Does Intensive Morphogenesis Foster Human Capacities or Liabilities?

  • Margaret S. ArcherEmail author
Part of the Social Morphogenesis book series (SOCMOR)


Ontogenetically every newborn human has to establish satisfactory and sustainable relations with the three orders of natural reality: Nature, the Practical Order and the Social Order if they are to survive and thrive. Each order has changed greatly since c. 1980 and exacerbates our liabilities: Climate Change threatens humanity with finitude, the Imperative for Growth with commodification, and the expressivism encouraged by the digital surfeit discourages subjects’ commitment to enduring concerns. Their conjunction inhibits the collective generation of relational goods that could promote Eudaimonia amongst humankind.


Physical well-being Performative competence Self-worth Climate change Economic growth Expressive reflexivity 


  1. Anderson, C. H. (1976). The sociology of survival. Homewood: Dorsey Press.Google Scholar
  2. Archer, M. S. (2000). Being human: The problem of agency. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Archer, M. S. (2004). Emotions as commentaries on human concerns. In J. H. Turner (Ed.), Theory and research on human emotions. Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  4. Archer, M. S. (2007). Making our way through the world: human reflexivity and social mobility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Archer, M. S. (2010). Routine, reflexivity and realism. Sociological Theory, 28(3), 272–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Archer, M. S. (2012). The reflexive imperative in late modernity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Archer, M. (2014). The generative mechanisms transforming late modernity. In her (ed.), Late modernity: trajectories towards morphogenic society. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  8. Archer, M. S. (2015). How agency is transformed in the course of social transformation. In her (ed.), Generative mechanisms transforming the social order. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Archer, M.S. (2016). Anormative social regulation: The attempt to cope with social morphogenesis. In her (ed.), Morphogenesis and the crisis of normativity. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Bhaskar, R. (2016). Enlightened common sense: The philosophy of critical realism. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Campbell, C. (1996). The myth of social action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carrigan, M. (2016). The fragile movements of late modernity. In M. S. Archer (Ed.), Morphogenesis and the Crisis in normativity. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  13. Castells, M. (2012). Networks of outrage and hope. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  14. Dasgupta, P., Ramanathan, V., & Sorondo, S. (Eds.). (2014). Sustainable humanity, sustainable nature, our responsibility. Vatican City: Vatican Press.Google Scholar
  15. Donati, P. (1991). Teoria relazionale della società. Milan: FrancoAngeli.Google Scholar
  16. Donati, P. (2008). Discovering the relational character of the common good. In M. Archer & P. Donati (Eds.), Pursuing the common good: How solidarity and subsidiarity can work together. Vatican City: Vatican Press.Google Scholar
  17. Donati, P., & Archer, M. S. (2015). The relational subject. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunlap, R. E., & Brulle, R. (Eds.). (2015). Climate change and society: Sociological perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Earth Sciences Committee (Bretherton, F.). Earth system sciences overview. A program for global change. Report of the Earth Sciences Committee of the NASA Advisory Council, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  20. Finn, D. K. (Ed.). (2014). Distant markets, distant harms. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Graeber, D. (2007). Possibilities: Essays on hierarchy, rebellion and desire. Oakland: AK Press.Google Scholar
  22. Holdren, J. (2007). Global climate disruption, What do we know? What should we do? Presentation at Harvard University. Nov 2007.Google Scholar
  23. International Social Sciences Council (ISSC). (2013). World social science report: Changing global environments. New York: UNESCO Publishing.Google Scholar
  24. Lim, M. M.-H., & Lim, C. (2010). Nowhere to hide: The great financial crisis and challenges for Asia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.Google Scholar
  25. Mann, M. (2013). The sources of social power (Vol. 4). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. O’Mahoney, J. (2011). Embracing essentialism: A realist critique of resistance to discursive power. Organization, 1–19, 723.Google Scholar
  27. Porpora, D. V. (2014). Contemporary mechanisms of social change. In M. Archer (Ed.), Late modernity: Trajectories towards morphogenic society. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  28. Roberts, J. T., & Parks, B. (2007). A climate of injustice: Global inequality and, North-South politics, and climate change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  29. Rosa, H. (2003). Social acceleration: Ethical and political consequences of a desynchronized high-speed society. Constellations, 10(1), 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sayer, A. (2008). Essentialism, social constructionism, and beyond. The Sociological Review, 45(3), 453–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sayer, A. (2011). Why things matter to people. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Scheper-Hughes, N. (2016). Scars – Ruined lives and deaths of kidney trafficking victims. In M. Archer & M. Sanchez Sorondo (Eds.), Human trafficking: Issues beyond criminalization. Vatican City: Vatican City Press.Google Scholar
  33. Schor, J. (2010). Plenitude. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  34. Smith, C. (2015). To flourish or destruct. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Taylor, C. (1997). Leading a life. In R. Chang (Ed.), Incommensurability, incompatibility and practical reason. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Zamagni, S., & Zamagni, V. (2010). Cooperative enterprise: Facing the challenge of globalization. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Social Ontology, Department of SociologyUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations