Login | Register

Sociophysics & Sociocybernetics: An Essay on the Natural Roots & Limits of Political Control


Sociophysics & Sociocybernetics: An Essay on the Natural Roots & Limits of Political Control

Arnopoulos, Paris (2001) Sociophysics & Sociocybernetics: An Essay on the Natural Roots & Limits of Political Control. In: Geyer, Felix and van der Zouwen, Johannes, (eds.) Sociocybernetics : complexity, autopoiesis, and observation of social systems. Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., pp. 17-40. ISBN 0313314187

[thumbnail of SOCIOCYBERNETICS.pdf]
Text (application/pdf)
SOCIOCYBERNETICS.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Spectrum Terms of Access.


One of the critical problems of sociocybernetics is to determine the necessity, possibility and desirability of social control by political institutions. This conundrum has been tackled repeatedly in history with various responses; some of which have been tried and failed, while others are still going on locally and temporally. Although the problems of social control is pervading and continuing, changing circumstances make all solutions parochial and ephemeral at best.

On this assumption, the question is how much further can this issue be pursued in a more general or theoretical manner. Given the complexity, extensity and intensity of contemporary social systems, can some general sociocybernetic principles be found to apply here and now, as well as everywhere and always?

It is fortunate that recent scientific discoveries give new insights to old puzzles. The latest advances of General Systems, Complexity, Quantum, and Chaos Theories emphasize the multiplicity of reality and thereby show great promise for various social applications. Combining these theories, this paper will apply the Sociophysics paradigm, which is particularly suitable here because it renders explicit the already implicit metaphors and fundamental isometries between the natural and social sciences, thus contributing to their mutual consolidation and convergence.

The central hypothesis here is that some measure of social control is necessary, possible and desirable; so the practical question becomes when, where and how it can be optimized. On the thesis that complex natural and cultural systems are difficult to know and understand, trying to manipulate them is precarious; so any attempt to control them must be thought and carried out in conformity with nature: humbly, carefully and responsibly.

Under the circumstances, human interference with fragile or chaotic systems found in both nature and culture, should be based on the principles of minimizing environmental disturbance and maximizing holistic balance. The best policy would then seem to be choosing a post modern sociocybernetic strategy, which approaches a golden mean between the libertarian and totalitarian extremes

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Book Section
Authors:Arnopoulos, Paris
Editors:Geyer, Felix and van der Zouwen, Johannes
ID Code:983192
Deposited By: Danielle Dennie
Deposited On:06 Nov 2017 18:41
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:56


