From Sociohistory to Psychohistory
Kybernetes, Vol. 36, Nos. 3/4, pp. 378-405, 2007
28 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2009
Date Written: 2007
Purpose - This study seeks to postulate a theory of psychohistory as a "think-piece". It develops from some earlier theoretical work on sociohistory that can model cultures that are large-scale (e.g. societies) over the long term or small scale (e.g. corporations) over the short term. Sociohistory, as developed by Yolles and Frieden, provides a new theory to explore the possibilities of tracking and explaining social and cultural change. It offers entry to the development of a theory of psychohistory that explores the psychological basis for decision making and social action and interaction, and connects with both Jung's propositions on psychological profiling and with the popular Myers-Briggs instruments of personality testing.
Design/methodology/approach - Sociohistory was developed by coupling three theoretical frameworks: the knowledge cybernetics of Maurice Yolles, the mathematical approach in extreme physical information (EPI) of Roy Frieden, and the sociocultural dynamics of Pitrin Sorokin. Knowledge cybernetics creates the vehicle for the exploration of the sociocultural dynamics that reflects the theoretical structures of Sorokin, and uses EPI as a way of fine tuning one's understanding of the qualitative and quantitative dynamics uncovered. The basic fractal nature of knowledge cybernetics is be used to extend the theory of sociohistory from sociocultural dynamics to psychosocial dynamics. Elaborating on the fractal nature of the approach, an indicative theory of psychohistory is formulated.
Findings - The theoretical basis for sociohistory is outlined and extended from sociocultural to psychosocial dynamics, and it is shown how the methodological approach can then be extended to the development of psychohistory. An agenda for further sociohistorical and psychohistorical research is also developed in this process.
Originality/value - Sociocultural dynamics is extended to the promise of being able to deal with social dynamics within a cultural setting. The postulated theory of psychohistory both explores social dynamics in psychological terms and is linked to the potential for developing a new personality inventory.
Keywords: Sociology, Psychology, Cybernetics, Sociocybernetics
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation