Book: Organising and Disorganising: A Dynamic and Non-Linear Theory of Institutional Emergence and its Implications. Dr Michael Thompson. Triarchy Press, 2008.
Via the author, the following description, of what I think should be a very significant book from a p2p point of view:
“Following his previous seminal work in this area (see panel on right), Thompson revisits the fundamental principles of Cultural Theory, strengthening his arguments and developing new perspectives. He explains how there are exactly five fundamental forms of societal life: the hierarchical, the egalitarian, the individualistic, the fatalistic and the autonomous, each of which is a way of disorganising the other four whilst depending on them for its existence, or it would have nothing to organise itself against. Through a range of examples and analogies drawn from his exceptionally broad experience, the author shows how best outcomes depend upon an essential argumentative process between these five socio-cultural forms. A flexible and dynamic organisational theory emerges which exposes the unfortunate consequences of any single form seeking to dominate the others.
Thompson proceeds to map the theories of Weber, Marx, Maine, Durkheim, Tönnies, Mary Douglas and others into the broad landscape of Cultural Theory, identifying 50 distinct varieties of social science on the way.
This book is important reading in these times of profound structural change. It is simultaneously a work of scholarship and a light-hearted, accessible and illuminating view on a world beset by apparently intractable problems such as climate change and the credit crunch. These problems urgently need Thompson’s type of solutions and corresponding institutional forms yet we systematically fail to recognise and support them. This book helps us to look beyond our own bias towards specific socio-cultural forms and opens our eyes to new organisational possibilities. Written in a lively and accessible style, Organising and Disorganising provides a language for communication across opposing views and a refreshing remedy for ideological myopia.”