with a brief comparison of Geyer's sociocybernetics with the other two new approaches, social autopoiesis and LST.
Findings – Sociocybernetics is found to be a context-specific, observer-dependent approach that relies heavily on second-order cybernetics. The comparison of sociocybernetics with SET also finds that the latter complements the former in valuable ways. Geyer's approach to sociocybernetics is also found to be compatible with both social autopoiesis and LST.
Practical implications – A very useful source of information for scholars interested in the comparative analysis of the new social-systems theory.
Originality/value – This paper provides the first comparison of sociocybernetics with the other new social-systems theories – SET, social autopoiesis, and LST. It clearly shows the value of Geyer's approach to sociocybernetics. It is valuable to all scholars interested in modern social-systems theory. Sociocybernetics will be recognized as one of the great theoretical contributions of twentieth century sociology. It will also be forever linked with the names of its principal founders, Geyer and van der Zouwen. The numerous contributions of sociocybernetics are all the more impressive when it is recognized that they were made against a backdrop of widespread misunderstanding, mistrust, and outright rejection of its precursor approaches in social systems theory.
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