2.3 Culture and Society, Citizenship and Democracy

  Community’s worldview may perceive culture and society, citizenship and social responsibility, from different perspectives. The West often reduces...

  Community’s worldview may perceive culture and society, citizenship and social responsibility, from different perspectives. The West often reduces democracy to voting in elections, whatever are the aspirants’ personal attributes. Hence, power-holders are allowed, and even authorized, to be one-sided rather than requisitely holistic; to feel independent rather than interdependent; to be more socially negligent than socially accountable. And this is one of the best models so far, but not good enough for humanity to come close to what L. v. Bertalanffy called 'being the citizens of the world rather than of a country’.

  It is hard to see how humankind can cooperate and cope effectively with global ecological, social and economic challenges, if basic beliefs, values and attitudes lack harmony and mutual understanding. Here, citizenship and social responsibility is understood as an interactive process related to social meanings, where we recognize others and ourselves through permanent negotiations, as properties that emerge from the way humans relate to each other. And, by ‘culture’ is meant the attitudes and values, often tacit, of a particular collective or community as expressed in individual behaviours, social interactions and the production of artefacts in the broadest sense (encompassing spoken and written texts and other symbolic forms, and found or constructed as concrete objects).

  Thus, this session invites papers that use cybernetic methodologies and concepts to provide understandings of cultural conflicts, change, transition and transformations. A given society may be monocultural or multicultural. Papers are invited that address questions concerning the relationship between the individual and society, including: (i) citizenship, freedom and inclusion, (ii) empowerment, democracy and social responsibility.

Discussion points

  • How can a cybernetic perspective aid understandings of culture?

  • How can cybernetics contribute to understandings of the interactions between different cultures, what some authorities refer to as the ‘clash of civilisations’ and others as ‘intercultural conversations’?

  • What do we understand by citizenship, freedom and inclusion in modern societies?

  • What are the relations between empowerment, democracy and social responsibility?

  • How can a cybernetics perspective help Community Based Research and Lifelong Learning strengthen civil societies and democracies?

Coordinators