Vol. 10 No. 19 (2020): Intercepting and Modeling Global Change?
Monographic Section

Social Discontinuity and Systems Thinking. Cultural differentiation and social integration in times of globalization

Published 2020-10-15


  • social integration,
  • social complexity,
  • normative multiculturalism,
  • pluralism,
  • interculturalism,
  • cultural differentiation
  • ...More

How to Cite

Condorelli, R. . (2020). Social Discontinuity and Systems Thinking. Cultural differentiation and social integration in times of globalization. Cambio. Rivista Sulle Trasformazioni Sociali, 10(19), 9–30. https://doi.org/10.13128/cambio-8487


Given the obsolescence of a  linear, homeostatic and reductionist worldview unable to face current social discontinuity, the laceration of a stable universe of expectations marking world scenarios, this paper argues the heuristic power of System Theory in understanding and managing, by emergence, circular causation between system and environmental and micro-macro co-essentiality conceptual frameworks, social integration crisis in our culturally differentiated and globalized western modern societies. The discussion on normative multiculturalism validity (in particular neo-communitarian multiculturalism) and, therefore, on sufficiency of procedural foundations as device of cultural difference integration and social cohesion is controversial and far from reaching a turning point. To get out of this impasse and support policymaking processes able to face social integration crisis, the paper argues to bring the debate on complexity epistemological plan. Systems Thiking could give new lymph to current debate, hooking it to a safer ground, made so by new acquisitions on systems' working and evolution mechanism. So, Complexity language intervenes fruitfully to justify the caution with which normative multiculturalism is believed that should be considered, by anchoring this caution to configuration of a society projected to dangerously visit that range of maximum differentiation among its components which should be avoided being identified as the range of disorder and ungovernability. Not only, in the emergence logic, integration is just one of the many possibilities to which self-organization process being initiated by processes of signifying of recognition policies is open, but sociologically there are even theoretical reasons to believe that in itself the same functionalist device is such as to make this possibility little probable and does not lead where it promises. How to reduce complexity' how to fill up this relationality deficit that normative multiculturalism institutes and avoid the risk of a society unable to regain order with coherence? The Complexity framework is where the whole debate must be kept. Here, the integration proposal of pluralism and interculturalism can gain greater meaning, avoiding the risks of mono-culturalism, on the one hand, and social balkanization, on the other hand.



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