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Our argument suggests that the familiar categories and concepts that have prevailed in social movement studies are no longer adequate to the global and networked character of these forces, derived as they are from rational choice theories and political exchange models. Instead, we suggest that the AGM is best understood as an expression of social and global complexity and we draw upon a neo-materialist/complexity reading of Deleuze and Guattari to make this case. The intention of this article is to unweave the strands of subjectivity, antagonism and reflexivity that animate the movement(s) arguing that ‘another world’ or, more characteristically, ‘other worlds’ are possible. We argue that this network of individuals, groups, projects and events constitutes an ‘alter-globalization movement’ (AGM), the emergence of which has led to global institutions of finance and governance (World Trade Organization [WTO], International Monetary Fund [IMF], G8, etc.) being reframed as controversial and contested entities. As such it comprises forces constitutive of what the New York Times has called ‘the second superpower’, a ‘new power in the streets’ that is challenging both the economic orthodoxies neo-liberalism and the ‘inverted’ totalitarianism underpinned by permanent war.

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This article examines the social complexity of Organizational Learning. We built on and seek to extend recent conceptualizations of Organizational Learning that emphasize the emergent and fluid nature of learning in organizations, by drawing on some of the principles of Complexity Science. We selectively introduce two sets of principles of complexity that provide further richness to our understanding of Organizational Learning as a social complex process. The two sets of principles are ‘schemas–diversity’ and ‘interaction–interdependence’. We discuss the main characteristics of these principles of Complexity Science and show they can help us understand aspects of the social complexity of Organizational Learning. Our analysis shows that one of the main contributions of the Complexity Science perspective to understanding Organizational Learning is that it reveals more clearly the tensions that underpin learning in social contexts. We provide a re-conceptualization of tensions as revealing elasticity and not only conflict. We argue that Organizational Learning as a source of tensions keeps the organization in tension, which allows us to better capture the dynamics of learning and organizing. We conclude by outlining some issues that future OL research would address if OL is conceptualized as a dynamic complex process.

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The article proceeds as follows. First, I attempt to outline the problem that is at stake: the aim is to expose the theoretical parameters that must be taken into account in order to provide a workable solution to the micro–macro problem. I maintain that the starting point has been clearly stated by Durkheim. How to account for social regularities? How is it possible to offer high-level knowledge that is not trivially available in generalizations couched in individuals’ terms? Second, in this article I attempt to provide a taxonomy of the proposals that have been offered to account for the micro–macro link. Third, I attempt to weaken an interesting argument currently advanced to support the inevitability of micro-foundations. Finally, I very briefly explore the possibility of naturalizing the debate.

The article leads to the following conclusions. First, the traditional opposition between methodological individualism and methodological holism is not precise enough to distinguish between different forms of the micro–macro link. Second, the argument in favour of reducing hysteresis cannot be taken as an inevitable desideratum for successful explanations because it does not take into account the informational loss of detailed explanations. Finally, we have suggested a possible naturalization of the debate. The challenge for the social sciences in the future is, precisely, to ascertain the different possible types of micro–macro relations in concrete cases, transforming a problem that has traditionally been understood in philosophical terms into the object of scientific enquiry.

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Complex systems have been studied by researchers from every discipline: biology, chemistry, physics, sociology, mathematics and economics and more. Depending upon the discipline, complex systems theory has accrued many flavors. We are after a formal representation, a model that can predict the outcome of a complex adaptive system (CAS). In this article, we look at the nature of complexity, then provide a perspective based on discrete event systems (DEVS) theory. We pin down many of the shared features between CAS and artificial systems. We begin with an overview of network science showing how adaptive behavior in these scale-free networks can lead to emergence through stigmergy in CAS. We also address how both self-organization and emergence interplay in a CAS. We then build a case for the view that stigmergic systems are a special case of CAS. We then discuss DEVS levels of systems specifications and present the dynamic structure extensions of DEVS formalism that lends itself to a study of CAS and in turn, stigmergy. Finally, we address the shortcomings and the limitation of current DEVS extensions and propose the required augmentation to model stigmergy and CAS.

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I base my paper on review of leading texts from the field of cognitive sociology with the attempt to compare the implicit notion of cognition with the conceptions elaborated in the field of cognitive science and allied disciplines (e.g. cognitive psychology, cognitive anthropology, cognitive science of religion, cognitive archeology etc.). I will refer mainly to Cerulo, DiMaggio, Vaughan, Wakefield and Zerubavel. The exemplar issues will be presented in the course of four steps. First, I problematize the notion of cognition limited merely to habituated behavioral forms related to specific local situations as presented in a study by Vaughan. Second, I discuss the excessive focus on local structures of meaning that are conceived as one of the goals of sociology of mind presented by Zerubavel. I point out the problematic position of sociology of mind, since it draws a substantial focus on intersubjectivity defined in contrast to cognitive individualism and universalism. I present this methodological stance in relation to interpretative program of social sciences. Consequently, I show that this type of cognitive theorizing casts vital doubts on results emerging from the field itself as well as on cross-disciplinary relevancy of that investigation. Viable forms of collaboration between cultural theorizing based on interpretative and descriptive methods and cognitive science will be explained throughout the paper as well as in its final conclusion.

