Social Ecology and Evolutionism
Taught at the University of Chicago in 1994
Goals: This course is an introduction to the ecological and evolutionary concepts which have influenced the social sciences. After introducing these concepts, the course will first discuss the different units of selection in the social order. Sociobiological theories will be compared to those which posit that selection takes place at the level of software, e.g. norms and ideas.
We will next explore the writings of classic University of Chicago sociologists who attempted to interpret the life-cycles of cities and local economies with ecological tools. We will thenturn to the modern organizational sociologists who explain the growth and decline of organizational populations.
In the second half of the course we will explore the notion of "society as body," starting with the ideological uses of this concept. Then we will explore the ideas of anthropological and sociological evolutionists and functionalists, such Herbert Spencer and Talcott Parsons, and the underlying functionalist assumptions of Marxism. In the last week we will examine the notion that the world is an integrated system, governed by its own organic laws, and how this idea has struck a chord with modern political movements.
Requirements: A mid-term 5 page paper, and a final 10-15 page paper.
Texts at Seminary Coop (under Hughes)
Kaufman, Howard. 1985. Time, Chance and Organizations: Natural Selection in a Perilous Environment. Chatham House.
Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1993. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Simon and Schuster.
Schelling, Thomas. 1978. Micromotives and Macrobehaviors. Norton.
Kelly, Kevin. 1994. Out of Control: The Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World. http://www.newciv.org/worldtrans/outcontrol.html
Nitecki, Mathew and Doris Nitecki, eds. 1993. Evolutionary Ethics. SUNY Press.
Introduction to Social Ecology Concepts
Hardware and Software
Organizational Ecology and Evolution
Social Organicism and Early Sociological Evolutionism
Feb. 10: Mid-Term Paper Due
Modern Social Ecology
March 10: Final Paper
Topics to be discussed: teleology, units of selection, feedback, hypercycles, autopoesis, boundary specification, hierarchies of control, punctuated equilibria, determinism-probablilism, generalism-specialism.
Meadows, Donella. 1982. "Whole Earth Models and Systems," CoEvolution Quarterly (Summer) : 98-108.
Laszlo, E. 1987. Evolution: The Grand Synthesis "Chapter 1: The Rise of the Evolutionary Paradigm," and "Chapter 2: Foundations of the Grand Synthesis" :9-49.
Seeley, T. 1989. "The Honey Bee Colony as a Superorganism." Am Scientist 77(Nov-Dec): 546-553.
Micklin, Michael. 1984 "The Ecological Perspective in the Social Sciences: A Comparative Overview," Sociological Human Ecology, eds. M. Micklin and H. Choldin. Westview Press.
Buss, Leo. "The Evolution of Hierarchical Organization," The Evolution of Individuality. Princeton University Press : 171-197.
Varela, Francesco. 1984. "Two principles for self-organization," in Self-Organization and the Management of Social Systems. editted by H. Ulrich and GJB Probst.
Dawkins, Richard. 1989. "Universal Parasitism and the Co-Evolution
of Extended Phenotypes." Whole Earth Rev 62(Spring):90-100.
Sanderson, Stephen. 1990. Social Evolutionism: A Critical History. Basil Blackwell. "Chapter 1: The Nature of Social Evolutionism" :1-9.
Gould, Stephen Jay. 1992. "The Confusion over Evolution," NY R of Books (Nov 19): 47-54.
Kelley, Kevin. 1992. "Deep Evolution: The Emergence of Post-Darwinism," Whole Earth Review (Fall) : 4- 20.
Weintraub, Pamela. 1992. "Natural Direction: Extraordinary new findings suggest that life forms may literally direct their own evolution," Omni (May) : 35-110.
Oliwenstein, Lori. 1993. "Onward and Upward," Discover (June): 22-23.
Arthur, W. Brian. 1993. "Why do things become more complex," Scientific American (May): 144.
Topics: sociobiology; why did consciousness evolve?; is consciousness a stochastic process?; units and processes of cognitive/cultural selection; cultural Lamarckianism and conscious adaption; conscious modification of the environment; the market as evolved order; the evolution of cooperation; "scientific revolutions," punctuated equilibria and post-structuralist anti-teleology.
The Ascent of Mind http://weber.u.washington.edu/~wcalvin/bk5ch4.html
Minsky, Marvin. "Society of Mind," Whole Earth Review (Summer) : 4- 10.
Bateson, Gregory. 1979. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity, "The Stochastic Processes," :99-142.
Holland, John H. 1992. "Complex Adaptive Systems," Daedalus (Spring) : 17-30.
Crook, John. 1980. The Evolution of Human Consciousness. Clarendon. "Chapter 2: On the Biological Function of Mind," 14-36; "Chapter 3: The Social Environment and Its Evolution," 37-59.