P. J. Arnopoulos: Sociophysics. Nova Science, NY, 2005
P. J. Arnopoulos: Sociopolitics. Guernica, Toronto, 1995
P. J. Arnopoulos: Cosmopolitics. Guernica, Toronto, 1998
P. J. Arnopoulos: “Dialectics Politics Cybernetics.” Cybernetica (XXXVI, 4), Namur, 1993
P. J. Arnopoulos: “Ideal Real Links.” Kybernetes (XXII, 3), Bradford, 1993
P. J. Arnopoulos: “Social Development.” Sociology & Social Policy (XV, 7), Hull, 1995
P. Abell: The Syntax of Social Life. OUP, Oxford, 1989
R. N. Adams: Energy & Power. Texas UP, Austin, 1975
A. Y. Ahmavara: The Cybernetic Theory of Development. Tammi, Helsinki, 1974
W. R. Ashby: Introduction to Cybernetics. Chapman & Hall, London, 1956
P. W. Atkins: The Second Law. Freeman, NY. 1984
A. Aulin: The Cybernetic Laws of Social Progress. Pergamon, Oxford, 1982
J. Bailey: Afterthought. Harper Collins, Basic Books, NY, 1996
K. D. Bailey: Social Entropy Theory. SUNY UP. 1990
R. Bell, D. Edwards, R. Wagner (eds): Political Power. Free Press, NY, 1969
J. R. Beniger: The Control Revolution. Harvard UP, Cambridge, 1986
D. Black: Towards a General Theory of Social Control. Academic Press, NY, 1984
P. M. Blau: Exchange & Power in Social Life. Wiley, NY, 1964
D. Bohm & B. Hiley: The Undivided Universe. Routledge, London, 1993
A. Boyarsky & P. Gora: The Laws of Chaos. Birkhauser, Boston, 1997
E. Breisach: Historiography. CUP, Chicago, 1983
J. Brockman: The Third Culture. Simon & Schuster, NY, 1995
T. Burns & W. Buckley (eds): Power & Control. Sage, London, 1976
D. Cartwright (ed): Studies in Social Power. Michigan UP, Ann Arbor, 1959
J. C. Clark (ed): The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science. Noetic, SF. 1994
S. Cohen: Visions of Social Control. Polity Press, Cambridge, 1985
G. Cohen Tannoudji: Universal Constrants in Physics. McGraw Hill, NY. 1993
P. Davies & J. Gribbin: The Matter Myth. Penguin, Harmonsworth, 1992
A. Dunsire: Control in a Bureaucracy. St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1978
J. Eccles: How the Self Controls its Brain. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1994
U. Eco: The Open Work. Harvard, Cambridge, 1989
D. Emmet: The Passage of Nature. Macmillan, London, 1992
N. Evernden: The Social Creation of Nature. Johns Hopkins UP, Baltimore, 1992
R. A. Falk: Humane Governance. Polity Press, Cambridge, 1995
T. Ferris: The Mind’s Sky. Bantam, NY. 1992
J. Frankel: Pattern Formation. OUP, Oxford, 1989
M. S. Gazzaniga: The Social Brain. Basic Books, NY. 1985
W. Glasser: Control Theory. Harper Collins, NY, 1996
J. P. Gibbs: Control: Sociology’s Central Notion. Illinois UP, Urbana, 1989
J. P. Gibbs: A Theory about Control. Westview, Boulder, 1094
J. P. Gibbs: Social Control. Sage, BH, 1982
E. Goldsmith: The Way. Rider, London, 1992
F. Geyer & J. van der Zouwen (eds): Sociocybernetic Paradoxes. Sage, BH, 1986
J. Hagge (Ed): Formal Theory in Sociology. SUNY Press, NY, 1994
R. Harre & E. Madden: Causal Powers. Blackwell, London, 1975
S. Hawking: A Brief History of Time. Bantam, NY. 1988
H. Henderson: Paridigms in Progress. Adamantine, London, 1993
C. Hookway (ed): Minds, Machines & Evolution. Cambridge, 1984
F. Jacob: Le Jeu des possibles. Fayard, Paris, 1983
S. A. Kauffman: Origins of Order. Oxford, 1992
K. Kelly: Out of Control. Addison Wesley, Reading, 1994
H. L. Kaye: The Social Meaning of Modern Biology. Yale, NH. 1986
S. Z. Klausner (ed): The Quest for Self Control. Free Press, NY, 1965
G. E. Lasker (ed): Sociocybernetics. IFASISRAC, Windsor, 1994
E. Laszlo: The Inner Limits of Mankind. Oneworld, London, 1989
G. Lenski: Power & Priviledge. McGraw Hill, NY, 1966
K. Lewin: Field Theory in Social Science. Harper & Row, NY, 1951
R. Lewin: Complexity. Macmillan, NY. 1992
L. Margulis & D. Sagan: Microcosmos. Allen Unwin, London, 1987
A. Marwick: The Nature of History. Basingstoke, 1989
H. Maturana & F. Varela: The Tree of Knowledge. Shambala, Boston, 1987
E. Mayr: Towards a New Philosophy of Biology. Harvard, Cambridge, 1988
C. L. Mee: Playing God. Simon & Schuster, NY. 1993
L. O. Mink: Historical Understanding. Cornell UP. Ithaca, 1987
S. N. Nagel: The Super Optimum Society. 1997
G. Nicolis & I Progogine: Exploring Complexity. Freeman, NY. 1989
J. H. Nigel: The Descriptive Analysis of Power. Yale UP, NH, 1975
H. Norberg Hodge: Ancient Futures. Sierra, SF. 1992
H. Pattee: Hierarchy Theory. George Braziller, NY, 1973
J. Powers: Philosophy & the New Physics. Routledge, London, 1991
W. T. Powers: Living Control Systems. Control Systems, Gravel Switch, KY, 1989
R. Pawson: A Measure for Measure. Routledge, London, 1989
H. R. Priesmeyer: Organizations & Chaos. Quorum Books, Westport, 1992
M. N. Richter: Technology & Social Complexity. SUNY, Albany, 1982
J. Robertson: Future Wealth. Bootstrap, NY. 1990
R. Rorty: Contingency, Irony & Solidarity. Harvard, Cambridge, 1989
J. Rosenau & E. Czempiel (eds): Governance Without Government. Cambridge, 1992
E. A. Ross: Social Control. Macmillan, NY, 1901
Z. Sardar & J. Ravetz (eds): Cyberfutures. Pluto Press, London, 1996
J. R. Searle: The Construction of Social Reality. Free Press, NY, 1995
P. Sites: Control. Dunellen, NY, 1973
C. E. Thoresen & M. J. Mahoney: Behavioral Self Control. HRW, NY. 1974
R. M. Unger: Social Theory. Harvard UP, Cambridge, 1987
M. M. Waldrop: Complexity. Simon & Schuster. NY. 1992
N. Wiener: Cybernetics. John Wiley, NY, 1948
V. Weisskopf: The Joy of Insight. Basic Books, NY. 1991
E. O. Wilson: Sociobiology. Harvard UP, Cambridge, 1975
E. O. Wilson: Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Knopf, NY, 1997
A. M. Young: The Geometry of Meaning. Robert Briggs, Mill Valley, 1976
O. Young: International Governance. Cornell UP, Ithaca, 1994
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Downloads per month over past year

Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
- Research related to the current document (at the CORE website)
Back to top Back to top