Toward a Formal Theory of Socioculture: A Yin-Yang Information-Based Theory of Social Change
Kybernetes, Vol. 37, No. 7, pp. 850-909, 2008
60 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2009
Date Written: 2008
Purpose - This paper aims to initiate a new, formal theory of sociocultural physics.
Design/methodology/approach - Its intended scope is limited to predicting either long-term, large-scale or short-term, small-scale sociocultural events. The theory that the authors develop, called sociohistory, links three independent but relatable approaches: part of Sorokin's epistemological theory of sociocultural dynamics, Frieden's epistemological theory of extreme physical information (EPI), and Yolles's social viable systems (SVS) theory.
Findings - Although not all of Sorokin's ideas are universally accepted, a subset of them is found to be extremely useful for describing the conceptual context of complex systems. This includes how sociocultural processes link closely into political processes.
Research limitations/implications - The theory that develops helps explain how opposing, cultural enantiomers or yin-yang forces (represented, for instance, by the polar mindsets represented in Islamic fundamentalism and global enterprise) can result in violent conflict, or in either viable or non-viable social communities. The informations I and J of EPI theory are regarded, respectively, as sensate and ideational enantiomers.
Originality/value - While the resulting sociocultural physics is in its infancy, an illustrative application to the developmental dynamics of post-colonial Iran demonstrates its potential utility.
Keywords: Cybernetics, Physics, Social structure
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