How are we able to change society if one depends on society for personal change? How society changes?
Daniel Joachim (2009) showed that sociologist react to 2007 financial crisis . It mean sociology is alive. Why, then, mainstream sociology did not show (yet?) any clear public reaction or any adaptative move for everybody to see and to know? This could be the time for sociology to compete with dominant economic inspired ideologies, since they show they cannot prevent crisis or even to help us out of the crisis. In the 9th Conference of ESA, in Lisbon, last September, a conference of the economist Frédéric Lordon called for help to sociologists. (He argue that the risk economic calculation produced to financial sector is based on “normal” structural configurations. So, he argued, if the problem is to anticipated structural change and abnormal social turns, mainstream economic theory and methods do not consider any suggestion). At the audience a sociologist explained Giddens influence on social theory do not help sociology to address the relevant issues economics need today to overcome economic theory down fall.
My view is that sociology – as the science of society – are not able to discuss this issue, since society do not exist as such. As well as single people does not exist as such.
To follow change we need to follow “total phenomena”, phenomena that are not containable in disciplinary cultural arbitrary boundaries, descriptions of apparently stable social situations.
Each one of us, as people, share human kind evolutionary indeterminism. (Karl Marx, for instance, used evolutionary theory and socialist ideology together with economics in order to present his views on change, be it human, technical, cultural). Life depends on technology and environment (both terrestrial and cosmic). As part of live material we share our destiny, even if each one of us are able to determine a relevant part of our lives and, some of us, can make the difference in social cross roads.
I think it is possible to develop social theory in order to define “open access” check points between different disciplinary sciences (such as biological science and doctrinaire sciences, besides economic and psychological sciences). Each disciplinary field can develop inside specific problematic and, at the same time, admit outside input as legitimate and expected scientific contributions to complete the full “picture” of the state of the art of our human knowledge.
That is why I am developing the strategic scientific concept of Science of Emergence as scientific place where several disciplinary work can come together in order to understand how new thinks come out of apparently nothing, such as the Big Bang or life or social change.
Of course, I dough science will determine happiness for human kind. Any way, I think science can make me happy.
I am proposing to create an interdisciplinary community that will study emergences (urgent matters and recently transformed identities or events). This study calls for an interdisciplinary approach because humans society and behavior is merged in Nature and struggles for civilization. Any single approach (social sciences, medicine, law, etc) only do work part of human reality, on the contrary of real life. It is through being successful on using and integrating multiple perspectives and approaches that we propose ourselves to understand better such a complex entity as society, for better social intervention.
"tuning and synchronizing human (biological, mental and social) exercises as creative acts." are remains from the first version of the present text one will be able one day to put on the text again. Read the discussion HERE
I am a sociologist. In fact, I teach sociology at the university. I am aware of my ignorance on many sociological issue, subjects and themes. Anyway, I am building my own path inside sociology and I enjoy the company of people also trying to build their own path inside their own disciplines. I found there are many epistemological and practical concerns, especially those concerning the correct access to real problems, which are the same for many specialists from different scientific or normative backgrounds.
I discover that interdisciplinary work is when people from different disciplines come together in order to develop each one their own disciplines. When each one can explain to others the cognitive value of his/her own disciplinary approach and be accepted and used, it means he or she is becoming a better specialist, serving knowledge and the discipline and science.
Next I will present briefly how it happens from sociology I arrive at Emergence Sciences.
Sociology is a western scientific tradition closed in national boundaries, most of the time. Classic theories and methods are alike everywhere where sociology is produced: it is a universal like tradition. Each sociological community works, mainly, searching to elucidate its fellows citizens what theirs society is like. Sociologists that look behind national boundaries are specialists on comparative methods, most of the time dedicated to macro social analysis. Should we say that modernization (or emergency) means the same, and are felt the same way, in Portugal and in Brazil, in Sweden and in Zimbabwe, in USA and in Russia?Globalization processes ask for global sociology. The global statistical information is less accurate and diversified and it is much more expensive then data from national statistics. Extensive methods are more useful to extensive questioning and, at the same time, different ways of communication (such as language) and different administration traditions (the biggest statistics agency are state agencies) make it more difficult to get systematic and coherent information. It means one need to develop new balances between extensive and intensive methods and produce new concepts and data in order to support the new situation, such as what is proposed by economics of happiness or disaster sciences.
Should sociology do it alone or should it do using the its scientific prestige conquered during the last decades? Should not sociology look at all other sciences available to work with them in order to explore all data sources available? In order to do that, sociology should organize plurilateral scientific translation protocols in order to understand the better way possible the meaning of non sociological data available – for architecture or medicine or legal uses, for instance.
Sociology should be able to define for itself, and for other scientific fields, its own specific way of looking at reality, focus in its insights and recognizing its incapability (being some of them epistemological – for instance, we do not care for physical health of the people - others are historical – sociologists generally suffer from technophobia).
My personal proposal (and scientific program) goes like this:
a) sociology should concentrate, as Durkheim proposes, studying states-of-spirit. On the contrary of Durkheim´s claim, this state-of-spirit can be manipulated by individuals, at a certain elasticity one can study. These studies I call them Sociology of Instability (I wrote a book about it in Portuguese, not edited);
b) society will be the actual developments of social nature of mankind. Social nature do crystallize in civilizations that crystallizes and uses certain states-of-spirit which are characteristic of the civilizations (the same happens with single people, I mean: by socialization (habitus, if one like to use Bourdieu words) each one of us learn how to develop and use some state-of-spirit and doing so, as interprets of cultural pieces, one becomes, at the same time, similar to all the members of one community and different from all of them);
c) in order to analyze this state-of-spirit (as elementary forms of sociability, one can collect in abstract and to recompose in laboratory, as soon as one can isolate each of them, taking in account all deontological norms and procedures) sociologists need help from other areas of knowledge, namely from medicine (in order to define with objectivity the happiness of the people) and from the normative sciences (in order to define how the right to human dignity is assessed by the people). Other areas are also important, such as science po, ecology, management, engineering, architecture, and so on.
d) Sciences of emergency is a proposal of a scientific program able to produce a neutral ground for interdisciplinary cooperation working on urgency and transforming social phenomena, using different approaches, such as the economics of happiness or the sciences of disasters, since scientist involved are interested on working together, meaning that the superiority of natural science facing social science should be minimized and the metaphysical distinction between nature world and human world should be unconsidered.
To develop this program one is proposing for 2009/10 a second level degree (Md) on Sciences of Emergency we would like to replicate in other parts of the world, latter.