Volume 11, Number 2, 2016

Claude Vautier

« Foreword to the Topic: Comlexity and Relation » (p. 15-21)

Claude Vautier

« Inaugural Conference to the Sudbury Colloquium
The Journal New Perspectives in Social Sciences and Contemporary Sociology. A Refounding Program » (p. 23-41)

Philippe Garraud

« Actors’ Game, Attributes and Dynamics of a “Complex Action System”: International Relationships in Europe and the Outbreak of the Second World War » (p. 43-80)

Abstract: The systemic perspective doesn’t lead to oppose a structural or systemic conception to a more strategic approach. But on the contrary to relate them closely showing the interactions, the constraints and the interdependences which condition the different political choices, confine and progressively close the fields of possibilities. Much more than actor’s intentions, these are the system’s properties which determine its logic, its global dynamic and its effects. In this way we will successively look after the strategies of different national actors (Germany, France, Great-Britain, USSR, Belgium) in the triggering of the World War II, and the properties of the system related to the interactions and interdependences of actor’s games. Finally, we will study the dynamic and effects of the system: the path of war.

Key-words: actors games, complex action system, properties and systemic effects, triggering of World War II, international relations

Marcienne Martin

« Systemic Thinking Analyzed in Terms of Entropy » (p. 81-104)

Abstract: The current of thought called “systemic thinking” is in relation to the complexity of the structures which underlie any organization. Indeed, this cognitive approach to the approach of world objects can be studied in multiple ways and thus generate different views of reality. Can systems thinking integrate entropy phenomena which participates in negative entropy as part of a scalar approach more global?

Key-words: systemic thinking, entropy, scalar approach, complexity

Lahcène Bouabdallah et Ali Hamaidia

« Case Study Approached from Two Frame of References: systemic and psychoanalytic analyses » p. 105-127)

Abstract: In the practice of clinical psychology, the systemic approach is worn only in a very narrow field: family therapy. While we can use in other fields of application of psychology, and this article is to prove it empirically, through the presentation of a clinical case discussed (studied and analyzed) by two different approaches represented by two different reference frames: the first is psychoanalytic, and the second based on the systemic approach, to lead to support this trend to take advantage of any approach in the interests in final of the patient: the integrative approach.

Key-words: case study, psychoanalytic therapy, systemic family therapy, integrative therapy, interactional aspect, relational aspect

Patrick Dieuaide

« Cognitive Work, Communication and Governance of Labour Relationships throuhg Regulations. Elements of Analysis for a “Political Economy of the Relation” » (p. 129-151)

Abstract: This article examines the prospects opened up by the research program developed as part of the journal New Perspectives in the Social Sciences around the theme of “sociology of the relationship”. Mutatis mutandis, it is proposed to reflect on some proposals that could help to identify the contours of what one might refer to a “political economy of the relationship”. To do this, it is particularly interested to the place and the role of communication in labour relations in enterprises. Two lines of thought are explored: a first track develops the idea of “cognitive labour” and stressed the diversity of the relational models by which communication makes it possible the gathering of individuals around a shared vision of the organization and work activity. This reflection leads to characterize communication as a productive activity of rules of use on the basis of an act collective. A second track examines the more general question of the place and the role of rules in the governance of corporate labour relations. The debates around the implicit and explicit dimensions and deviations between rules and its interpretation are recalled; similarly, the opposition between the public dimension rules in the heart of labour relations and the dimension private control and its application by the management. These reflections lead to propose a broader approach of communication considered an order relation vector in knowledge and learning mobilized in the work. The article briefly concludes the tensions raised by this form of communication between freedom of judgment and action and the constraints imposed on the organization and implementation of work activity levels.

