5,046 research outputs found

    Groups, organizations, families and movements: The sociology of social systems between interaction and society

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    Kühl S. Groups, organizations, families and movements: The sociology of social systems between interaction and society. Systems Research and Behavioral Science. 2020;37(3):496-515.In enhancing a proposal by Luhmann, this contribution shows that it is possible to locate different types of systems between ‘face‐to‐face‐interaction’ and ‘society’: groups, organizations, families and protest movements. The common ground of these is that they use membership to attribute persons to the system or not. However, they differ fundamentally in regard to how they understand membership. In contrast to Luhmann's differentiation between interaction, organization and society, it is not only possible to imagine different types of interlocking systems but also coequal combinations of and transitions between the different types of social systems

    Trust, regulatory processes and NICE decision-making: Appraising cost-effectiveness models through appraising people and systems.

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    This article presents an ethnographic study of regulatory decision-making regarding the cost-effectiveness of expensive medicines at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England. We explored trust as one important mechanism by which problems of complexity and uncertainty were resolved. Existing studies note the salience of trust for regulatory decisions, by which the appraisal of people becomes a proxy for appraising technologies themselves. Although such (dis)trust in manufacturers was one important influence, we describe a more intricate web of (dis)trust relations also involving various expert advisors, fellow committee members and committee Chairs. Within these complex chains of relations, we found examples of both more blind-acquiescent and more critical-investigative forms of trust as well as, at times, pronounced distrust. Difficulties in overcoming uncertainty through other means obliged trust in some contexts, although not in others. (Dis)trust was constructed through inferences involving abstract systems alongside actors’ oral and written presentations-of-self. Systemic features and ‘forced options’ to trust indicate potential insidious processes of regulatory capture

    The Non-linear Dynamics of Meaning-Processing in Social Systems

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    Social order cannot be considered as a stable phenomenon because it contains an order of reproduced expectations. When the expectations operate upon one another, they generate a non-linear dynamics that processes meaning. Specific meaning can be stabilized, for example, in social institutions, but all meaning arises from a horizon of possible meanings. Using Luhmann's (1984) social systems theory and Rosen's (1985) theory of anticipatory systems, I submit equations for modeling the processing of meaning in inter-human communication. First, a self-referential system can use a model of itself for the anticipation. Under the condition of functional differentiation, the social system can be expected to entertain a set of models; each model can also contain a model of the other models. Two anticipatory mechanisms are then possible: one transversal between the models, and a longitudinal one providing the modeled systems with meaning from the perspective of hindsight. A system containing two anticipatory mechanisms can become hyper-incursive. Without making decisions, however, a hyper-incursive system would be overloaded with uncertainty. Under this pressure, informed decisions tend to replace the "natural preferences" of agents and an order of cultural expectations can increasingly be shaped

    Highly efficient frequency triplers in the millimeter wave region incorporating a back-to-back configuration of two varactor diodes

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    This paper reports on the recent development of monolithic frequency tripler array employing a back-to-back configuration of varactor diodes. Even harmonic idler circuits are unnecessary in this design. Furthermore, no external dc bias is required. The arrangement results in highly efficient, easily-fabricated and inexpensive frequency triplers

    Far-infrared imaging of tokamak plasma

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    A 20-channel interferometer has been developed which utilizes a linear, one-dimensional microbolometer array to obtain single-shot density profiles from the UCLA Microtor tokamak plasma. The interferometer has been used to study time-dependent phenomena in the plasma density profile. Observations of the sawtooth instability clearly show the growth of the m=0 mode from a localized oscillation (r=1 cm) on axis to an oscillation of the entire plasma. Also, measurements during the initial startup phase of the discharge show evidence of hollow density profiles. In addition, a simultaneous measurement of the poloidal magnetic field has been developed which provides 20 channels of polarimetry. Interferometry and polarimetry both use the same imaging system and the spatial resolution of both measurements has been tested using plastic and crystal-quartz test objects. The signal-to-noise ratio for the polarimeter has also proved adequate for the expected Faraday rotation angle (alphamax=7°, Ip=70 kA, n=5×10^13 cm^−3)

    Online Popularity and Topical Interests through the Lens of Instagram

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    Online socio-technical systems can be studied as proxy of the real world to investigate human behavior and social interactions at scale. Here we focus on Instagram, a media-sharing online platform whose popularity has been rising up to gathering hundred millions users. Instagram exhibits a mixture of features including social structure, social tagging and media sharing. The network of social interactions among users models various dynamics including follower/followee relations and users' communication by means of posts/comments. Users can upload and tag media such as photos and pictures, and they can "like" and comment each piece of information on the platform. In this work we investigate three major aspects on our Instagram dataset: (i) the structural characteristics of its network of heterogeneous interactions, to unveil the emergence of self organization and topically-induced community structure; (ii) the dynamics of content production and consumption, to understand how global trends and popular users emerge; (iii) the behavior of users labeling media with tags, to determine how they devote their attention and to explore the variety of their topical interests. Our analysis provides clues to understand human behavior dynamics on socio-technical systems, specifically users and content popularity, the mechanisms of users' interactions in online environments and how collective trends emerge from individuals' topical interests.Comment: 11 pages, 11 figures, Proceedings of ACM Hypertext 201

    Sociological and Communication-Theoretical Perspectives on the Commercialization of the Sciences

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    Both self-organization and organization are important for the further development of the sciences: the two dynamics condition and enable each other. Commercial and public considerations can interact and "interpenetrate" in historical organization; different codes of communication are then "recombined." However, self-organization in the symbolically generalized codes of communication can be expected to operate at the global level. The Triple Helix model allows for both a neo-institutional appreciation in terms of historical networks of university-industry-government relations and a neo-evolutionary interpretation in terms of three functions: (i) novelty production, (i) wealth generation, and (iii) political control. Using this model, one can appreciate both subdynamics. The mutual information in three dimensions enables us to measure the trade-off between organization and self-organization as a possible synergy. The question of optimization between commercial and public interests in the different sciences can thus be made empirical.Comment: Science & Education (forthcoming

    Information presentation: considering on-line user confidence for effective engagement

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    In order to design on-line services that are able to support the end-user in making informed choices about when and how to disclose personal information, a close understanding of the relationship between privacy and confidence is therefore needed. UK citizens accessing on-line services have privacy concerns about sharing personal information with government organizations. The physical distance between service user and service provider (increased by on-line service delivery) can reduce confidence in the management of personal information. A close understanding of the relationship between user confidence and information presentation can suggest new design principles to support them in making informed choices about when and how to disclose personal information. This paper presents the result of three user studies to understand user confidence with relation to graphical information presentation, which led to three distinct types of confidence: Institutional; Technological; and Relationship. The final study represents the impact of using graphical information presentation on users’ privacy concern and their confidence in using on-line services. The result indicated service users’ privacy concerns decrease when their privacy awareness increase

    Millimeter and submillimeter wave technology developments for the next generation of fusion devices

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    There is increasing demand for compact watt-level coherent sources in the millimeter and submillimeter wave region. The approach that we have taken to satisfy this need is to fabricate two-dimensional grids loaded with oscillators, electronic beam steerers, and frequency multipliers for quasioptical coherent spatial combining of the outputs of a large number of low-power devices
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