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Sociocybernetics is an interdisciplinary science between sociology and general systems theory and cybernetics. The International Sociological Association has a specialist research committee in the area – RC51 – which publishes the (electronic) Journal of Sociocybernetics.

The term "socio" in the name of sociocybernetics refers to any social system (as defined, among others, by Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann).

Sociocybernetics aims to generate a general theoretical framework for understanding cooperative behavior in the context of a theory of evolution.

Sociocybernetics claims to include both what are called first order cybernetics and second order cybernetics. Cybernetics, according to Wiener's definition, is the science of "control and communication in the animal and the machine". Heinz von Foerster went on to distinguish a first order cybernetics, "the study of observed systems", and a second order cybernetics, "the study of observing systems". Second order cybernetics is explicitly based on a constructivist epistemology and is concerned with issues of self-reference, paying particular attention to the observer-dependence of knowledge, including scientific theories.[1]

As cybernetics developed, its influence spread within the social sciences. Anthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margret Mead had already been prominent during the Macy conferences. Concepts from cybernetics spread throughout psychology from the 1950s onwards.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Verwey, S.; Davis, C. (1 January 2011). "Sociocybernetics and autopoiesis - new laws of organisational form?". Communicare. 30 (2): 1–26. hdl:10520/EJC27758.
  2. ^ Scott B. (2016) Cybernetic foundations for psychology. Constructivist Foundations 11(3): 509–517. http://constructivist.info/11/3/509
  3. ^ Tilak, S., Glassman, M., Kuznetcova, I., & Pelfrey, G. L. (2021). Applications of cybernetics to psychological theory: Historical and conceptual explorations. Theory & Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1177/09593543211053804

Further reading[edit]

  • Béla H. Bánáthy (2000). Guided Evolution of Society: A Systems View. Kluwer Academic/Plenum, New York.
  • Felix Geyer and Johannes van der Zouwen (1992). "Sociocybernetics" in: Handbook of Cybernetics (C.V. Negoita, ed.). New York: Marcel Dekker, 1992, pp. 95–124.
  • Geyer, Felix (June 1995). "The challenge of sociocybernetics". Kybernetes. 24 (4): 6–32. doi:10.1108/03684929510089321.
  • Geyer, Felix (October 2002). "The march of self-reference" (PDF). Kybernetes. 31 (7/8): 1021–1042. doi:10.1108/03684920210436318. S2CID 8353349. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-10-27.
  • Raven, J. (1994). Managing Education for Effective Schooling: The Most Important Problem Is to Come to Terms with Values. Unionville, New York: Trillium Press. (OCLC 34483891)
  • Raven, J. (1995). The New Wealth of Nations: A New Enquiry into the Nature and Origins of the Wealth of Nations and the Societal Learning Arrangements Needed for a Sustainable Society. Unionville, New York: Royal Fireworks Press; Sudbury, Suffolk: Bloomfield Books. (ISBN 0-89824-232-0)

External links[edit]