Churchman and Maturana: Enriching the Notion of Self-Organization for Social Design

Reynolds, Martin (2005). Churchman and Maturana: Enriching the Notion of Self-Organization for Social Design. Systemic Practice and Action Research, 17(6) pp. 539–556.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-005-1228-7

Abstract

C. West Churchman and Humberto Maturana share similar cultural traditions involving frustrations with applying conventional systematic methods in domains of social systems design (Churchman) and neurobiology (Maturana). They have independently of each other developed a rich systemic framework of analysis based on a constructivist epistemology. But there appears to have been little correspondence between the two traditions. This paper explores six possible areas of congruence between the critical systemic perspective associated with Churchman and Maturanas autopoiesis. This initial sketch reveals possible ways forward in applying ideas of autopoiesis to our social world through a more constructive and adaptive conversation with the works of Churchman.

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