Selected Topics in Sociology 2020
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This course focuses on complexity theory in sociology. Because this is an advanced course, it is advisable that students have already taken intoroductory courses of sociology. "Introduction to Sociology""Sociological Theories" are such advisable courses.
Final Essay (2020)
Usually, I have two lecture courses for the autumn semester, and there are about 60 students in the respective classes. I grade only by examination in the intermediate course, and I read about 60 essays in the advanced course. However, due to the corona pandemic, I find it very difficult to conduct examinations online. Thus, I have to grade students based on essays. This year, I have unusual 200 students in the two lecture courses, and it will take an amazing amount of time to complete grading. Therefore, I have to set a deadline earlier than usual. Please understand this very exceptional situation.
1. Submit an essay on a major topic
(topics) of the complexity theory of sociology discussed in the course. The
contents of the essay must be related to the course. Write your own ideas
referring to the contents of the course and demonstrate your own ideas.
If you do not refer to the theory and concepts presented in the class, the essay will not be admitted as an essay to this class.
2. Deadline: January 8th (Fri) 23:59
Submit your essay to the Waseda Moodle. A
detailed way of submission will be explained later. An attached file via e-mail
is not acceptable.
3. Write your essay in around 800 words
4. For instance, you can criticize complexity theory presented in the class. Then, you need to refer to functionalism, structuralism, postmodernism, feminism, relational sociology or whatever. Of course you do not need to refer to all of these theories. An essay of this type needs knowledge of theoretical sociology. Another idea of writing an essay is to apply complexity theory to various empirical topics such as gender, social movement, or class.
5. Please submit your essay in a Word or PDF file to the Waseda Moodle.
Write the title in the following way.
If your family name is Sakura, and your ID is 1M202020-5, then the title will be
Please remove the last '-5'.
◇ Basic Concepts
The contents below are password-protected because it contains some unpublished contents.
The password will be announced in the class.
Ⅰ. Complexity Theory
09/25 1-1. Introduction
10/01 1-2. How to Study Sociology
10/02 1-3. Sociological Theories
10/08 1-4. Contemporary Theories in Sociology
10/09 1-5. Modernity and Postmodernity
10/15 1-6. The Language and the View of the World
10/16 1-7. The Concept of Order and Complexity
10/22 1-8. The Edge of Chaos
10/23 1-9. Complexity and Rationality
10/29 1-10. Evolution and Progress
Ⅱ. Mind and Ego
10/30 2-1. A Quest for the Mind
11/05 2-2. Mind and Field
11/06 School holiday
11/12 2-3. Motivation of the Mind
11/13 2-4. Mind and Ego
11/19 2-5. Commitment, Attachment and Detachment
11/20 2-6. Processes of Creation
11/26 2-7. The Ecology of the Mind
Ⅲ. The Principle of the Social Order
11/27 3-1. The Social Field
12/03 3-2. Communication and Power
12/04 3-3. The Social Field and Forces
12/10 3-4. The Dynamics of the Social Field
12/11 3-5. The Ecology of Social Order
12/17 3-6. Work and Society
12/18 3-7. A History of LGBTQ+ at San Francisco
01/07 3-8. An Interpretive Sociology of the Meiji Restoration
01/08 3-9. Explaining the Meiji Restoration
01/14 3-10. What is Responsibility ?
01/15 3-11. Morality and Ethics
No textbook will be used in this class. Reference books will be introduced in the class.
The contents of this course were published in Japanese in the following book.
桜井 洋 2017『社会秩序の起源 － 「なる」ことの論理』 新曜社
(Sakurai, Hiroshi 2017 The Origin of Social Order -- The Logic of Becoming, Shin-yosha
Examination 25%, Attendance 25%, Essay 50%
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◆ Basic Concepts
◇ Morphogenesis (= Self-Organization)
The process of spontaneous formation of macroscopic order (patterns) through the interactions of the autonomous agents at the microscopic level. The essence of morphogenesis lies in its spontaneity of order formation.. Morphogenesis is the order formation without any rules, controls and disciplines.
Creation of macro order through the interactions among the agents at the microscopic level.
◇ Autonomous Agent
Elements or units with the internal degree of freedom. In the living organism, macro molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids, and the cells are autonomous agents.