Sanderson, Stephen. 1990. Social Evolutionism: A Critical History. Basil Blackwell. "Chapter 8: Evolutionary Biology and Social Evolution" :169-208
Dawkins, Richard. 1976. "Memes: The New Replicators," The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press. : 203-215.
Grant, Glenn. "A Memetic Lexicon," boing-boing : 4- 7.
Axelrod, Robert and Douglas Dion. 1988. "The Further Evolution of Cooperation," Scientific American (Dec 9): 1385-1389.
Bass, Thomas. 1993. "Forgiveness Math," Discover (May) : 63-67.
Axelrod, Robert. 1986. "An Evolutionary Approach to Norms." APSR 80(4)
Toulmin, Stephen. 1976. "Ethics and `Social Functioning': The Organic Theory Reconsidered," Science, Ethics and Medicine, eds. H.T. Engelhardt and Daniel Callahan : 195-217.
Schelling, Thomas. 1978. Micromotives and Macrobehaviors. 11-133.
McKenzie, R. D. 1982. "The Scope of Human Ecology." Urban Patterns: Studies in Human Ecology. (rev. ed.), ed. George Theodorson. 30-36. Univ. Park: PA State Univ. Press.
Hawley, Amos. 1958. "Human Ecology." Internat. Encyclo. of the Social Sciences, 328-337.
McKenzie, Roderick. 1923. "The Ecological Approach to the Study of Human Community," American Journal of Sociology 30(3).
Hawley, Amos. 1944. "Ecology and Human Ecology," Social Forces 22(May): 398-405.
Wirth, Louis. 1945. "Human Ecology." Amer J Sociology May:483-488.
Park, Robert. 1936/1982. "Human Ecology." Urban Patterns: Studies in Human Ecology. ed. George Theodorson. 22-29. Univ. Park, PA: State Univ. Press.
Organizational Ecology Links
Simon, H.A. 1969 "The Architecture of Complexity," The Sciences of the Artificial. : 84- 118.
Aldrich, H and J Pfeffer. 1976. "The Environments of Organizations," Ann Rev Sociology.
Hannan, M. and J Freeman. 1977. "The Population Ecology of Organizations." AJS 82: 929-964.
Keeley, Michael. 1980. "Organizational Analogy: A Comparison of Organismic and Social Contract Models," ASQ (June) 337-362.
Varela, F, H.R. Maturana and R. Uribe. 1974. "Autopoiesis: The organization of living systems, its characterization and a model," Biosystems 5: 187-196.
DiMaggio, Paul//Powell, Walter. 1983. "The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields," ASR 48(April):147-160.
Bidwell, Charles and John Kasarda. 1988. "A Theoretical Overview: The Organization and Its Eco-System" Structuring in Organizatons. JAI Press. : 1-33.
Feb 3: Organizational Ecology III : Kaufman
Kaufman, H. 1985. Time, Chance and Organizations: Natural Selection in a Perilous Environment. Chatham House: 11-137.
Wilford, John. 1993. "Bubbles may have speeded life's origin's on earth," NYT June 6: B7-9.
Astley, W. Graham. 1985. "The Two Ecologies: Population and Community Perspectives on Organizational Evolution" Admin Sci Q :224-241.
Arthur, W. Brian. 1990. "Positive Feedbacks in the Economy," Scientific American (Feb) : 92-99.
Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1993. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Simon and Schuster. pp 1-51.
Topics: social organic imagery and political hegemony; the influence of Darwin; Spencer, Tylor, et al.; unilinear and teleological theories; Social Darwinism.
Spencer, Herbert. 1898. "The Nature of Society," The Principles of Sociology. NY: Appleton & Co. 5pp.
Figlio, K. 1976. "The Metaphor of Organization: an historiographical perspective on the bio-medical sciences of the early nineteenth century." History of Sci, 14:17-53.
Martin, Emily. 1990. "Toward an Anthropology of Immunology: The Body as Nation State," Medical Anthropology:410-426.
Toulmin, Stephen. 1981. "Evolution, Adaptation and Human Understanding," Scientific Inquiry and the Social Sciences, eds. Brewer and Collins.
Toulmin, Stephen. 1981. "Human Adaptation," The Philosophy of Evolution. eds. U.J. Jensen and R. Harre.
Pareto, Vilfredo. 1935. "On the Equilibrium of the Social System," The Mind and Society, ed. by Arthur Livingston. NY: Harcourt Brace : 1288-1292.
McIver, Robert. 1937. "The Reality of Social Evolution," Society. NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston : 1364-1371.
Sorokin, Pitirim. 1957. "The Principle of Immanent Change," Social and Cultural Dynamics. Boston: Porter Sargent : 639-646.
Lenski, G. 1975. "History and Social Change." Amer J Sociology 82(3):548-564.
Topics: Marxist functionalism; unilinearity in Marxist historical models; punctuated equilibria theory and Gramsci.
