6/23/09

Foucault & Complexity

The past several days I have been searching the web for articles or books that explore the connections between Foucault's work and complexity science. I am happy to report that I have found a few very interesting things.

First, Kurt Richardson and Paul Cilliers (who have written some incredible stuff on complexity and management and complexity and philosophy) have a book Explorations in Complexity Thinking. It is an edited book comprised of the pre-proceedings submitted for the two-day Complexity and Philosophy workshop held 22nd-23rd February 2007, in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

One of the pre-postings is by Ken Baskin, who is affliated with The Instititute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence (ISCE), which originally grew out of the New England Complex Systems Institute's Organizational-Related Programmes department in mid-1999.

Baskin's paper is Foucault, Complexity, and Myth: Toward a Complexity-based Approach to Social Evolution (a.k.a. History). (You can preview the paper by opening the cover in Amazon and going to it--it is the first chapter in the book)

Second is Mark Olssen's Foucault as Complexity Theorist: Overcoming the problems of classical philosophical analysis. Published in Educational Philosophy and Theory. Olssen is at the University of Surrey.

As I come across more articles and books I will post them.

6/17/09

The Built Environment: Communities as Complex Systems

One of the fastest growing areas in the study of community health in complex systems terms is the built environment literature.

The built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging from large-scale civic surroundings to smaller settings such as work and home.

The term is also now widely used to describe the interdisciplinary field of study which addresses the design, management and use of these human-made surroundings and their relationship to the human activities which take place within them. The field draws upon a wealth of disciplines and areas of study including geography, urban planning, epidemiology, computational and spatial economics, law, medicine, health care, medical sociology, management, architecture, and design and technology.

An excellent website that has devoted considerable attention to this topic is The Prevention Institute. Check it out for more information, in particular their PDF on eleven communities that have implemented programs to improve the built environment.

Other places to explore include:

1. The Center for the Built Environment at Berkeley.

2. The Built Environment Blog.

3. The Built Environment and Health at Columbia University.