Order means pattern or difference. Disorder means the absence of patterns. Disorder means symmetry, because you cannot make any distinction.
◇ Parallel Distributed Processing
When the processing of information is conducted by the central unit such as central government, it is called a serial processing. When the processing is conducted by many autonomous agents simultaneously, it is called a parallel distributed processing.. Typical example of this is the brain. There is no central commander in the parallel distributed processing..
◇ The spontaneous breakdown of symmetry
This is the first stage of the spontaneous order (pattern) formation, or morphogenesis, or self-organization. Symmetry or distorder will be broken spontaneouly to create order.
Tiny changes or deviances or noises in the dynamical process. Usually in a physical dynamical process, there are a lot of fluctuations.
Possible choice of the dynamical path.
◇ criticality or critical condition
The state of something where phase transition can occur. For example, water is in the critical condition of phase transiton at 0 and 100 degrees Celsius.
◇ phase transition
A sudden change of state of matter. For example, ice will suddenly change into liquid at 0 degrees.
◇ positive feedback
A dynamical process to amplify the formation of a specific pattern. At a bifurcation, there are a lot of fluctuations. One fluctuation can be selected by chance. It could be amplified and strengthened and enhanced. The concept of positive feedback is a hallmark of non-linear dynamics beside the idea of chaos. Without this process, the spontaneous pattern formation seems impossible.
◇ negative feedback
A dynamical process to protect and preserve the already established pattern. This concept relates to the self-preservation.
Chaos is a characteristic of a certain dynamics. The chaotic dynamics reacts to the fluctuations very sensitively and easy to change its expected path.
◇ The Edge of Chaos
The area between chaos and equilibrium. Here, the dynamics is partly chaotic, and partly stable. If the dynamics is completely stable, the it will cease to be dynamical. The edge of chaos is the place for the complex dynamical systems such as life. Because, life must be stable on one hand, but it must be unstable on the other hand in order to evolve.
◇ The Chaotic Itinerancy
It is the dynamical process stated in the Thesis of Morphogenesis.
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1. Complexity Science (Non Linear Dynamics)
Camazine, Scott, Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Nigel Franks, James Sneyd, Guy Theraulaz, Eric Bonabeau 2001 Self-Organization in Biological Systems , Princeton, Princeton University Press
*Kaneko, Kunihiko 2006 Life: An Introduction to Complex Systems Biology, Berlin, Springer
Kauffman, Stuart 1993 The Origin of Order, Oxford University Press
*------ 1995 At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, Penguin Books
------ 2000 Investigations, Oxford University Press
A book or an article with * is ones closely related with this course.
Nicolis, Grégoire and Ilya Prigogine 1989 Exploring Complexity, New York, W.H.Freeman and Company
*Prigogine, Ilya 1980 From Being to Becoming Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences, San Francisco, W.H.Freeman and Company
------ 1997 The End of Certainty , Free Press
Waldrop, M. M. 1992 Complexity: The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos, New York, Simon & Schuster.
2. Complexity Theory in Sociology
Bogg, Jan and Robert Geyer eds. 2007 Complexity, Science and Society, Oxford and New York, Radcliffe Publishing
*Buckley, Walter 1967 Sociology and Modern Systems Theory, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs
------ 1998 Society ― A Complex Adaptive System Essays in Social Theory, Gordon and Breach Publishers
Byrne, David 1998 Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences An Introduction, London, Routledge
Byrne, David and Gill Callaghan 2014 Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences --- The State of the Art, London, Reutledge
Castellani, Brian and Frederic William Hafferty 2009 Sociology and Complexity Science A New Field of Inquiry, Berlin and Heidelberg, Springer Verlag
Chesters, Graeme and Ian Welsh 2006 Complexity and Social Movements --- Multitudes at the Edge of Chaos, London, Routledge
Cilliers, Paul 1998 Complexity and Postmodernism Understanding Complex Systems, London, Routledge
Cilliers, Paul and Rika Preiserr eds. 2010 Complexity, Difference and Identity: An Ethical Perspective, Springer
