Tuesday, August 01, 2017

CJC Special Issue: 'on the margins of cybernetics'

I am pleased to be able to share the announcment from the editors of this special issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication in which David Russell and I have a paper. They write: 

"We are very pleased to announce that our CJC issue on the margins of cybernetics is now out and online! We wish to thank everyone of you for your continuous effort and support throughout the editing process. We believe that the issue altogether makes a very strong and original contribution to the field and it wouldn’t be so without you." 

In their editorial  Philippe Theophanidis (York University, Glendon Campus), Ghislain Thibault (Université de Montréal) and Dominique Trudel (Concordia University) say:

"This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Communication (CJC) explores some of the connections between cybernetics and diverse fields of study: communication studies, media theory, philosophy, agriculture, and architecture. When putting it together, we intended to explore how the heritage of cybernetics has been put to work following the field’s relative decline."...... 

"Despite this less than favourable context, some scholars who had engaged with cybernetics continued to put its concepts to work, and recursively applied cybernetics principles to cybernetics itself. Their work, beginning in the 1970s, was labelled “second-order cybernetics” (Clarke & Hansen, 2009). Similar to those scholars who continued to apply cybernetics principles, we continue to believe that this field has value to communication studies."...

"Exploring the margins of something so profoundly marginal as cybernetics was both a challenge and a provocation for the authors who responded to our invitation. It was a productive challenge, because the margins came to mean different things for different authors. For some, the exploration of the margins meant bringing light, syntagmatically, to certain facets of cybernetics that have been neglected (Sheryl N. Hamilton), or to some of the intellectual movements overshadowed by the momentous visibility of cybernetics (GhislainThibault and Mark Hayward). For others who approached the issue paradigmatically, the margins constituted a space where a common set of ideas was meeting, emerging, telescoping, or transmuting. Whether these ideas shared by both cybernetics and other fields of research emerged independently (John Bonnett) or were direct loans (Jan Müggenburg), their commonality speaks of changing epistemic moments. Finally, three authors explore the importation, adaptation, and distortion of cybernetic metaphors, models, and concepts by other disciplines. In the cases explored here, the marginal nature of these loans, whether in architecture (Marion Roussel) or agriculture (David Russell and Ray Ison), was at odds with the established canons of strong disciplinary fields.".....

"David Russell and Ray Ison offer some insights into the challenge of implementing research informed by second-order cybernetics. The authors look back on thirty years of collaborative research, which they pursued in rural research and development as well as therapeutic praxis. Borrowing from the work of Gregory Bateson and Humberto Maturana, they show both the potential and the difficulty of applying a cybernetic framework in order to foster change in the relationship between actors and their environment (be it grazing animals in western New South Wales, Australia, or a patient in the context of a specific therapy).

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