chapter  6
34 Pages

From Symbol Processing to Subsymbolic Socially Distributed Cognition

Chapter 6 initiates a line of inquiry that leads into the next three chapters and investigates organization in a new way. In this chapter, we lay the groundwork for those that follow. In chapter 5, we referred to an idea of Karl Weick’s, among many others, thrown off almost casually by that fertile mind: that interconnected networks of people, in some sense of the word, know more than any of the individuals who compose them. It is this that Weick sees as the principal advantage of loose coupling. Organizations can accumulate variety, and variety is the key to expanding what we called, as an analogy, the circle of light created through organizational enacting. It is an idea that, as we shall see, Weick himself continued to explore in later work and that has taken on greater plausibility as a result of research into the bases of computing-an exploration that has shaken the field of artificial intelligence to its foundations. Our own interpretation of this hypothesis leads us in a surprising direction in chapter 7, that is, toward an exploration of the logical basis of the emergence of organization as an effective actor (or macroactor, to use the Callon-Latour term), and how such emergence can explain a key concept of Giddens’ theory, namely, authority. It is this issue of authority and its consequences that then forms the topic of chapter 8.