DeLanda, Manuel 2002 Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy, London and New York, Bloomsbury
------ 2006 A New Philosophy of Society Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity, London and New York, Bloomsbury
Eve R.A., S.Horsfall and Mary Lee eds. 1997 Chaos, Complexity and Sociology, Sage Publications
*The Gulbenkian Commission 1996 Open the Social Sciences Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences, Stanford, Stanford University Press
*Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri 2004 Multitude War and Democracy in the Age of Empire, Penguin Books
Jenks, Chris and John Smith 2006 Qualitative Complexity Ecology, Cognitive Processes and the Re-emergence of Structures in Post-humanist Social Theory, Routledge
Law, John and Annemarie Moll (eds.) 2002 Complexities --- Social Studies of Knowledge and Practices, Durham and London, Duke University Press
Massumi, Brian 2002 Parables for the Virtual --- Movement, Affect, Sensation, Durham and London, Duke University Press
Sakurai, Hiroshi, forthcoming, A Theory of the Social Order
Japanese edition of this book is 『社会秩序の理論』 新曜社
Sawyer, R. Keith 2005 Social Emergence Societies As Complex Systems, New York, Cambridge University Press
*Taylor, Mark 2001 The Moment of Complexity --- Emerging Network Culture, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press
*Urry, John 2003 Global Complexity, Cambridge, Polity Press
------ 2005 ‘The Complexity Turn’ Theory, Culture and Society, vol.22(5):1-14
------ 2005 ‘The Complexity of the Global’, Theory, Culture and Society, vol.22(5) 235-254
3. Organization and Management
Allen, P., Maguire, S., and McKelvey, B. (eds) (2011) The Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management, London: Sage.
Armstrong, Elizabeth A. 2002 Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco,1950-1994, Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press
------ 2005 “From Struggle to Settlement: The Crystallization of a Field of Lesbian/Gay Organizations in San Francisco 1969-1973”, in Gerald F. Davis, et al (eds.) 2005 Social Movements and Organization Theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
McAdam, Doug, Sidney Tarrow and Charles Tilly 2001 Dynamics of Contension, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
Stacey, R.D. (2007) Strategic Management and Organizational Dynamics: The Challenge of Complexity, Harlow: Pearson Education.
Stacey, R.D. (2010) Complexity and Organizational Reality, London: Routledge
Mitleton-Kelly, E. (2003) (ed.) Complex Systems and Evolutionary Perspectives on Organizations, Oxford: Elsevier Science
4. Field Theory in Sociology
*Bourdieu, Pierre and Loic J.D.Wacquant 1992 An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press
*Fligstein, Neil and Doug McAdam 2012 A Theory of Fields, Oxford University Press, Oxford
*Ikegami, Yoshihiko (ed.) 1991 The Empire of Signs: Semiotic Essays on Japanese Culture, Amsterdam, J. Benjamins Pub. Co.
5. Postmodernism and Constructivism
Gergen, J. Kenneth 1994 Realities and Relationships Soundings in Social Construction, Cambridge and London, Harvard University Press
*Gergen, J. Kenneth 1999 An Invitation to Social Construction, London, Sage Publications Ltd
Gergen, J. Kenneth and Sheila McNamee 1999 Relational Responsibility Resources for Sustainable Dialogue, Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications Inc.
6. Relational Sociology
Abbott, Andrew 2016 Processual Sociology, The University of Chicago Press
Crossley, Nick 2002 Making Sense of Social Movements, Buckingham and Philadelphia, Open University Press
*------ 2011 Towards Relational Sociology, London, Routledge
Elias, Norbert 1970 Was ist Soziologie?, Norbert Elias Gesammelte Schriften, Band 5, 2006, Suhrkamp
*------ 2000 The Civilizing Process Sociogenetic and Psychogenetic Investigations, Translated by Edmund Jephcott, Revised edition, Malden, Blackwell Publishing
------ 2001 Die Gesellschaft der Individuen, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft 974, Suhrkamp
*Emirbayer, Mustafa 1997 “Manifesto for a Relational Sociology” American Journal of Sociology, Vol.103, No.2
Emirbayer, Mustafa and Ann Mische 1998 “What is Agency?” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 103, No. 4 (Jan., 1998), pp. 962-1023
*Powell, Christopher and François Dépelteau (eds.) 2013 Conceptualizing Relational Sociology ― Ontological and Theoretical Issues, New York, Palgrave Macmillan
*Dépelteau, François and Christopher Powell (eds.) 2013 Applying Relational Sociology ― Relations, Networks, and Society, New York, Palgrave Macmillan