In Letter and in Spirit: Social Morphogenesis and the Interpretation of Codified Social Rules
How does intensified morphogenesis affect our ability to interpret codified rules? This paper examines the effects of social and systemic integration on the interpretation of codified rules in morphogenic times. When mophogenesis predominates, we witness both a fragmentation of deep social integration and an extension of minimal social integration over large geographical and social spaces. The result is a social configuration that both facilitates broad consensus on simple issues involving widely shared norms and that complexifies consensus on issues involving less widely shared norms.
Examination of systemic integration’s effects reveals novel forms of inequality in Late Modernity. Actors with access to competent advice, and the capacity to adapt their practices and identity, benefit from intensified morphogenesis as they can make the best use of existing codified rules and can adapt swiftly to rule changes. However, the majority of less privileged agents are burdened by the multiplication and substitution of codified rules. They face situations of illegitimacy and suffer from more flexible agents’ competitive advantage. The phenomenon of unprecedented tax evasion is used to illustrate this argument.
KeywordsConsensus Inequality Interpretation Modernity (late) Morphogenesis Morphostasis Normativity Power Rules Tax evasion
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