Postmodernity. Second modernity. Network Society. Late modernity. Liquid modernity. Such concepts have dominated social thought in recent decades, with a bewildering array of claims about social change and its implications. But what do we mean by ‘social change’? How do we establish that such change is taking place? What does it mean to say that it is intensifying? These are some of the questions which the Social Morphogenesis project has sought to answer in the last five years, through an inquiry orientated around the speculative notion of ‘morphogenic society’.
In this launch event, contributors to the project discuss their work over the last five years and the questions it gas addressed concerning social change. The day begins with an introductory lecture by the convenor of the project, Margaret S. Archer, before a series of thematic panels presenting different stands of the project. It concludes with a closing session in which participants share three issues the project raised for them, as well as a general discussion.
At the end of the day, there will be a wine reception to which all participants are invited. There will also be an opportunity to purchase discounted copies of the books from Springer.
Book here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/social-morphogenesis-five-years-of-inquiring-into-social-change-tickets-33813890256
Margaret S. Archer
Andrea M. Maccarini
Graham Scambler (Chair)
More speakers to be confirmed.
The Social Morphogenesis project was funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation through six years of support for the Centre for Social Ontology. This support was generously extended to enable this book launch.
This book, the last volume in the Social Morphogenesis series, examines whether or not a Morphogenic society can foster new modes of human relations that could exercise a form of ‘relational steering’, protecting and promoting a nuanced version of the good life for all. It analyses the way in which the intensification of morphogenesis and the diminishing of morphostasis impact upon human flourishing. The book links intensified morphogenesis to promoting human flourishing based on the assumption that new opportunities open up novel experiences, skills, and modes of communication that appeal to talents previously lacking any outlet or recognition. It proposes that equality of opportunity would increase as ascribed characteristics diminished in importance, and it could be maintained as the notion of achievement continued to diversify. Digitalization has opened the cultural ‘archive’ for more to explore and, as it expands exponentially, so do new complementary compatibilities whose development foster yet further opportunities. If more people can do more of what they do best, these represent stepping stones towards the ‘good life’ for more of them.
Table of contents
Introduction: Has a Morphogenic Society Arrived? – Margaret Archer
Human Flourishing and Human Morphogenesis: A Critical Realist Interpretation and Critique – Philip S. Gorski
Some Reservations About Flourishing – Douglas Porpora
Reflexivity in a Just Morphogenic Society: A Sociological Contribution to Political Philosophy – Ismael Al-Amoudi
The Morphogenic Society as Source and Challenge for Human Fulfillment
Does Intensive Morphogenesis Foster Human Capacities or Liabilities? – Margaret Archer
What Does a ‘Good Life’ Mean in a Morphogenic Society? The Viewpoint of Relational Sociology
Flourishing or Fragmenting Amidst Variety: And the Digitalization of the Archive – Mark Carrigan
Corporations, Taxation and Responsibility: Practical and Onto-Analytical Issues for Morphogensis and Eudaimonia – A posse ad esse? – Jamie Morgan and William Sun
Networks and Commons: Bureaucracy, Collegiality and Organizational Morphogenesis in the Struggles to Shape Collective Responsibility in New Sharing Institutions – Emmanuel Lazega
Eudaimonic Bubbles, Social Change and the NHS – Tony Lawson
The Will to Be: Human Flourishing and the Good International Society – Colin Wight
Creating Common Good: The Global Sustainable Information Society as the Good Society – Wolfgang Hofkirchner
All are welcome to this special celebration of Critical Realism (CR) and the works of its originator, Professor Roy Bhaskar. The event will see the launch of new books on the subject and an introduction to a new member of the UCL community. Chairing the proceedings will be Hilary Wainwright, the sociologist, political activist and socialist feminist, best known for being editor of Red Pepper magazine.
The afternoon will begin with a welcome to Professor Margaret Archer, who is joining UCL, by Professor David Voas, Head of the Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education and Professor Priscilla Alderson, UCL Institute of Education.
Registration and more details: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/celebration-of-critical-realism-at-ucl-tickets-31540549633
The sixth annual Centre for Social Ontology workshop took place from the 3rd to 6th January 2017 in central London. The papers will be published as the first in a new volume of books, with full details to be confirmed soon.
Maggie Archer: Bodies, Persons and Transhumans: Why do these Distinctions Matter?
Doug Porpora: Vulcans, Klingdoms, and Humans: What does Humanism Encompass?
Phil Gorski: The Meta-ethics of Transhumanism. Does the ethics of human flourishing provide sufficient leverage to critique radical Transhumanism?
John Latsis: Needs, Wants and the ethics of human enhancement
Pierpaolo Donati: Transcending the Human: Why, Where and How?
Emmanuel Lazega: Transhumanist Interventions: A formula for a divided social order?
Mark Carrigan: The Evisceration of the Human in the Digital Social Sciences
Colin Wight: Death, Dreams and Destruction: the illusions of Posthumanist Warfare.
Jamie Morgan: A.I. and the failure adequately to define the Human
Ismael Al-Amoudi: Dehumanisation and organisation studies
Wolfgang Hofkirchner: Imagined Futures gone astray; An ontological analysis
Professor Margaret Archer is a leading critical realist and major contemporary social theorist. This edited collection seeks to celebrate the scope and accomplishments of her work, distilling her theoretical and empirical contributions into four sections which capture the essence and trajectory of her research over almost four decades. Long fascinated with the problem of structure and agency, Archer’s work has constituted a decade-long engagement with this perennial issue of social thought. However, in spite of the deep interconnections that unify her body of work, it is rarely treated as a coherent whole. This is doubtless in part due to the unforgiving rigour of her arguments and prose, but also a byproduct of sociology’s ongoing compartmentalisation.
This edited collection seeks to address this relative neglect by collating a selection of papers, spanning Archer’s career, which collectively elucidate both the development of her thought and the value that can be found in it as a systematic whole. This book illustrates the empirical origins of her social ontology in her early work on the sociology of education, as well as foregrounding the diverse range of influences that have conditioned her intellectual trajectory: the systems theory of Walter Buckley, the neo-Weberian analysis of Lockwood, the critical realist philosophy of Roy Bhaskar and, more recently, her engagement with American pragmatism and the Italian school of relational sociology. What emerges is a series of important contributions to our understanding of the relationship between structure, culture and agency. Acting to introduce and guide readers through these contributions, this book carries the potential to inform exciting and innovative sociological research.
Find out more on the publisher’s website: https://www.routledge.com/Structure-Culture-and-Agency-Selected-Papers-of-Margaret-Archer/Brock-Carrigan-Scambler/p/book/9781138932944