Mit dem »Zen­trum zum Studi­um von Wis­senskul­turen« (Cen­tre for Stud­ies of Knowl­edge Cul­tures) betreibt der Vere­in Wis­senskul­turen eine eigene Forschungsstelle. Ihre Auf­gaben sind in der Satzung des Vere­ins niedergelegt. Zu ihnen gehören

  • die Durch­führung von Forschungsvorhaben, die an die Forschungsstelle herange­tra­gen wer­den und die dem Vere­in­szweck förder­lich sind, sowie
  • die Unter­stützung des Vere­ins bei der Ver­fol­gung sein­er Zwecke und der damit ver­bun­de­nen Aktivitäten.
Fol­gende Pro­jek­te wer­den gegen­wär­tig bear­beit­et bzw. wur­den bere­its abgeschlossen:

»Colombian Peace Process and the Complexity of Violence«

Colom­bian Peace Process and the Com­plex­i­ty of Vio­lence The project is con­cerend with the role that vio­lence has in Colom­bian soci­ety. The pur­suit of this issue was prompt­ed by a phe­nom­e­non that irri­tat­ed not only for­eign observers: pro­nounced indif­fer­ence towards, if not rejec­tion of, the 2016 peace accords between the gov­ern­ment and the FARC Gueril­la among a major share of the Colom­bian pop­u­la­tion. Why is this the case? This issue and the ques­tion of to what extent one can refer to a »cul­ture of vio­lence« – a mat­ter of heat­ed debate in Colom­bian soci­ol­o­gy – is exam­ined. Against this con­cept here anoth­er approach is pro­posed based on a socio-cyber­net­ic con­cept of obser­va­tion and guid­ed by its ele­men­tary dis­tinc­tion of system/environment.

Select­ed publications:

Pae­tau, M: The Colom­bian peace process and the com­plex­i­ty of vio­lence: A socio­cy­ber­net­ic obser­va­tion. Cur­rent Soci­ol­o­gy, 2019, Vol. 67(4) 611­–624

Pae­tau, M.: Niklas Luh­mann and Cyber­net­ics. Jour­nal of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics, Vol 11 (2013), pp. 75–103


»Understanding Cryptocurrency«

With the emerge of „Bit­coin“ since 2008 a new under­stand­ing of mon­ey arose which is a great chal­lenge for Eco­nom­ic-The­o­ry. Blockchain-Econ­o­my, based of expe­ri­ences with Bit­coin says: Look­ing for a medi­um to solve the prob­lem of the fail­ing coin­ci­dence of wants at a cer­tain stage of mar­ket-com­plex­i­ty, it was not in every case nec­es­sary to find a good which could play the role of an gen­er­al equiv­a­lent to the com­plete world of goods on the mar­ket. It was suf­fi­cient and eas­i­er to account cred­its and deb­its of the actors of the mar­ket, and at cer­tain point of time it was bal­anced. This idea turns the tra­di­tion­al under­stand­ing on the nature of mon­ey upside down: Mon­ey is noth­ing than a form of cred­it (or deb­it) rep­re­sent­ed by a spe­cial form of cur­ren­cy. So Mon­ey is a sign for a spe­cif­ic social rela­tion. In this view Mon­ey is not a good, it is the sys­tem of cred­it account and their clear­ing that cur­ren­cy rep­re­sents. In his work „Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft“ Luh­mann calls the atten­tion on the fact, that in eco­nom­ics the con­cept of mon­ey is rea­soned with the facil­i­ta­tion of exchange but does­n’t con­sid­er the medi­um, in which exchange take place. So – this is Luh­man­n’s con­se­quence — there is no rea­son for soci­ol­o­gists to take over this ini­tial point of the eco­nom­ic dis­course. „Prob­a­bly mon­ey was gen­er­at­ed not with respect to its inter­me­di­ate func­tion for exchange but as a sign for unbal­anced per­for­mance ratios, first prob­a­bly in house­hold economies.“ (GdG 348) Even if sys­tems think­ing Soci­ol­o­gy is bet­ter pre­pared for the chal­lenge of cryp­tocur­ren­cy there are open ques­tions. Par­tic­u­lary for Luh­man­n’s The­o­ry of Social Sys­tems the ques­tion arise, if BITCOIN would mod­i­fy the code in the sence, that a new medi­a/­form-dif­fer­ence could be dom­i­nant in the eco­nom­ic sys­tem of society.