Key-words: cognitive labour, communication, rules of use, coordination

Yves Jamont Jr Duplan

« Which Logic for Complexity? » (p. 153-179)

Abstract: We describe as orthodox all kinds of logic which absolutely are based on the Aristotelian axiomatics and the principle of bivalence. The orthodox logics give rise to a mode of reasoning which rejects contradiction and in which any concept is strictly and discretely distinguishable from any other concept.
A way of thinking presented as an alternative to analytics is dialectics. The latter admits contradiction as a fundamental principle. In line with dialectics, logical systems integrate contradiction. They are the neo-orthodox logics consisting of the set of non-trivial, weakened and paraconsistent logics.
With regard to phenomenon perceived as complex changing in time and space, we call into question the strictly absolute character of identity and accept contradiction. We propose three basic principles to establish the logic of complexity: the principles of sameness, differentiality, and relationality. They do not exclude the Aristotelian axiomatics, but only recognize its relevance at a certain level of abstraction. Furthermore, we sketch out a model of statement differentiation according to truth values.

Key-words: analytics, complexity, contradiction, dialectics, identity, logic, non-triviality.

Bernard Ancori

« Scientific popularization, increasing knowledge gap, and epistemology of communication » (p. 181-232)

Abstract: From its beginnings in the 19th century, the popularization of science (vulgarisation) has aimed to bridge the cultural gap between « scientists » and « the ignorant », in support of science long considered to be a source of all progress. During the second part of the 20th century, popularization of science became a mass media phenomenon, criticized from all sides in the last quarter of the century. One of these criticisms concerns the increasing knowledge gap within its audience: the growing flow of information induces differences in the appropriation of information within the social system. The audience of the highest socioeconomic levels is able to appropriate information more quickly than the lower one, so that the gap between their respective knowledge tends to grow rather than diminish.
This article addresses the paradox that our societies continue to adhere to the devices of popularization of science, although the increasing knowledge gap shows its pernicious effect. It argues that this persistence is due to a form of epistemological blindness: contrary to wide-spread opinion, the relevant model of communication required for analyzing popularization of science is that proposed by Gregory Bateson, rather than that put forth by Claude Elwood Shannon. First, I present the Shannon’s model of communication as the theoretical reference of the deficit model that inspired popularization of science. I stress that it is totally unsuited to explain social communication. Second, I summarize Bateson’s conception of communication, and contrast it point by point with the previous model. Finally, I argue that the increasing knowledge gap has no place in the framework of Shannon’s conception of communication, while it can be very simply explained by Bateson’s conception.

Key-words: popularization of science, increasing knowledge gap, additive laws versus combinatorial laws of information, communication and learning

Benoît Feildel

« Emotion is what interconnects us. Elements for a relational approach of emotional phenomena and of socio-spatial dynamics » (p. 233-259)

Abstract: Seeking to understand the mechanisms of affective bonds to places, we have designed and implemented a survey of residents in the metropolitan area of Tours (France). Coupling narrative method and mapping, the investigation conducted has revealed the importance of the affective dimension in the spatial organization of societies. In that way, we have been able to show how individuals and social groups, through space, manage the distance to others and to themselves, how they operate and they take place in a network of sites and links emotionally invested. However, this research has not only contributed to a critique of rationalism and illustrated the weight of emotions in the attitudes and behaviors of social actors. The understanding that we have drawn of emotional phenomena has also revealed the dynamic and complex nature of space valuation, calling therefore a careful approach to relation and their changes over time and situations.

Key-words: Emotion, affectivity, space, urban planning, society, relation

Denis Martouzet

« Neighborhood and Injunction for Togetherness: Relational Analysis » (p. 261-285)

Abstract: This article questions the neighborhood relationship from the analysis of the figure of the neighbor in popular culture (sayings, literature, comic strip…). It is commonly considered as a pejorative figure, but this is globally contradicted by actual interviews (storytelling), much more positive, collected during semi-directive qualitative enquiries about spatial and social relationship to the environment of individuals. It emerges from it that the neighborhood relationship has three major dimensions: spatiality, temporality, and potentiality. By living nearby, the neighbor is potentially harmful or useful. By this simple potentiality, the neighborhood relationship makes the individual not exactly as he should be, as a result of the closeness of the neighbor, and the neighborhood relationship as a combination of spatiality/temporality/potentiality. The aim of this article is to propose a definition of the concept of relation.