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According to many philosophers and scientists, human sociality is explained by the unique capacity to share the mental states of others. Shared intentionality has been widely debated in the past two decades in ways that also enlighten the current ‘interactive turn’ in social cognition. In this article, we examine the function and significance for interacting agents of sharing minds in an irreducibly collective mode called the ‘we-mode’. This first-person plural perspective captures the viewpoint of individuals engaged in social interactions and thus expands each individual’s potential for social understanding and action. This proposal shows that a nonreductionist, interaction-based approach can be developed that nevertheless resists recent suggestions concerning the constitutive role of interaction for social cognition. Our suggestion is that social cognition is embedded in the social environment to an extent that should be more carefully pondered and theorized by individualistic-minded scientists and philosophers alike.

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In this paper, we approach the idea of group cognition from the perspective of the ‘‘extended mind’’ thesis, as a special case of the more general claim that systems larger than the individual human, but containing that human, are capable of cognition. Instead of deliberating about ‘‘the mark of the cognitive’’, our discussion of group cognition is tied to particular cognitive capacities. We review recent studies of group problem solving and group memory which reveal that specific cognitive capacities that are commonly ascribed to individuals are also aptly ascribed at the level of groups. These case studies show how dense interactions among people within a group lead to both similarity-inducing and differentiating dynamics that affect the group’s ability to solve problems. This supports our claim that groups have organization-dependent cognitive capacities that go beyond the simple aggregation of the cognitive capacities of individuals. Group cognition is thus an emergent phenomenon in the sense of Wimsatt. We further argue that anybody who rejects our strategy for showing that cognitive properties can be instantiated at multiple levels in the organizational hierarchy on a priori grounds is a ‘‘demergentist,’’ and thus incurs the burden of proof for explaining why cognitive properties are ‘‘stuck’’ at a certain level of organizational structure. Finally, we show that our analysis of group cognition escapes the ‘‘coupling-constitution’’ charge that has been leveled against the extended mind thesis.

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Research efforts to account for elevated risk behavior among adolescents have arrived at an exciting new stage. Moving beyond laboratory studies of age differences in risk perception and reasoning, new approaches have shifted their focus to the influence of social and emotional factors on adolescent decision making. We review recent research suggesting that adolescent risk-taking propensity derives in part from a maturational gap between early adolescent remodeling of the brain’s socio-emotional reward system and a gradual, prolonged strengthening of the cognitive-control system. Research has suggested that in adolescence, a time when individuals spend an increasing amount of time with their peers, peer-related stimuli may sensitize the reward system to respond to the reward value of risky behavior. As the cognitive-control system gradually matures over the course of the teenage years, adolescents grow in their capacity to coordinate affect and cognition and to exercise self-regulation, even in emotionally arousing situations. These capacities are reflected in gradual growth in the capacity to resist peer influence.

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Cooperation often involves behaviours that reduce immediate payoffs for actors. Delayed benefits have often been argued to pose problems for the evolution of cooperation because learning such contingencies may be difficult as partners may cheat in return. Therefore, the ability to achieve stable cooperation has often been linked to a species’ cognitive abilities, which is in turn linked to the evolution of increasingly complex central nervous systems. However, in their famous 1981 paper, Axelrod and Hamilton stated that in principle even bacteria could play a tit-for-tat strategy in an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma. While to our knowledge this has not been documented, interspecific mutualisms are present in bacteria, plants and fungi. Moreover, many species which have evolved large brains in complex social environments lack convincing evidence in favour of reciprocity. What conditions must be fulfilled so that organisms with little to no brainpower, including plants and single-celled organisms, can, on average, gain benefits from interactions with partner species? On the other hand, what conditions favour the evolution of large brains and flexible behaviour, which includes the use of misinformation and so on? These questions are critical, as they begin to address why cognitive complexity would emerge when ‘simple’ cooperation is clearly sufficient in some cases. This paper spans the literature from bacteria to humans in our search for the key variables that link cooperation and deception to cognition.

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Neuroscience is viewed by a range of actors and institutions as a powerful means of creating new knowledge about our selves and societies. This article documents the shifts in expertise and identities potentially being propelled by neuroscientific research. It details the framing and effects of neuroscience within several social domains, including education and mental health, discussing some of the intellectual and professional projects it has animated therein (such as neuroethics). The analysis attends to the cultural logic by which the brain is sometimes made salient in society; simultaneously, it points towards some of parameters of the territory within which the social life of the brain plays out. Instances of societal resistance and agnosticism are discussed, which may render problematic sociological research on neuroscience in society that assumes the universal import of neuroscientific knowledge (as either an object of celebration or critique). This article concludes with reflections on how sociotechnical novelty is produced and ascribed, and the implications of this.