The evolution of human institutions and organizations testifies to the constitutive historicity of societies, cultures and practices. This historicity is the result of dynamics of transformation specific to the social world, dynamics that can be analyzed by complementary disciplinary approaches concerning their origin, diffusion and functioning, the nature, place and interactions of the actors mobilized in them, as well as their impacts on all dimensions of individual and collective life.
This leads to the exploration of the following issues, though the list is not exhaustive. What are the explanatory factors (“natural”, geographical, demographic, technical, economic, political, ideological, legal, cultural, psychological, etc.) of these dynamics of transformation? How do they interact? Do these dynamics also involve a creative dimension that can be reflected in organisational modes marked by innovation as well as in original cultural productions? How can we account for the representations and behaviors of the actors involved – individuals or more or less structured groups – as well as for the relations of cooperation or conflict that they maintain and that can involve them both as voluntary agents and involuntary heirs of the transformations in which they take part? Does the current imperative of social-ecological transition, which now conditions the problems of change, require us to re-examine the place of non-human subjects in the understanding of the ins and outs of this dynamic?
Principal Investigator (PI): Richard Sobel