Relational sociology, critical realism and social morphogenesis

Author/s Pierpaolo Donati
Publishing Year 2014 Issue 2014/1 Language English
Pages 18 P. 9-26 File size 157 KB
DOI 10.3280/SP2014-001002
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This article aims to show how relational sociology, in synergy with critical realism, sees social change, understood as social morphogenesis, in advanced societies. The concept of morphogenesis (MG) in the social sciences can be traced back to organic system theory. This theory became problematic once research showed that social networks cannot be treated as systems. Along the way, the relational nature of MG was revealed ever more clearly. The new perspective is that of moving beyond a mechanical definition of the concepts of variety, selection, positive/negative feedbacks and the stabilization processes that go to realize MG. It is necessary to redefine these concepts from the perspective of a relational paradigm of MG. This article tries to explain and understand the production of society as a process of MG that takes place in terms of relational steering, which is characterized by recourse to relational feedbacks that generate emergent social effects.

Keywords: Social Morphogenesis, Networks, Relational Sociology, Relational Feedbacks, Relational Steering.

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Pierpaolo Donati, Relational sociology, critical realism and social morphogenesis in "SOCIOLOGIA E POLITICHE SOCIALI" 1/2014, pp 9-26, DOI: 10.3280/SP2014-001002