Modelling Social Forces
Society is man-made, but when we are born into it and start acting, it is a given. Social processes are going on in structures given at that moment, often behind our backs, moving society in unwanted directions. Attempts at controlling and steering such social forces turned out quite ineffective, and organizational actors, which are supposed to do so (like governments), are quite helpless. "Social forces" does not refer to some global conspiracy group, but to the mechanisms and processes built into society at a given moment.
To change this situation and to influence social forces in a way that society moves into a directiion desirable for the citizens, Raven insists that first of all such processes behind our backs need to be understood. As multiple circular feedback loops are involved, which are interrelated, interacting and producing both positive amplifying and negative counteracting effects, conventional analysis does not help. What is needed to understand such processes are graphs and diagrams (systemograms) modelling such interrelated feedback loops. In a second step computer models simulating their dynamics are needed to understand and to find out about longterm and side-effects as well as to identify points of intervention.
Welcome are papers presenting and discussing examples of such modelling or modelling and simulation methods promising to serve the purpose. The methods may range from graphs and Petri-nets to system dynamics and genetic algorithms.
Raven, J. (1995). The New Wealth of Nations: Unionville, New York: Royal Fireworks Press www.rfwp.com; Edinburgh, Scotland: Competency Motivation Project. http://eyeonsociety.co.uk/resources/fulllist.html#new_wealth