Marxism and Complexity
Stinchcombe, Arthur. 1968. Constructing Social Theories.. "Functional Causal Imagery," 10pp.
Dickens, Peter. 1992. "Chapter 2: People, Nature and Social Theory," Society and Nature: Towards a Green Social Theory. Temple University Press: 18-59.
Pittenger, Mark. 1993. American Socialists and Evolutionary Thought 1870-1920. U. of Wisconsin Press : 1-42, 64-88.
Schubert, Glendon. 1989. "Catastrophe Theory, Evolutionary Extinction and Revolutionary Politics," The Dynamics of Evolution. Cornell Univerity Press : 248-281.
Hawley, Amos. 1984. "Human Ecological and Marxian Theories," AJS 89(4): 904-917
Gans, C. 1987. "Punctuated Equilibria and Political Science: A Neontological View." Politics and the Life Sciences 5(2):220-244.
Sanderson, Stephen. 1990. Social Evolutionism: A Critical History. Basil Blackwell. "Chapter 4: Marxism as Evolutionism" :50-74.
Bock, Kenneth E. 1963. "Evolution, Function and Change," ASR (April): 229-237.
Haines, Valerie A. 1987. "Biology and Social Theory: Parsons's Evolutionary Theme," Sociology (21)1: 19-39.
Merton, Robert. 1957. "Manifest and Latent Functions," Social Theory and Social Structure. Free Press: 19-84.
Luhmann, Niklas. 1986. "The autopoiesis of social systems," Sociocybernetic Paradoxes, eds. F. Geyer and J. van der Zouwen. London: Sage: 172-192.
Sanderson, Stephen. 1990. Social Evolutionism: A Critical History. Basil Blackwell. "Chapter 5: Evolutionary Revival" :75-102; "Chapter 6: Sociological Neo-Evolutionism" :103-130.
Bloomfield, Brian. 1986. Modelling the World. Basil Blackwell. Chapters 1-3: pp. 1-58
Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1993. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Simon and Schuster: 52 - 136.
Bailey, Kenneth. 1982. "Post-Functional Social Systems Analysis," Sociological Quarterly 23(Aut): 509-526.
Lilienfeld, Robert. 1975. "Systems Theory as an Ideology," Social Research, 42(4):637-660.
Saviotti, P.P. 1966. "Systems Theory and Technological Change," Futures (Dec): 773-786.
Richardson, George. 1991. "Chapter 3: Two Feedback Threads," Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory. University of Pennsylvania Press: 92- 168.
Nolan, P. 1984. "External Selection and Adaptive Change: Alternative Models of Sociocultural Evolution." Sociological Theory :117-139.
Sterman, John D. 1985. "An Integrated Theory of the Economic Long Wave," Futures (April) : 104-131.
Boulding, Kenneth. 1989. "Punctuationism in Societal Evolution," The Dynamics of Evolution. Cornell Univerity Press : 171-186.
Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1993. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Simon and Schuster: 136 - 198.
Dickens, Peter. 1992. "Arguments within Biology," Society and Nature: Towards a Green Social Theory. Temple University Press: 91-123.
Sanderson, Stephen. 1990. Social Evolutionism: A Critical History. Basil Blackwell. "Chapter 7: Anthropological Neo-Evolutionism since 1960" :131-168
Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1993. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Simon and Schuster: 198 - 275.
Laszlo, Ervin. 1987. Evolution: The Grand Synthesis "Dynamics of Social Evolution" :87-109.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1969. "The Rise and Future Demise of the World Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis." Ann Rev Soc :387-415.
Stock, Gregory. 1993. Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism. Simon and Schuster : 1-91
Bloomfield, Brian 1986 Modelling the World. Basil Blackwell. "Chapter 9: Simulations of Doom" :167-194
Topics: the current appeal of normative social ecology theories, the postmodern crisis in ethical legitimation, and the ecology movement.
Social Ecology as Green Anarchism
Gaia Hypothesis and Gaians
Apocalyptics and the Singularity
Anderson, Walter Truett. 1987. "Creating a BioPolitical Culture," To Govern Evolution. Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich : 275-307.
John McClellan "Non-Dual Ecology" Tricycle
Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1993. Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. Simon and Schuster: 198 - End.
Vinge, Vernor. 1993. "Technological Singularity," Whole Earth Review, Winter. pp: 88-95.
Bookchin, Murray. 1981. "The Concept of Social Ecology," CoEvolution Quarterly. (Winter): 14-22.
Bookchin, Murray. 1987. "Deep Ecology vs. Social Ecology."
Bosveld, Jane. 1991. "Life According to Gaia," Omni.
Sanderson, Stephen. 1990. Social Evolutionism: A Critical History. Basil Blackwell. "Chapter 9: Contemporary Anti-Evolutionism" :209-222; "Chapter 10: Comprehensive Theory" :223-228