In Dadamac, when it comes to ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development) we have an unusual emphasis regarding the “C for Communication”. I’m interested to see a complementary viewpoint in the post by Alice Junqueira on Complexity, Systems Thinking and Sociology quoted below:
When it comes to complexity and sustainability we often come across names such as Bertalanffy, Ilya Prigogine, Donella Meadows, Fritof Capra, and others, but we rarely come across complexity and systems theories through the “eyes” of Sociology.
How would we observe society if Sociology saw it as a system? This was one of the questions a German sociologist tried to answer. His name is Niklas Luhmman
Sounds interesting? It is. And it is also controversial. Many authors criticize Luhmann
I’ll explain. For Niklas Luhmman society is not made of people as traditional Sociology postulates. It is a system made by communications.
So we don’t study people? We don’t observe people to understand society? No. We study and observe communication, more specifically social systems’ communications.
Luhmann does not exclude humans from society, what he does is to define that the most essential component of society is communication. Why? Because a group of people itself doesn’t make society exist, it starts existing when there is communication. Also, because in society not only people communicate, but systems itself communicate too. When we see a protest, for example, it is not someone communicating it is a system communicating. More
The overlap between the quotes and Dadamac
Luhmann believes that the most essential component of society is communication. The overlap with Dadamac Foundation, and our UK-Africa, work relates to the importance we put on the “C for Communication” (in ICT4D).
in Dadamac we emphasis that ICT4D is not just about the hardware and software of “Information and Communication Technology”. The “C for Communication” only has real meaning if people are communicating with each other. There must be some kind of “Community” that is “Communicating” if the ICT is serving a real purpose regarding ‘Development”. We serve changemakers who serve the needs of communities, and are involved in some kind “Development” work. The Dadamac Foundation approach is only possible because of the way people can now connect now between UK and Africa thanks to ICT (the Internet and mobile phones).
Given my personal interest in systems thinking and new approaches to International Development based on communication, I’m delighted to see this connection between sociology, communication and systems thinking. I appreciate Alice Junqueira’s post and the introduction to Luhmann’s work to “study and observe communication, more specifically social systems’ communications”.