It is with great sadness that we share news of the death of Prof. Margaret Archer, who passed away on 21st May 2023.
Prof. Margaret Archer founded the Centre for Social Ontology in 2011 at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland). She led the Centre as its Director until 2017 and then as its General Editor. For many members of the CSO, Maggie was a cherished friend in addition to being a colleague of outstanding talent, dedication and integrity.
Margaret Archer’s contributions to social theory are too vast, numerous and subtle to be adequately summarized on a single webpage. Over the coming months, members of the CSO will gather reflections on how she made a difference to the study of people, cultures and societies.
The 2023 Annual Conference of the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR) will take place from the 9th to the 11th of August 2023 (+ pre-conference on the 7th and the 8th of August 2023). It will be hosted by the Gokongwei Brothers School of Education and Learning Design (GBSEALD) of the Ateneo de Manila University. All details of the event – including themes, call for papers, plenary speakers, submission timeline and transportation & accommodation information – can be found on the conference website here.
“Dr Maccarini explains: “The idea is that such an approach can help keep together chance, structural forces, human plans and agency in one model. The approach is focussed on the points where structure, culture, agency, and chance interact to generate, establish or reject social novelties.”” (Maccarini, cited by Research Features).
We are happy to highlight this article, in which Ismael Al-Amoudi mobilises a number of chapters published by CSO members within the latest book series ‘Post-human society and the future of humanity’, so to explore dehumanizing potentials of post-human technologies.
“I cannot state how much my thinking has benefitted from discussing and reading the works of other CSO writers while I was treading my own little path through the wonders of post-human society. This intellectual journey has allowed me to investigate the following question: post-human technologies offer great hopes and great perils to human beings, but in what sense are post-human technologies dehumanizing?” (Al-Amoudi, 2022, p. 521).
On that note, the CSO wishes all a fully human Christmastime!
The review appears in the journal Postdigital Science and Education and can be accessed here.
“Post-Human Futures: Human Enhancement, Artificial Intelligence and Social Theory (Carrigan and Porpora 2021) distinguishes between the epistemological and the ontological realms and establishes a new humanism that will be meaningful to praxis.” (Ulutaş, 2022).
Image: ‘Humani Victus Instrumenta: Ars Coquinaria’ (Unknown Italian master, 1569), Public Domain.
The review appears in the journal Organization and can be accessed here.
“What comes across most clearly is that we cannot avoid issues of how we characterise the human, the nature of personhood, intelligence and the components of flourishing, and how we should value them vis-a-vis other species or intelligent machines” (Sayer, 2022).
The CSO is glad to share this essay article. It creatively reviews Jacques Ellul’s book The Technological Society to develop theories at the intersection of ‘technique’, ethics, organisations, institutions, and ontology.
The 2022 Annual Conference of the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR) will take place from the 10th to the 12th of August 2022 (+ pre-conference on the 8th and the 9th of August 2022). It will be hosted by the International Institute of Social Sciences (ISS) in the Hague (Netherlands) part of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Details of the event, including themes this year centred around ‘Realist Complexity, between Causal and Complex Systems’ can be found on the conference website here.
The ninth annual Centre for Social Ontology workshop will take place at Grenoble Ecole de Management from January 11th to January 14th, 2022. It will culminate in a roundtable with Prof. Margaret Archer and colleagues on the morning of Friday January 14th.
This roundtable is intended both as an intellectual exchange and as a celebration of the recent quadrilogy The Future of the Human.
Until the most recent decades, natural and social science could regard the ‘human being’ as their unproblematic point of reference, with monsters, clones and drones being acknowledged as fantasies dreamed up for the purposes of fiction or academic argument. In future, this common, taken for granted benchmark will be replaced by various amalgams of human biology supplemented by technology – a fact that has direct implications for democracy, social governance and human rights, owing to questions surrounding standards for social inclusion, participation and legal protection.
Considering the question of who or what counts as a human being and the challenges posed by anti-humanism, the implications for the global social order of the technological ability of some regions of the world to ‘enhance’ human biology, and the defence of humankind in the face of artificial intelligence, the books in this series examine the challenges posed to the universalism of humankind by various forms of anti-humanism, and seek to defend ‘human essentialism’ by accentuating the liabilities and capacities particular to human beings alone.
Those interested in attending are requested to RSVP before December 15th with Ismael Al-Amoudi: ismael[dot]al-amoudi[at]gmail.com.
Friday 14th January 2022, Grenoble Ecole de Management, room E341
09.30: Roundtable with Prof. Margaret Archer and colleagues from the Centre for Social Ontology
The 2021 Annual Conference of the International Association for Critical Realism (#IACR2021) will be held online this year. Hosted by Rhodes University and the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), it will take place via Zoom from the 20th to the 24th of September. Details of the event, including subthemes this year centred around the unifying theme of emancipation, can be found here.