Complexity and Social Evolution
University College Dublin
Tel: +353-1-706 2431
Fax: +353-1-283 7077
Complexity may well have been the inaugural experience that brought about the idea of society - certainly it arose from the experience of an action space
that had become refractory over a relatively short period of time to:
individual intentional action and social control.
In ways that began to bother elements of the intellectual and governing
classes (e.g. the physiocrats) and society became an explicit focus for
intellectual speculation and theorisation i.e. in the interests of control.
On the other hand, and completely divorced form all form of philosophical and
sociological speculation, the developmental trajectories of many western
state-based societies have been a function of their deployment, use and mastery of the technologies.
Socially organised complexity is a defining experience of modern society and a major challenge to effective action and social control in and of society. The
growth of the `organisation society' must be seen as the specific control
response to this development.
The development and spread of world-wide networking may mark the beginning of a step-wise transition to supra-societal control with potentially enormous consequences for nation/state-based societies.
The paper will conclude by speculating on the possible conditions for a
metasystem transition arising from these developments and whether these are likely to met in the near to distant future, if at all.
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