The journal New Perspectives in Social Sciences (NPSS) aims to accompany researchers who wish to explore new venues in social sciences. Within this frame, innovative analyses may emerge which make it possible to overcome the obstacles faced by established models without sacrificing rigour. The Journal does not represent a departure from these models. It recognizes their significance. But because all power bears its weaknesses and can thus propel as well as cripple, foster as well as hinder new discoveries, this recognition is not sufficient to prohibit one from confronting, bypassing or breaking free of these models.
Understanding the limits of the established models in social sciences opens up many new pathways. The critique of utilitarianism is one of them; but there are many more. NPSS intends to promote these new channels – notably but not exclusively – through complex systems theory and relational analysis. The fecundity of complex systems modelling is recognized in numerous areas of scientific knowledge. It is now time for it to exist in a light which allows to override the hasty recusals and stigmatisations to which it so often falls victim in social sciences. On a micrological level, the relational approach is one of very few which suggest that human relations be studied outside of a phenomenological perspective, where all is explained by reference to personal intentions. On a macrological level, it is one way to understand social phenomena through a non-anthropocentric lens, where all that is social is centered on the actor.
This two-fold theoretical orientation is by no means exclusive. Because it is unlikely that unexplored territories which reveal themselves to the social observer not be the expression of plural approaches and objects of analysis, as a rule, all innovative and rigorous thought must be welcomed.
A complex systems theory and a relational approach both focus on the study of dynamics either between objects or between the ties binding the elements which make up a whole rather than on the study of objects themselves. Thus, for both, a specific phenomenon or particular object can never understood in and of itself, outside of the entity to which it belongs or the relationships tying it to other phenomena or objects. In this regard, they are both almost necessarily interdisciplinary, as reflect the works produced in the Systems Science European Union, the MCX European Program or the Santa Fe Institute. This epistemological stance reaches across a broad spectrum comprising cybernetics, communication analysis, and systems analysis and through fields such as biology, sociology, linguistics and political science. And so, any selection of its promoters could only be arbitrary.