I collaborated with Antonio Calleja and Emanuele Cozzo to deliver this piece of research. It has been hard work to delve deep into sociology but very gratifying.
The notion of “collective identity” plays a central role in contemporary society and its theorizing. We distinguish three broad categories of understanding collective identities: a) people share a collective identity when they share a common trait, b) people share a collective identity when they represent themselves as belonging to a specific category, c) people participate in a collective identity when they interact within a specific network of relationships. This last conception holds special relevance today: people organize by means of digital interaction networks and data is available for analysis with mature computational methods. However, there is currently no available formal definition of how to characterize collective identities emerging from digital interaction networks. We provide such a definition conceiving of collective identities as recurrent, cohesive and coordinated communicative interaction networks. We distinguish identity-cores (the organizational nucleus of coordinated agents), identity audiences that get influenced and broadcast information from the core, and the identity sources that inform and feed the core. We theoretically justify computational procedures to characterize collective identities in this way and applied them to three case studies on Facebook and Twitter. We finally discuss how this characterization relates to other dimensions of collective identity and its contemporary technopolitical relevance.
Barandiaran, X. E., Calleja-López, A., & Cozzo, E. (2020). Defining Collective Identities in Technopolitical Interaction Networks. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01549
It has been some time now since we published this book. At the time I was too busy working at Barcelona City Council and could not publish a post on this blog. It is now time to do so.
Chapters 5 and 6 of the book are based on my PhD thesis and I am proud to see it published within the more ellaborate framework of this book.
From the official summary of the book: «Sensorimotor Life draws on current theoretical developments in the enactive approach to life and mind. It examines and expands the premises of the sciences of the human mind, while developing an alternative picture closer to people’s daily experiences. Enactive ideas are applied and extended, providing a theoretically rich, naturalistic account of meaning and agency. The book includes a dynamical systems description of different types of sensorimotor regularities or sensorimotor contingencies; a dynamical interpretation of Piaget’s theory of equilibration to ground the concept of sensorimotor mastery; and a theory of agency as organized networks of sensorimotor schemes, as well as its implications for embodied subjectivity.»
We just published a beautiful paper trying to understand the structure and dynamics of the 15M communication networks and they way in which they give rise to forms of collective identity.
Abstract: The emergence of network-movements since 2011 has opened the debate around the way in which social media and networked practices make possible innovative forms of collective identity. We briefly review the literature on social movements and «collective identity», and show the tension between different positions stressing either organization or culture, the personal or the collective, aggregative or networking logics. We argue that the 15M (indignados) network-movement in Spain demands conceptual and methodological innovations. Its rapid emergence, endurance, diversity, multifaceted development and adaptive capacity, posit numerous theoretical and methodological challenges. We show how the use of structural and dynamic analysis of interaction networks (in combination with qualitative data) is a valuable tool to track the shape and change of what we term the «systemic dimension» of collective identities in network-movements. In particular, we introduce a novel method for synchrony detection in Facebook activity to identify the distributed, yet integrated, coordinated activity behind collective identities. Applying this analytical strategy to the 15M movement, we show how it displays a specific form of systemic collective identity we call «multitudinous identity», characterized by social transversality and internal heterogeneity, as well as a transient and distributed leadership driven by action initiatives. Our approach attends to the role of distributed interaction and transient leadership at a mesoscale level of organizational dynamics, which may contribute to contemporary discussions of collective identity in network-movements.
Hoy mismo se presenta (por fin!) el libro que recoge gran parte de los resultados del proyecto Buen Conocer / FLOK Society en el que he estado involucrado desde sus orígines, hace ahora dos años. El equipo de aLabs ha realizado un excelente trabajo con la página web del libro. Como asesor de la edición digital me siento, por primera vez, ante una web que hace justicia al contenido y a la forma en que un libro debe insertarse en el ciberespacio: con copyleft, con una estructura clara, con la posibilidad de descargar los capítulos por separado, con varios formatos abiertos disponibles (html, PDF, ePub, ODT), con metadatos que permiten automáticamente clasificar los contenidos en gestores bibliográficos y facilitar la busqueda, y, no menos importante, con una estética funcional, clara y atractiva.
Pero lo que realmente merece la atención es el contenido del libro. Son un total de unas 800 páginas (dependiendo de la edición), agrupadas en 12 documentos de políticas públicas y diseño de modelos sostenibles de producción y consumo orientados a construir alternativas viables y democráticas fuera del modelo del capitalismo cognitivo, fuera del formato de la propiedad intelectual, orientados siempre hacia la exploración de la potencia del conocimiento libre, común y abierto, como verdadero motor de una economía social. Todo un reto que ha requerido la colaboración de cientos de personas.
