“Mechanisms” at Work in Information Society

  • Wolfgang HofkirchnerEmail author
Part of the Social Morphogenesis book series (SOCMOR)


This chapter deals with “mechanisms” from the perspective of critical systems thinking. “Mechanisms” are rooted in self-organisation. Far from being mechanical, they are contingent dynamisms. They are the cause of the advent of Information Society; they are the cause for the reproduction of Information Society; and they are the cause of a transformation of Information Society.

After explicating critical systems thinking with reference to aims, scope and tools of social science, a critical review of positivist, interpretivist, postmodern and critical theories to explaining the build-up of information society is given. All but the last focus on one side of a purported dynamic, instead of attempting to integrate several sides for which there is empirical evidence. An example of a dynamic is presented that is crucial for the advent of a Global Sustainable Information Society, which would deserve the label “Morphogenic Society”. The description of this dynamic makes creative use of the terms “antagonism”, “agonism” and “synergism” and explains what the author calls the Logic of the Third.


Critical systems thinking Information and communication technologies and society Techno-determinism Social constructivism Mutual-shaping approach Conflict transformation Antagonism – Agonism – Synergism Logic of the third 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems ScienceViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute for Design and Technology AssessmentVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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