Select­ed publications:

Pae­tau, M.: Bit­coin und die Pro­voka­tion der “Blockchain-Econ­o­my”. Forum Wis­senschaft, 34. Jg., Nr. 1 (Feb­ru­ar 2017), hrsgg. v. Bund demokratis­ch­er Wis­senschaft­lerin­nen und Wis­senschaftler e.V. (BdWi)

Pae­tau, M.: Mon­ey As a Medi­um/­Form-Dis­tinc­tion: The Chal­lenge of Blockchain-Econ­o­my to Luh­man­n’s Con­cept of Mon­ey As a Sym­bol­i­cal­ly Gen­er­al­ized Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Medi­um. 3rd ISA-Forum of Soci­ol­o­gy, Vien­na, Aus­tria, July 10–14, 2014 

Pae­tau, Michael: Bit­coin: The Emer­gence of Self-Orga­nized Cryptocurrency.13th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics, Zaragoza, Spain, June 29 – July 3, 2015 


»Steering of Transitional Justice. The question of civil societal’s democracy«

Tran­si­tion­al Jus­tice is a very high com­plex approach to achiev­ing jus­tice in times of tran­si­tion from con­flict and/or state repres­sion. It needs a strong goal-ori­ent­ed but also empa­thet­ic and flex­i­ble steer­ing process, which has to achieve account­abil­i­ty and redress­ing vic­tims, tran­si­tion­al jus­tice pro­vides recog­ni­tion of the rights of vic­tims, pro­motes civic trust and strength­ens the demo­c­ra­t­ic rule of law. But the ade­quate con­sid­er­a­tion of the com­plex­i­ty of all exist­ing dri­ving-fac­tors is very dif­fi­cult and requires usu­al­ly a sec­ond order obser­va­tion process by includ­ing a vari­ety of social move­ments of civ­il soci­ety. But this require­ment seems to be after all avail­able expe­ri­ences the weak point of tran­si­tion­al jus­tice. The project focus­es the case of Colom­bia, which is observed and dis­cussed by the “Aso­ci­a­tion Knowl­edge Cul­tures (Wis­senskul­turen e.V.)” since a cou­ple of years. Since two years nego­ti­a­tions between the gov­ern­ment and the FARC-Gueril­la take place in Cuba’s cap­i­tal Havan­na and where it was agreed to real­ize a Tran­si­tion­al Jus­tice Process start­ing in Spring 2016. The goal of our project is to observe this process and make a sci­en­tif­ic analy­sis describ­ing the weak-points and ask­ing for solu­tions from a socio­cy­ber­net­ic point of view.

Select­ed publications:

Pae­tau, M: Post-Con­flict in Colom­bia — A Socio­cy­ber­net­ic Obser­va­tion on Com­plex­i­ty of the World Longest War. 14th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics. Medellin, Colom­bia, June 20–23, 2017


»Using Sociocybernetics to Understand Possible World Futures« (completed)

This project explores how socio­cy­ber­net­ics can con­tribute to under­stand­ing pos­si­ble world futures. Socio­cy­ber­net­ics is con­cerned with apply­ing the­o­ries and meth­ods from cyber­net­ics and the sys­tems sci­ences to the social sci­ences by offer­ing con­cepts and tools for address­ing prob­lems holis­ti­cal­ly and glob­al­ly. With its dis­tinc­tion between first order stud­ies of observed sys­tems and the sec­ond order study of observ­ing sys­tems, socio­cy­ber­net­ics pro­vides a uni­fy­ing epis­te­mo­log­i­cal and method­olog­i­cal con­cep­tu­al frame­work. With­in this frame­work, socio­cy­ber­net­ics accom­mo­dates a wealth of spe­cialisms in the social sci­ences, rang­ing, for exam­ple, from the dri­vers and effects of tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment to sus­tain­abil­i­ty to jus­tice. The shared frame­work facil­i­tates com­mu­ni­ca­tion between social sci­ence spe­cialisms and also between the social sci­ences, the nat­ur­al sci­ences and the applied, tech­no­log­i­cal sci­ences. A cen­tral con­cept in cyber­net­ics is ‘gov­er­nance’, the art of steers­man­ship. As con­ceived by Ash­by, Beer and oth­ers, this art is con­cerned with the man­age­ment of vari­ety. How do we face the chal­lenge of man­ag­ing all the vari­ety that makes up ‘pos­si­ble world futures’?

Select­ed publications:

Scott, B.: “The glob­al con­ver­sa­tion and the socio-biol­o­gy of aware­ness and con­scious­ness”, Jour­nal of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics, Vol. 7, No. 2, Win­ter 2009, pp. 21–33.

Scott, B.: “The Role of High­er Edu­ca­tion in Under­stand­ing and Achiev­ing Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment: Lessons from Socio­cy­ber­net­ics”, Jour­nal of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics, Vol. 7, No. 1, Sum­mer 2009, pp. 9–26.

