The condition of a large group of elements which interact permanently in a coherent way.
Sociality seems to be somehow implicit in nature. Inherently, elements tend to interact, producing some order See "Order parameter"; "Power laws" and "Slaving principle". F. David PEAT writes, commenting on the slime mold (Dictyostelium discoideum): "The slime mold… shows how collectivity and individuality, holistic and reductionist aspects can exist within the same system. What is particularly interesting about the slime mold is the way how collective or holistic behavior is enfolded within the individual, and likewise, individual behavior is unfolded across the whole. The individual and the global elements are both contained one within the other – an approach that clearly requires a new mathematical approach to nature" (1987, p.67).
This aspect is manifest, for instance, in H.von FOERSTER magnets experiment, demonstrating "order from noise".
The maintenance of sociality implies stability through organizational closure. This seems generally true in all kinds of social systems, including archaic human systems. The accelerating transformations of contemporary human societies confront us however with a riddle in this sense, as closure of specific cultures is now challenged.
Sociality is still an insufficiently researched concept. Many aspects of it remain imprecise:
- which conditions predispose elements to association and why;
- which types of elements, specially heterogeneous ones display a tendency to associate;
- how do the interrelations become established and how are they regulated or controlled;
- why do some elements associate in a lax way, while others tend to form complex and integrated systems;
- how and why can a composite system (i.e., with lax associations) become an integrated one.
The aim of such a research would not be "socializing" all sciences, but find general isomorphic models for this quite universal behavior.
Sociality is even possibly related to the physical coordinating process at work in the formation of solitons.
Up to now, the most comprehensive view of sociality as a phenomenon closely related to evolution, in very general terms, from physics to biology, has been written by Carsten BRESCH (1977).
Other significant contributers were W. SCHWEMMLER (1989 and 1991) and J.T. BONNER (1993), mainly from a biological viewpoint.
- 1) General information
- 2) Methodology or model
- 3) Epistemology, ontology and semantics
- 4) Human sciences
- 5) Discipline oriented
To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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