***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** -----Original Message----- On Behalf Of Paul B. Hartzog Sent: Thursday, November 09, 2006 2:27 PM >Saying that social systems do not live is a huge ontological leap. >Serious complexity scholars debate various kinds of superorganism >social theories. For me, dualities of life and non-life create boundaries. Usually those boundary objects do not add much to a discussion. They exist to reinforce a given ontology rather than attempting to increase commons. The difference between an organization and a network rests in the propensity of networks to be boundary-less. Organizations emphasize identity. Identity is a vehicle of ontology. You strengthen identity by reinforcing boundary objects at the edges of ontologies. Recall that boundary objects are contested items that are mutually recognized at some functional level by actants who apply differing ontologies to a situation. Thus, the Golan Heights is a boundary object between Syrian and Israeli ontologies. Both know what it is at one level, but disagree how its relationships are structured at another. Social movements, it seems to me, are attempts are transferring action into identity. They form ontologies. The work of researchers is also to knit ontologies. It is the extension of relationships, facts, and ideas that can be applied to situations without raising a level of cognitive dissonance. An e-journal is a new attempt to circumvent boundary objects associated with print production, editorial expense, and so forth. It seems to me that in information terms, a boundary is a field where relationship potentials of certain types are neutralized or counter-reacted. In computer networks, boundaries are routers or cable wrappings, etc. In semantic terms, a boundary is an inflexible interpretation of a symbol. The cross means THIS. The Star of David means THAT. Artists often create dissonance by playing with strong ontologies that are not readily conscious in human interactions. Dissonance serves to value or devalue an ontology. How much dissonance occurs in situations is the stock price of an ontology. Less dissonance, the more likely I am to keep applying a given ontology. The more important an identity ontology, the less likely I am to enter into situations where I might feel dissonance. My argument is that post-Weberian organizations are generally tending toward lower identity ontologies. That is because flexibility and innovation is becoming biologically more important than stability and control. In other words, bureaucracies are giving way to actor-networks. I study this in relationship to Community Foundations (I have a working paper if anyone is interested I am giving next week at ARNOVA). I believe that it is a general trend in all highly interactive (i.e. trans-boundary) environments. I borrow this idea from ecology in relationship to species diversity (e.g. how corridor ecology works...) I don't mean this to be shameless self-promotion so much as an attempt to move the conversations a bit away from continual reinforcement of ontologies toward attempts to find commons (Marilyn Strathern's 2004 Commons and Borderlands on that point.) What do I read on this? Anthropology of globalizations (e.g. Appadurai, Aihwa Ong, Charles Tilly, Mol, etc.) Ecology and systems biology...especially Island Press-like Ecology policy--e.g. Holling and Gunderson's version of Panarchy, Corridor Ecology, Island Biodiversity research, etc. Actor-network-theory of categories and borders (e.g. Marilyn Strathern, Bowker and Star, Latour, etc.) I am particularly interested in the notion of decentering humans in networks. SNA--especially of the ilk that follows on Harrison White's insights. I am particular interested in SNA as a discussion of crossing boundaries, borders, cultural lines, civic elites, etc. Experimental and evolutionary economics--because they are attempting to get at motivations--which is necessary to understand identity formation values and the value of leaving identities and moving toward new territories (both real and intellectual). International affairs and social theories related to post-Westphalian policy matters--the decline of nations and nation-states due to migrations, etc. Revolutions, diffusions and innovations of all sorts--both agent-based models and cultural ones. I personally think all this could be organized (problematic) under post-Weberian organizational theory, but it is more important to maintain commons than identity--my very point. I am always interested in where these discussions are occurring because it is very hard to know how to not be tied to discipline on these issues which, given the above, is obviously highly problematic. Any help, pointers, side-comments or co-travelers appreciated. _____________________________________________________________________ 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 UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.