Systems Thinking and Sociological Thinking: Observing from an Asian Perspective

Monday, July 14, 2014: 10:52 AM
Room: Booth 47
Oral Presentation
Saburo AKAHORI , Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, Japan
In this paper we raise a question: How can we connect systems theory to sociology properly and effectively? In the process of answering this question, we will examine whether the Asian tradition can contribute to develop sociological systems theory or not.

Generally speaking, systems theory offers us a tool to see things otherwise. Therefore it could be useful to develop sociological way of thinking. However, introducing systems theory to sociology is not an easy task. Here we regard it is because of so-called “epistemological obstacle” in western way of thinking. To overcome this difficulty, we have to get rid of the obstacle.

It seems that non-western tradition does not have something new to develop systems theory itself. Rather, it could be bridge systems theory and sociology because systems theoretical perspectives are similar in some respects to the Asian traditional thought.

In conclusion, beyond the distinction between western and non-western, systems theory could be a tool to think sociologically but it needs something that has bridging function between systems theory and sociology. Asian tradition could serve a role of bridging the gap between them.