The Morphogenetic Approach and the Idea of a Morphogenetic Society: The Role of Regularities

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter addresses the systematic significance of the idea of a morphogenetic society (MS), the questions it raises and the implications it has for the explanatory morphogenetic approach. The general thesis is that further articulation of the morphogenetic conceptual framework appears to be connected with the representation of society it offers, the relation being one of reciprocity. More precisely, it is argued that the idea of MS could stimulate theoretical work at the borders of the morphogenetic approach, to consolidate, expand, and face challenges to it. Specifically, the conceptualization of emergence, particularly of what can be called ‘emergence of the new’, raises issues related to abrupt (i.e., catastrophic) versus gradual change and profound versus superficial change. This chapter then focusses upon the issue of regularity, arguing that the idea of a MS entails a further articulation of the morphogenetic approach that involves a reconsideration of the concept of (social) regularity. Finally, it is also maintained that the morphogenetic approach allows for an original representation of global society, based on a non-functionalistic, non-evolutionistic, non-teleological conceptual framework, and provides a fully processual conceptualization of social order.

Keywords

Morphogenetic society (MS) Idea of a Morphogenetic society Emergence of the new Profound versus superficial change Concept of Social Regularity 

References

  1. Abbott A (1983) Sequences of social events: concepts and methods in the analysis of order in social processes. Hist Methods 16:129–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abbott A (1984) Event sequence and event duration: colligation and measurement. Hist Methods 17:192–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Abbott A (2001) Time matters: On theory and method. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Abbott A (2006) The concept of order in the processual sociology. Cahiers Parisiens, 315–345Google Scholar
  5. Alexander JC (1994) Modern, anti, post, and neo: how social theories have tried to understand the “New World” of “Our Time”. Zeitschrift für Soziologie 23(3):165–197Google Scholar
  6. Aminzade R (1992) Historical sociology and time. Soc Method Res 20(4):456–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Aminzade R, Larson E (2009) Nation-building in post-colonial nation-states: the cases of Tanzania and the Fiji. Int Soc Sci J 192:169–182Google Scholar
  8. Andersen H (2011) Mechanisms, laws, and regularities. Philos Sci 78(2):325–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Andersen H (2012) (forthcoming) The case for regularity in mechanistic causal explanation. Synthese 189 (3):415–432 Google Scholar
  10. Archer MS (1988) Culture and Agency. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. Archer MS (1995) Realist social theory: the morphogenetic approach. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Archer MS (2007) Making our way through the world: human reflexivity and social mobility. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Archer MS (2011a) Morphogenesis: realism’s explanatory framework. In: Maccarini A, Morandi E, Prandini R (eds), Sociological Realism. Routledge, London and New York, pp 59–94Google Scholar
  14. Archer MS (2011b) The reflexive imperative in late modernity. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Arnason JP, Wittrock B (eds) (2004) Eurasian transformations, 10th to 13th centuries: crystallizations, divergences, renaissances. Brill, LeidenGoogle Scholar
  16. Arnason JP, Eisenstadt SN, Wittrock B (eds) (2004) Axial civilizations and world history. Brill, LeidenGoogle Scholar
  17. Brown C (1993) Nonlinear transformation in a landslide: Johnson and goldwater in 1964. Am J Political Sci 37(2):582–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Coleman JS (1970) Social inventions. Soc Forces 49:163–173Google Scholar
  19. Dépelteau F (2008) Relational thinking: a critique of co-deterministic theories of structure and agency. Sociol Theory 26(1):51–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eberts PR, Witton RA (1970) Recall from anecdote: Alexis de Tocqueville and the morphogenesis of America. Am Sociol Rev 35(6):1081–1097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Giddens A (1984) The constitution of society: outline of the theory of structuration. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  22. Hedström P (2005) Dissecting the social: On the principles of analytical sociology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Holt RT, Job BL, Markus L (1978) Catastrophe theory and the study of war. J Confl Resolut 22(2):171–208Google Scholar
  24. Joas H, Knöbl W (2009) Social theory: twenty introductory lectures. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Jobe EK (1985) Explanation, causality, and counterfactuals. Philos Sci 52(3):357–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kauffman RG, Oliva TA (1994) Multivariate catastrophe model estimation: method and application. Acad Manag J 37(1):206–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kemp S, Holmwood J (2003) Realism, regularity and social explanation. J Theory Soc Behav 33(2):165–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Knöbl W (2007) Die Kontingenz der Moderne. Wege in Europa, Asien und Amerika. Frankfurt/New York, Campus VerlagGoogle Scholar
  29. Lauer RH (1981) Temporal man: the meaning and uses of social time. Praeger, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Luhmann N (1995) Social systems. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  31. Luhmann N (1997) Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft. Suhrkamp, FrankfurtGoogle Scholar
  32. Luhmann N, De Giorgi R (1994) Teoria della società. Franco Angeli, MilanoGoogle Scholar
  33. Maccarini A (2011). Toward a new European sociology: The morphogenetic approach between social analysis and grand theory. In: Maccarini A, Morandi E, Prandini R (eds), Sociological realism, Routledge, London and New York, pp 95–121Google Scholar
  34. Maccarini A, Morandi E, Prandini R (eds) (2011) Sociological realism. Routledge, London and New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Maruyama M (1976) Toward cultural symbiosis. In: Jantsch E, Waddington C (eds) Evolution and consciousness: human systems in transition. Addison-Wesley Reading, Mass, pp 198–213Google Scholar
  36. McCann JE, Selsky J (1984) Hyperturbulence and the emergence of type 5 environments. Acad Manag Rev 9(3):460–470Google Scholar
  37. Oliva TA, Day DL, MacMillan IC (1988) A generic model of competitive dynamics. Acad Manag Rev 13(3):374–389Google Scholar
  38. Parsons T (1964) Evolutionary universals in society. Am Sociol Rev 29:339–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Parsons T (1966) Societies: evolutionary and comparative perspectives. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  40. Parsons T (1971) The system of modern societies. Prentice-Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  41. Porpora DV (2011) Recovering causality: realist methods in sociology. In: Maccarini A, Morandi E, Prandini R (eds) Sociological Realism. Routledge, London and New York, pp 149–167Google Scholar
  42. Porpora DV (2012) The morphogenetic approach in the social sciences. Paper presented at the Lausanne Seminar, Jan 2012Google Scholar
  43. Smirnov AD, Ershov EB (1992) Perestroika: a catastrophic change of economic reform policy. J Confl Resolut 36(3):415–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Steinmetz G (2005) The politics of method in the human sciences. Duke University Press, DurhamGoogle Scholar
  45. Sugden R (2011) Explanation in search of observations. Biol Philos 26(5):717–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thalos M (1999) In favor of being only humean. Philos Stud 93(3):265–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tilly C (1984) Big structures, large processes, huge comparisons. Russell Sage, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  48. Ward M (1995) Butterflies and bifurcations: can chaos theory contribute to our understanding of family systems? J Marriage Fam 57(3):629–638CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Juridical and International StudiesUniversity of PadovaPaduaItaly

Personalised recommendations