Scott, B.: “The role of socio­cy­ber­net­ics in under­stand­ing world futures”. Kyber­netes, 38, No. 6/2009, pp. 867–882. Scott, B.: “Con­ver­sa­tion, indi­vid­u­als and col­lec­tives: some key con­cepts in Gor­don Pask’s inter­ac­tion of actors and con­ver­sa­tion the­o­ries”, Con­struc­tivist Foun­da­tions, 4, No.3/2009, pp.151–158.

Scott, B.: “Reflex­iv­i­ty revis­it­ed: the socio­cy­ber­net­ics of belief, mean­ing, truth and pow­er”, Kyber­netes, 35, No. 3–4/2006, pp. 308–316.

Scott, B.: “Cyber­net­ics and the inte­gra­tion of knowl­edge”, invit­ed chap­ter for Ency­clo­pe­dia of Life Sup­port Sys­tems, 2002, UNESCO.

Scott, B.: “Being holis­tic about glob­al issues: needs and mean­ings”, Jour­nal of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics, Vol. 3, No.1, Spring/Summer 2002, pp. 21–26.


»Metamorphoses of Knowledge Society« (completed)

The project takes the media-tech­nol­o­gy as an exam­ple to inves­ti­gate the role of tech­nol­o­gy in sit­u­a­tions of soci­etal tran­si­tion. That means high­ly com­plex his­tor­i­cal sit­u­a­tions in wich a soci­ety is part­ly chang­ing its char­ac­ter so dra­mat­i­cal­ly that observers lat­er on will state that is no longer the same soci­ety that it used to be. Such struc­tur­al changes of soci­eties are very com­plex events, which are nev­er attrib­uted to sin­gle caus­es. Beside tech­nol­o­gy changes of many sin­gu­lar facts have pre­ced­ed such struc­tur­al caesuras as an effect to spe­cial cir­cum­stances, like pover­ty, lacks of democ­ra­cy, require­ments of the world mar­ket, eco­nom­ic growth or cri­sis, own­er­ship struc­tures etc.. In the project we are inves­ti­gat­ing the rel­e­vance of media tech­nol­o­gy for such soci­etal breaks. Our hypoth­e­sis is that any struc­tur­al change of soci­ety with caesuras of polit­i­cal and eco­nom­i­cal pow­er are oblig­ed to social struc­ture of knowl­edge and the way in which knowl­edge is han­dled. Or, inverse­ly expressed: caesuras of the mode of knowl­edge will force a more or less sig­nif­i­cant over­throw of eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal dom­i­nance. Inso­far all soci­eties are “knowl­edge soci­eties” in the sense that any soci­ety has to emerge forms and tech­niques to pro­ceed impor­tant deci­sions reg­u­lat­ing its knowl­edge: Which knowl­edge should be kept, which can be delet­ed. And in which form this could be done? In a soci­o­log­i­cal dis­course con­text – and any­more from a socio­cy­ber­net­ics point of view – it is not need to empha­sise that soci­ety’s deci­sions on stor­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of knowl­edge are not made by soci­ety’s own will. It emerges based on media-tech­nol­o­gy which is avail­able, the cur­rent soci­etal struc­ture, and a lot of oth­er vari­ables which have to be described. The inter­de­pen­den­cy of these fac­tors express­es the con­crete com­plex­i­ty of a knowl­edge society.

Select­ed publications:

Paetau,M.: Tran­si­tion of Knowl­edge For­ma­tion. Com­plex­i­ty, Dif­fer­ence and Eman­ci­pa­tion. 8th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics “Com­plex Social Sys­tems, Inter­dis­ci­pli­nar­i­ty and World Futures”, Ciu­dad de Méx­i­co, Méx­i­co, 23–28 June 2008

Pae­tau, M.: Media-Tech­nol­o­gy and the Struc­tur­al Change of Knowl­edge Societies.Presented at the 7th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Socio­cy­ber­net­ics »Tech­nol­o­gy and Social Com­plex­i­ty«, Mur­cia, Spain, 18–23 June 2007.

Pae­tau, M.: Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy and The Long-Term Mem­o­ry of Soci­ety. 5th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics »Social Knowl­edge for the Con­tem­po­rary World«, Lis­boa, Por­tu­gal, July 26–31, 2004

Pae­tau, M.: Shar­ing Knowl­edge with Future Gen­er­a­tions. Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment as an Inter-Gen­er­a­tional Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Prob­lem. 18th Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence Infor­mat­ics for Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion »Envi­roIn­fo 2004«. Gene­va, Switzer­land, Octo­ber 21–23, 2004

Pae­tau, M.: Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment and Knowl­edge Soci­ety. XV World Con­gress of Soci­ol­o­gy, Bris­bane, Aus­tralia, July 8–13, 2002 (Reser­ach Com­mi­tee 24: Envi­ron­ment and Soci­ety). : 2002

