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Dator's Theory of Social Change

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john sweeney

on 4 March 2015

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Transcript of Dator's Theory of Social Change

what shapes society?
(the personal and
interpersonal world
we live in)
what causes society to change?

what resists or avoids social change?
SOCIETY
DOES NOT EXIST
only individuals exist
there is no objective reality
EXISTS
DOES NOT CHANGE
CHANGES
NORMAL
ABNORMAL
(Libertarian argument)
CAUSE OF CHANGE IS
INDETERMINABLE
NO CAUSE
NOT KNOWABLE
NOT YET KNOWN
cause of change
is determinable
endogenous
exogenous
(solipsism)
single cause
multiple causes
empirically
determinable
spiritually/theoretically
determinable
HUMAN
ENVIRONMENTAL
EVOLUTIONARY
RANDOM
genetic environmental volitional
natural artificial
teleological non-teleological
religious perspective (example of Job)
from within
the system
from outside
the system
(the uncaused cause)
(quarks)
(versus mechanistic models)
Einstein as opposed to Newton
these theories place social change within broader modes of change (both exogenous and endogenous)
(Hegel)
(phobia of "progress" and related terms
no fundamental basis for value to judge
questions of good versus bad
relative climate stability
fueling societal growth
across the globe
climate and weather as a determinate
island thinking versus continental perspectives
CHARACTERISTIC DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN THEORIES OF SOCIAL CHANGE
as sensory beings, the built environment plays a significant role in social change
INTENDED
ACCIDENTAL
GREAT MAN ELITE LEADING GROUP MARGINALS MASS
questions of agency
broadly, whatever
the biological basis
of our behavior may be
"The Evolution and History and Mankind"
explains everything according to genetics
PATTERNS OF CHANGE
LINEAR
(hyperbolic, exponential, logistic)
CURVILINEAR
CYCLICAL
ENVELOPE
STEP
DIALECTIC
STOCHASTIC
RANDOM
Hegel and Carlyle
MArx's proletariat
outsiders, black market, misfits
people outside of the power structure
(Hawaiian missionaries)
"Tribes on the Hill"
American Empire
SCALE OF CHANGE
individual communal societal cultural global extraterrestrial
HIERARCHY OF CHANGE: MOvement Change Development
LOcus of Change
1. endogenous change
2. exogenously-imposed change
3. exogenously-sought change
dynamic equilibrium
biological growth
"social DNA"
disease, evolution, revolution, invasion
operant conditioning, education
feedback, information, learning
Illustration of change IN the system vs. change OF the system

a. stagnant pond
b. flowing stream with standing-wave pattern
c. I step in the stream and change the wave-pattern
d. I dam the stream and permanently alter the flow of wave-pattern
e. I heat the stream and change water into steam and sand into glass
SO, WHAT IS CHANGE? DATOR SAYS BETWEEN "B" and "C"
Thus, even a waterfall doesn't "change" according to this
understanding because the speed of change is not the
most important factor; the stability of the system - the
alterations of patterns of or within the system - is the point
Also, there is the question of scale:
the "stagnant pond"
DAtor's Theory
of social change

Biology
Environment
Culture
Technology
Human actions

when any of these change,
your behavior changes,
so your beliefs and values change

there are no fundamental beliefs and values that
shape our behavior
TECHNOLOGY IS THE MAJOR AGENT OF CHANGE IN OUR WORLD
the diffusion of current tech and the creation
and diffusion of new tech changes
behaviors which changes beliefs
"we shape our tools and
thereafter our tools shape us"
-Marshal McLuhan

WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY?
"HOW HUMANS DO THINGS"
not just tools but also techniques
3 views of the
relationship between
tech and society