Key-words: neighbor, neighborhood, popular culture, relation

Paul Jalbert

« In the Home: A Relational Analysis of Interactions between Family Members » (p. 287-301)

Abstract: The debate regarding the value of action theory and relational models for understanding human interaction still gives rise to heated debates. Although much rigorous scientific work has already been accomplished to debunk the idea that humans are interest driven individuals whose behaviours are the result of their intention, skepticism remains as to how well a relational model could effectively understand human behaviour in a real world setting. In order to answer this question, interactions between family members were recorded in their home over the course of a week. This presentation shared some of the findings and showed that, even in a real world setting, intention is not a determining factor when understanding interactions. Only in 13.1% of cases were we able to find an intention as part of the interaction. In 9.3% of the cases, intention emerges as a part of the dynamic that is taking place between family members and only 3.8% appear to be as a result of an intention that existed prior to the interaction. In 2.3% of the cases, it appears that the intention does not integrate into the current interaction and only 0.4% of the cases demonstrate that the intention persists when new information is provided. These results clearly demonstrate that intention is not the dominant factor during interactions between family members in a real world setting and appears very consistent with prior research on the topic.

Key-words: relational approach, intention, dynamics, rationality, emoreason

Simon Laflamme

« Anthropocentrism and Human Studies » (p. 303-321)

Abstract: The premise that individuals act rationally, autonomously, consciously, intentionally, and in their own interest has been denounced umpteen times, especially in the relational approaches. These critiques have emphasized the following: importance of the unconscious mind and of emotion in the human psyche; the impossibility of comprehending human action without taking into consideration social structures; the illegitimacy of a subjectivity that deliberates in a monadic way. In and of themselves, these critiques should have evacuated a long time ago the rationalizing postulate. Yet, this postulate loses nothing of its force; it keeps dominating models in human studies. The question then arises of how it can perpetuate. It has to justify its existence.
In a recent work, we identified seven ways through which human studies specialists legitimate this postulate, which is, at best, a half-truth (NPSS, 2015). However, neither of these justifications really constitutes an answer to the relational critique. And if these justifications can be identified and proven as inadequate, it is necessarily because there is something comforting for specialists of human studies in ignoring these demonstrations.
Our intention, in this article, is to highlight that which is comforting in the rationalizing modelizations as well as that which is terrifying in others, whether they do not contain a rational actor or they do not rely on an actor per se. We intend to show that human studies are attached to an anthropocentrism which undermines their ability to produce abstractions; that this anthropocentrism is more an idealism than the result of an analysis, which exacerbates the difficulty to generate operationalizable abstractions, and even to perform an empirical relationalism in which exchanges would not only be the relationships between social actors. We furthermore intend to show that anthropocentrism represents an obstacle to relationalism when this approach wants elevate in the abstraction sphere to generate some science aiming to understand human being.

Key-words: anthropocentrism, human studies, relational analysis, micrology, macrology, emoreason

Claude Vautier

« On the Interest of a Relational Approach in Complex Systems Modelization » (p. 323-350)

Abstract: The foundation of sociology rests on postulates which have, historically, been the source of endless quarrels and which have come to constitute limits to the very development of the discipline. The first of these postulates is that human societies are to be studied, to be understood, as either the result of individual situations (methodological holism) or, to the contrary, as that of individuals’ characteristics, choices and actions (methodological individualism). The second premise is that scientific analysis must be devoid of all randomness and unpredictability in the movements that occur within society in order to be able to understand and project ourselves into the future. Contemporary developments in sociology abandon, at least partially, these positions. Many researchers in social sciences adopt a joint methodology (holism and individualism). Some also attempt to introduce temporality (or temporalities) in the analysis in order to account for the inevitable historicity of humankind. This paper aims to offer a “relational” sociological approach, which combines holism and individualism within the historicized models of complex systems that are social systems. It stresses the interest, or better, the necessity of a trialectical relational model for the study of complex systems.

Key-words: events, individuals, relation, complex systems, trialectical model