To establish the concept of identity as the bridging concept of cybernetics and sociology.
The approach is a pincers movement. On the one hand, it is argued that there has been a move towards an identity society; identity is a foundational concept for an understanding of contemporary society. On the other hand, the paper argues that in the work of Beer, identity became the key to his proposal that the VSM is the optimal form of variety management in a social system. The study is based on an extension and application of Finalizierungstheorie to the problem.
Identity is the key concept for the articulation of cybernetics and sociology. There has been a singular failure to apply cybernetic ideas to sociological materials in a manner that has met with the approval and satisfaction of the sociological community. Beer's formulation of the identity phenomenon and its extrapolation in the social sphere proposes a solution to this long‐standing problem.
The approach allows for a broad ranging multi‐level research programme in sociological cybernetics to be formulated and pursued in a manner congenial to the accumulation of a substantial knowledge base ranging from micro‐ to macro‐issues.
This paper presents a unique synthesis of cybernetics and sociology building on and extending the work of Beer in the field of managerial cybernetics.
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