Entre otras funciones de edición he tenido el honor de ser coautor (junto a David Vila-Viñas) de dos capítulos del libro (además de la introducción):
Barandiaran, X. E., Vila-Viñas, D., & Vázquez, D. (2015). El proceso Buen Conocer / FLOK Society. En D. Vila-Viñas & X. E. Barandiaran (Eds.), Buen conocer / FLOK Society: modelos sostenibles y políticas públicas para una economía social del conocimiento común y abierto en Ecuador (pp. 35–88). Quito, Ecuador: IAEN-CIESPAL. ISBN: 978-9978-55-123-3. http://book.floksociety.org/ec/
Acaba de publicarse Tecnopolítica y 15M: La potencia de las multitudes conectadas, una obra colectiva coordinada y escrita en mayor parte por Javier Toret y en la que he contribuído con un capítulo titulado Neurociencia y tecnopolítica (escrito junto a Miguel Aguilera) con el objetivo de explorar la analogía entre las formas de emergencia de la consciencia a través de la coordinación a gran escala de la actividad neuronal, por un lado, y la emergencia de la consciencia colectiva a través de la actividad coordinada en las redes sociales. El libro entero es de recomendable lectura, pero si no te da tiempo, el capítulo de Neurociencia y tecnopolítica es un buen resumen de algunas de las ideas más importantes del libro. Puedes descargarte directamente el capítulo pinchando en el enlace:
ABSTRACT: The notion of information processing has dominated the study of the mind for over six decades. However, before the advent of cognitivism, one of the most prominent theoretical ideas was that of Habit. This is a concept with a rich and complex history, which is again starting to awaken interest, following recent embodied, enactive critiques of computationalist frameworks. We offer here a very brief history of the concept of habit in the form of a genealogical network-map. This serves to provide an overview of the richness of this notion and as a guide for further re-appraisal. We identify 77 thinkers and their influences, and group them into seven schools of thought. Two major trends can be distinguished. One is the associationist trend, starting with the work of Locke and Hume, developed by Hartley, Bain, and Mill to be later absorbed into behaviorism through pioneering animal psychologists (Morgan and Thorndike). This tradition conceived of habits atomistically and as automatisms (a conception later debunked by cognitivism). Another historical trend we have called organicism inherits the legacy of Aristotle and develops along German idealism, French spiritualism, pragmatism, and phenomenology. It feeds into the work of continental psychologists in the early 20th century, influencing important figures such as Merleau-Ponty, Piaget, and Gibson. But it has not yet been taken up by mainstream cognitive neuroscience and psychology. Habits, in this tradition, are seen as ecological, self-organizing structures that relate to a web of predispositions and plastic dependencies both in the agent and in the environment. In addition, they are not conceptualized in opposition to rational, volitional processes, but as transversing a continuum from reflective to embodied intentionality. These are properties that make habit a particularly attractive idea for embodied, enactive perspectives, which can now re-evaluate it in light of dynamical systems theory and complexity research.
For the last couple of weeks I have been involved in a fascinating project: to help Ecuador design a new productive matrix based on an open and commons knoledge society. No researcher in the world can respond to this challenge on her own, so I (we) have decided to offer a participatory research process that could potentially meet the challenge. Below you can download what we call «the mother document» where we detail (in Spanish) the theoretical and political framework of the process, its diferent stages and the design of the collaborative research and production architecture. Donwload mother document.
It’s been a while since we started this paper and it is nice to see it published. Bruno Santos did an amazing work analysing the phase relation dynamics of coupled oscillators in a simulated robot. This paper explores the role of synchronized and desynchronized dynamics for the production of coherent or functional sensorimotor patterns. Whereas most of neuroscience studies focus on synchrony as the mark of cognitive operations in the brain, this paper provides analytic and experimental tools to challenge this assumption and to systematically (or causally) relate oscillatory (neuro)dynamics with sensorimotor dynamics.
Together with Matthew Egbert I am about to publish in the Artificial Life Journal a paper entitled «Norm-establishing and norm-following in autonomous agency«. The paper, selected by the special issue editor from ECAL2012 conference, has taken much more effort and dedication than originally expected and we are very proud of the result. We consider it to be an important contribution to philosophy of biology and cognitive science, particularly to the organismic tradition and, more specifically, to the enactive theory and autonomous systems research. The paper illustrates with a minimal model what normativity precisely means. We believe it to be of interested to a wide audience, ranging from philosophy of science to protocell research. You can download the latest version here. Seguir leyendo «Norm-establishing and norm-following in autonomous agency»→