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SOCNET  November 2006

SOCNET November 2006

Subject:

Re: Help Conceptualizing an Issue--Kinetic SNA

From:

Diana Jones <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Diana Jones <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 10 Nov 2006 14:57:16 +1300

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (173 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Hi Ryan, 

I've been reading your posts with interest and wondered if you had come
across the work of Jacob Moreno who was mapping social networks (not so
much for analysis, more for relationship development) from the early
30's? He talks of a phenomena, or aspect of personality which is outside
the body, which he called tele (taylee), a flow of feeling from one
person to another and this flow is either, positive (attraction, like a
magnetic force, when you just 'click' with someone you have just met,
and have a sense of knowing one another); negative (moving away,
rejection, again like a magnetic force, and this is initially
interpreted as 'dislike', however often more to it) or neutral. While
tele may be weak or strong, it is not linear. Moreno identified that
this flow of feeling is role related, i.e. connected with behaviours.
So, if people act on their tele connections, you do get a force field
similar to the one you are describing. However, obviously in lots of
situations, people do not act on their tele connections - they don't
move towards people, things and events they are attracted to, or move
towards people, things and events they are negative. I could write more,
let me know if any of this interests you. Moreno is widely published and
professionals using his work and subsequent developments tend to be
working in personal and professional development; counsellors, teachers,
psychiatrists, psychotherapists, organisation development, and managers.


Moreno wrote of the sociodynamic affect, where a few people become over
chosen, and many are isolated and underchosen, so the 'healing'
orientation is in teaching people to expand their range of choices. 

I think  the complexity referred to means that while some of these
concepts can be separated out say for academic study, real and every day
life is quite different. E.g. the forces that have people act or not act
on their tele connections. Tele is not separate from behaviour however
it is a little understood concept. 

Regards, Diana Jones

-----Original Message-----
From: Ryan Lanham [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: 7 November 2006 2:01 p.m.
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Help Conceptualizing an Issue--Kinetic SNA


*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Somewhat lengthy...apologies to those who read it.

Moses' pointer to look at David Krackhardt's work is a good idea.  I
will do that.  Thanks!

I have received several other good pointers (Garry Robins, thank you)
and am grateful to all.

I would also add that the ethnography thread is the same one as this.
It is the same discussion using different words.  At least it is in my
head. Ethnography is an attempt to deal with complexity through
narrative.  Some of the things about narrative (e.g. those things
mentioned by Harrison White in the last parts of I&C) seem to be
compressing tools for complexity, but how?  Why?  Why is this so hard to
make ground on?  Why do people keep writing me and telling me this is
complex without being able to say how or why it is complex?  

I have spent my fair share of time in the last 4 months reading the
autopoesis literature.  I cannot find much there that impresses me as
fruitful.  I find the arguments lead to things like wanting to
say...galaxies exist, therefore the universe is self-organizing...etc.
Organization in that sense seems to mean little.    

My specific concerns are with perspective.  Autopoesis, unless I
misunderstand it badly, wants there to be one concept of organization
that is discernable from one "scientific" perspective.  We understand
that termites make mounds even if they don't because there is one
unified sense of organization and we know a chunk of it.  That won't
work--at least for me.  I have no problem with systems that think--ANT
started there.  But systems that think because I can tell they are
organized?  That seems a bit of a leap.  What isn't a self-organizing
system?  

In my opinion, the answer to chaos is not simplicity nor is it
organizations as organisms which was a topic for political scientists
shortly after 1900--see for example the work of Francis Coker.  The
answer to chaos seems to be to embrace complexity, but how?  

Energy is a metaphor as are phase states of matter.  I mean them as
nothing else.  Anyone who says that structural holes or dyads "exist" is
a bit loose on top in my view.  They are not basic forces but
concepts--concepts we construct to make sense of things.  They don't
"exist" outside of a conceptual world.  I tend to think molecules do
exist outside our heads.  I am not sure Martians would visit earth and
say, ah yes, there's a dyad.  Nor even would a Dolphin notice that there
are structural holes in her networks.
These things are made up from cultures we are in...not from facts.    

I don't think we'll find a limited number of concepts in society unless
they relate to communications/information-as a form of organization, but
how?  I am willing to go on with metaphor, but the question is, which
ones may be fruitful?

What is the difference between an organization and a network? -- Really,
now, at a core level.

Why do organizations seem to be getting looser and more diffused as
globalization and interconnection take place?

Why do people long for community if it is not dissolving?  

What is "relationship"?  I can't imagine this is to be expressed in
something other than information, but is that right?  Isn't kinship
ultimately the information concerning genetic ties or ties of the heart?
I don't know.  

When do organizations "end?"  When do networks...end?  Isn't this
something about information and energy?  

What is the difference between a social movement and an organization or
a network? Why?  Under what circumstances does the phase shift occur
between one and the other?  What genetic code describes how some human
effort will
express itself in these various terms?   

What changes when networks are not place-based?     

For all the hours I have spent here, I have seen no general idea of
relationships, no theory of connectivity in "the social" no matter how
complex or simple.  The only people doing that seem to be the few
sociologists who follow the Chicago School lines, like symbolic
interactionism, and the ANT folks.  From what I have seen, I wouldn't
put autopoesis in the race.  If I had to bet, communications sciences is
a more likely contender, but personally I cannot figure out what they
are doing in any systematic sense.

I do not offer criticism.  I have no idea myself.  I just can't smell
the track of the big questions and where they might head.  We seem to be
growing our old disciplinary trees rather than planting new fields.
Maybe that is
the only cultural way forward.    

For what it's worth, from a biology/ecology perspective, I find the work
of people who work on Panarchy a bit more coherent, but that is much
closer to a theory of energy--more like food webs and similar.  

Ryan Lanham  

>A word of caution. Organizations and societies are self-organizing 
>systems. They are living, cognitive organisms. It would be a mistake to

>treat them as containers and compare their reaction to increased or 
>decreased energy to that of plain substances. You have to agree that 
>water and a bacteria react to changes in the temperatures completely 
>differently. My point here is that organizations in terms of their 
>internal structure and reactions to changes in the environment are 
>closer to bacteria and cells than to water in a container. I think 
>making analogies between physical and social world at the level of 
>freezing-melting-evaporating would be an inappropriate simplification 
>as natural sciences already offer more complex ideas for studying 
>self-organizing systems. Works on dissipative structures and autopoesis

>provide clues for thinking in that direction.

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_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
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