MERE TECHNOLOGY - just makes life easier
"guns don't kill people, people kill people"
DEMONIC TECHNOLOGY - fall from the garden of eden
every new technology gets us further away
"convivial" tools vs. "appropriate tech" vs. "tech on a human scale"
TRANSFORMING TECHNOLOGY
permits new behaviorencourages new thoughtschanges what it means to be "human"
technology is not neutral
3 components of technology
hardware - technique and tools in use
software - rules for using them
orgware - people and institutions which support the above
each hardware has its own established software and its own privileged orgware
new tech changes behavior and thus values and beliefs
hence, new tech causes social disarray and change
3 kinds of technology
1. physical - an actual tool
2. biological - the way humans do things
3. social - families, institutions
breathing, eating, sweating, defecating, reaching, walking, touching, kissing, sexual intercourse,
each physical technology is an
extension of a biological one?
schools, religion, (mothers are an invention of necessity)
in most hunter/gatherer and agricultural
societies, the mother did not raise the child
we have re-invented what it
means to be a mother as society
has developed over time
(agro vs. nuclear)
currently, physical tech are replacing
social and biological tech, creating social conflict
as such, social change is done by "conservatives," a.k.a. engineers, advertisers, bankers, salespersons (film directors?)
LIFECYCLE OF TECHNOLOGY
INVENTION
DEVELOPMENT
DIFFUSION
REPLACEMENT
most are invented by "fooling around" or accident
since WWII, advent of R&D as "conscious invention"
Research universities and centers
military - question of ownership/funding/national interest
commercial - privatization/secretive/power/economics
prestige - "want to be cited somewhere in a footnote"
shareware - creatve commons/anarchist thread
introduction
maturity
saturation
obsolescence
early-adopters - initial stages of tech are
always inferior to what comes next
technology's "functions"
MANIFEST (OBVIOUS)
LATENT (HIDDEN)
often more important and more
socially meaningful
example of car and teenage boys (prestige)
always a difference between
CATEGORIES vs LEVELS OF TECH
(main impact occurs at levels)
new computer emerges - pc's spread - networked computers take it to another level
TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER
movement from one
sector to another - some
tech are "dual use" (from
military to civilian) or from
developed to developing
countries
problems occur with "dual use" tech - difficulties with space
companies to sell tech to other nations - us government
decided that entire "categories" of tech could not be sold to
other countries/nations due to national security
body language!!!
tech development causes crime
example of "apology"
from POHNPEI
TECH TRANSFER always
occurs in a specific
CULTURAL CONTEXT -
MORE THAN TOOLS
TECH ASSESSMENT CAN STOP THIS, BUT IT IS
DIFFICULT TO DO, BOTH POLITICALLY AND
THEORETICALLY (REQUIRES THEORY OF SOCIAL
CHANGE AND OPEN POLITICAL CLIMATE)
YOU DON'T KNOW YOU NEED A TECH UNTIL IT EXISTS
cannot understand why you "need" a tech
until you use it - hard to "imagine" but it is
too late once you have it
HUMANS HAVE NEVER
BEEN WITHOUT
TECHNOLOGIES

indigenous peoples were are dependent on their tech as we are
NO TECH IS BENIGN
NATURAL VS. ARTIFICIAL
b. Qualitative evaluations
incasting methods
a. deductive forecasting (from the 4 futures)
commissions; public (or expert) opinion polls; AD groups; brainstorm Delbecq; De Bono's colored hats (white, green, blue, yellow, red, black); Delphi and cross-impact; futures wheels (Burke's Connections).
c. games/models/simulations
mental/verbal, written, mathematical
Structure (Unit [variables] and boundaries); levels (physical quantities); rates (use of those questions); flows (from what to what unites); auxiliary variables; time delays.
anticipatory democracy (first in Toffler's "future shock" and developed further in "The Third Wave" - more theoretically grounded - arguments based on preceeding waves of change - more direct and participatory democracy in response to "representative" democracy - on the road to direct democracy

Hawaii 2000 project (40 years ago) - "Hawaii 2000" published about citizen-based futures activity - endorsed by various stakeholders, utilized various methods - junior advertising league produced ads for buses and TV - socio-economic and ethno-cultural balance - Pacific Asian Affairs Council involved in schools and representatives from all islands met on campus - 3 recommendations: 1) free milk 2) legalize marijuana 3) cede from Hawaii - futurists from around the world observed and wrote individual reports with commentary - two exceptions 1) arthur c. clarke just co-produced 2001: A space odyssey 2) Alvin Toffler came by video - praised for being the first AD Group in the world - people wanted to look ahead at that time as Hawaii had become a state, "overthrow" was fully complete, became the most progressive state in the US but also gave immense power to the governor

two times that organizations want to look at the future: 1) times are really good 2) times are really bad

failings: not just enough to get everyone together, policy had to be produced, must ask "what's next?" - legislature created a commission that would take bills proposed in the leg and ask the commission to assess the future impact of the bill in question (met until the 74 oil crisis...killed the futures...tourism became the sole focus) - first research assistant at HRCFS was governor-appointed and was not interested in futures studies

