Morphogenesis and Social Networks: Relational Steering not Mechanical Feedback



What is a morphogenetic society? Why do we speak of the ‘morphogenesis’ of society? The concept of morphogenesis (MG) in the social sciences can be traced back to the 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 ventured entails moving beyond a mechanical definition of the concepts of variety, selection, positive/negative feedbacks, and the stabilization processes that contribute to realizing MG. It is necessary to redefine these concepts from the perspective of a relational paradigm of MG. This chapter 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 (a particular kind of response to positive feedback) that generates emergent social effects. In many ways, the incipient morphogenetic society is a social order that has a ‘relational genome’ working in terms of a many-valued and relationally transjunctive logic.


Morphogenetic society Morphogenesis and social networks Concept of morphogenesis (MG) Terms of relational steering Relationally transjunctive logic Emergent social effects 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BolognaBolognaItaly

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