CONFERENCE THEME: Technology and Social Complexity
Technical objects (basically, instrumental machines) are crucial in everyday life. Systematic reflection about object-producing devices relates technology not only to the context of the effective production of functionally determined correlations (i.e. technology as a teleological operator) but also to subjective action. This "de-objectivizing" of technology is rooted in philosophy (e.g. Heidegger, Ortega y Gasset) and well established in “social construction of technology” (SCOT)-approaches. It is the subject who initiates technological acts and is transformed by technological acts and, consequently, thought takes part as a technological act.
On these premises, technology presupposes technique (i.e., any systematic human action addressed to the organization and adaptive transformation of the environment) as significant human action. Technology denotes thus a second order operational coherence or, in other words, the organization of subjective order. Furthermore, technology refers to technical objects, but also - as a result of the epistemological extension of product - to social and cultural objects/processes, such as institutions, knowledge, identities, meanings, and more. In the very sense technology is about order production, we could characterize systems thinking as a sort of de-objectivized technology.
As far as it is founded on systemic premises and on the system's management of complexity, Sociocybernetics prefigures a natural conceptual and methodological space for a necessary debate on the role of technology in managing societal complexity. Technology enables the social system to cope with environmental complexity and increases its internal complexity. It also increases and diversifies the complex nature of the interdependences between society and individual actors, raising new problems also in the sphere of psychic systems (identity narratives, emotions, etc.). Simultaneously, the increasing societal complexity demands new forms of technology to be designed and implemented. In one way or another, technology is in the backstage of any relevant discussion on the contemporary nature of society, both in the side of problems (risk, control and global surveillance, bio-ethics and bio-engineering, media manipulation, ecology…) and in the side of solutions (instant communications, ubiquity, accessibility, safety, knowledge availability…).
Papers are welcome dealing with technology and complexity both in concrete aspects related to everyday life in contemporary societies as well as from a holistic point of view. Taking into account the RC51 theoretical background, the role of technology in the coupling of social and individual systems may be of special interest.
Papers with a strong sociocybernetics orientation addressing other topics (conceptual, methodological, practical) are also welcomed.
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Added by FG on March 11, 2007