Hawaii 2000 was imitated all over the world - person from malaysia saw the book and convinced the government to have a Malaysia 2001 conference - "we don't all have to be Herman-beings."
brainstorming method that uses
writing instead of speaking - utilized
widely in Hawaii where people do not
want to speak-up - used extensively
with judiciary: "parking as the main issue"
people think differently - space must exist for people to
feel like their ideas are being respected and heard - assign
colored hats that people have to wear: 1) white hat - in the
brainstorming mode - no criticism, only come up with new ideas
2) green hat - what do you need to make the idea grow, what
additional information is needed 3) blue hat - quantitative, hard
mathematical stuff 4) yellow - emotion 5) red - how does it make
you feel? does it motivate you? 6) black hat - negative aspects

each category must be considered without contaminating the
others - De Bono is known for his studies of creativity - learning
to be creative - "an expert is a person that digs the same hole
deeper"
probably the most widespread futures method
in use today - panel of experts - developed by
the people at the RAND corporation (air force
research group - right-wing american futures group) -
powerful and iconic think-tank - originally run by
engineers who were asked to deal with social issues
- technique invented to be as quantitative as possible with
qualitative data - to do a delphi, you idenitfy a problem (such
as: when will a cure for melanoma be developed? when will
world war 3 break out?) - pharmaceutical companies used this
frequently to find R&D investments - an expert/leader/well-known
figure can "contaminate" the results - thus, delphi is not done
on a face-to-face basis, even though one knows who are
on the panel to boost confidence in the group, but this allows
one not to know who said what - one receives a range of
answers - work through several rounds and work towards
consensus that will be used to develop policy
most widely researched and used method
if this happens, how does is impact that -
develop matrices - one must have a model
of how the world works - cannot be too
divergent from one iteration to the next -
mentally tiring exercise
can be used with all ages and types of people
start with a single point (A) - and then map out the
consequences (B, C, D) - it is a way of seeing the
potential and possible consequences - then one
can develop first-order and second-order consequences
- really good way to develop components of a scenario
TV show by Jim Burke in the 1980's called "CONNECTIONS" -
start with a past event that leads to something unexpected
"there is reality out there" - how do i come to understand it and
interact with it? i have to make a model of some form of this
"reality" through a "medium" or means to envision, but these
"models" and "mediums" are limited (as are all) - the primary
and formal way in which things are modeled is through words,
and initially this is done orally (babies acquiring language - babbles
are interpreted by surrounding people - the human mouth and other
communicative organs and processes have a wide array of sounds
called phomenes - each language takes only a tiny slice of those
sounds - children are assimiliated to say certain sounds and not to
say others - with language one has a model of the world - in japanese,
ao is used for both blue and green, the same is true in Hawaiian -

writing is totally different from speech - not just speech on paper - it has
a vastly different medium - definitely informed by speech, but much more
structured and thus, can be analyzed infinitely - once you have something
written you can think logically (rationalist, linear logic)
mathematics invented in order to be precise, but
it is a totally artifical language, but don't tell that to
the mathematicians - value in mathematical modeling
as it helps one think more carefully than one can in
writing and speech - natural sciences believe that by
reducing things to phenomenon -
the first grammar was written for queen isabella
used to teach spanish to native american populations,
so the first grammar was an instrument of oppression
Limits to Growth: population, resources, production, land, pollution
experiential
visual
AV
tactile, olofactory, etc
D. scenarios - using timelines; looking backward; choices and consequences
tower building exercise - two teams, each is given
a bag of building materials - evaluated on the basis
of height, strength, and beauty - one token in each bag
with which one can buy a better bag - with two tokens
one can buy a gun - shows how alliances form and how
groups form - highly emotional endeavor
movement beyond text as the primary means
of communication - "HOW TV DESTROYED LITERACY"
- courses on "visual literacy" - students to write
their dissertations using video - WANG and APPLE set
back visual literacy 50 years
E. EMERGING ISSUES ANALYSIS
G
R
O
W
T
H
TIME
emergence
trend
problem/opportunity
death
3D modeling of political systems
1) everything that exists now at one
time did not exist

2) everything that now exists grew along
an s-curve - from something unseen, to
seen by a few, to seen by many, and back
to invisibility
wildcard implies that there is a normal future and as such, there is a most
likely future, so the use of the term does not jive with the alternative
scenarios methodology
WHY NOT WILDCARDS?
GRAHAM MOLITOR - founder of EIA
(see diagrams)
what are the equivalent sources?
process of finding EI is known as
SCANNING
many ways to read:
1) text book for a text
2) novel for enjoyment
3) many books for research
4) scanning for emerging issues
(few people are good at all four)
putting your mind in neutral - looking for loose connections and patterns - reading news in other languages - reading academic journals -
the internet has fundamentally changed this
process (blogs, social media, etc) - academic
conferences are excellent events for scanning
make a statement
bring in evidence of the EI
present a timeline of its development in an s-curve
Full transcript