Pae­tau, M.: Space and Social Order. The Chal­lenge of Com­put­er-Medi­at­ed Social Net­works. Jour­nal of Socio­cy­ber­net­ics, Vol. 4, Spring/Summer 2003, S. 23–36


»Sustainable Development« (completed)

Auf der Basis des von uns 2002 in Zusam­me­nar­beit mit mehreren Forschung­sein­rich­tun­gen der Helmholtz-Gemein­schaft entwick­el­ten Ansatzes ein­er inte­gra­tiv­en Betra­ch­tungsweise der ökol­o­gis­chen, sozialen, ökonomis­chen und insti­tu­tionellen Dimen­sion von “Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment” wur­den ver­schiedene Forschung­spro­jek­te durchge­führt. Auf­grund der hohen Kom­plex­ität und Dynamik nahezu aller Fra­gen im Zusam­men­hang mit der Analyse sowie der Entwick­lung und Durch­führung von Strate­gien nach­haltiger Entwick­lung zeigte sich die Nüt­zlichkeit sozioky­ber­netis­chen Denkens in ein­drucksvoller Weise. Der Schw­er­punkt der Arbeit­en des Zen­trums für Sozioky­ber­netis­che Stu­di­en Bonn liegt vor allem auf strate­gis­chen Fra­gen zur Umset­zung des Leit­bildes “Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment”, der Indika­toren­bil­dung für konkrete Umset­zun­gen sowie der Durch­führung empirisch­er Analysen.

Select­ed publications: 

Kopfmüller, J.; Bran­dl, V.; Jöris­sen, J.; Pae­tau, M.; Banse, G.; Coenen, R.; Grun­wald, A.: Nach­haltige Entwick­lung inte­gra­tiv betra­chtet. Kon­sti­tu­tive Ele­mente, Regeln, Indika­toren. Berlin 2001: Sig­ma [cf. reviews] Coenen, R.; Grun­wald, A. (Hg.): Nach­haltigkeit­sprob­leme in Deutsch­land. Analy­sen und Lösungsstrate­gien. Berlin 2003: Sigma.

Bran­dl, Volk­er; Jöris­sen, Juliane; Kopfmüller, Jür­gen & Pae­tau, Michael: Das inte­gra­tive Konzept: Min­dest­be­din­gun­gen nach­haltiger Entwick­lung. Grun­wald, Armin; Coenen, Rein­hard; Nitsch, Joachim; Sydow, Achim & Wiede­mann, Peter (Ed.): Forschungswerk­statt Nach­haltigkeit. Wege zur Diag­nose und Ther­a­pie von Nach­haltigkeits­de­fiziten.. Berlin. Sig­ma, 2001, pp. 79–102

Bran­dl, V.; Grun­wald, A.; Heincke M.; Jöris­sen J.; Rösch Chr.; Stelz­er V.; Back­haus R.; Hen­nings W.; Keimel H.; Mertens J.; Mey­er B. Chr.; Pae­tau M.; Rose H.: Aus­gewählte Quer­schnitts­the­men nach­haltiger Entwick­lungedi­tion. Coenen, R.; Grun­wald, A. (Ed.): Nach­haltigkeit­sprob­leme in Deutsch­land. Analyse und Lösungsstrate­gien. (Glob­al zukun­fts­fähige Entwick­lung — Per­spek­tiv­en für Deutsch­land, Bd. 5). Berlin. Edi­tion Sig­ma, 2003, pp. 435–501

Bran­dl, V.; Grun­wald, A.; Jöris­sen J.; Kopfmüller J.; Pae­tau M.: Das inte­gra­tive Konzept nach­haltiger Entwick­lung. Coenen, R.; Grun­wald, A (Ed.): Nach­haltigkeit­sprob­leme in Deutsch­land. Analyse und Lösungsstrate­gien. (Glob­al zukun­fts­fähige Entwick­lung — Per­spek­tiv­en für Deutsch­land, Bd. 5). Berlin. Edi­tion Sig­ma, 2003, pp. 55–82

Fleis­ch­er, T.; Grun­wald, A.; Dip­polds­mann P.; Fug­ger W.-D.; Grutsch M.; Karg­er C.; Nitsch J.; Pae­tau M.; Pop­pen­berg A.: Nach­haltigkeitspoten­ziale von Schlüs­sel­tech­nolo­gien. Coenen, R.; Grun­wald, A (Ed.): Nach­haltigkeit­sprob­leme in Deutsch­land. Analyse und Lösungsstrate­gien. (Glob­al zukun­fts­fähige Entwick­lung — Per­spek­tiv­en für Deutsch­land, Bd. 5). Berlin. Edi­tion Sig­ma, 2003, pp. 353–434

Pae­tau, M.: Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Net­works and the Emer­gence of Knowl­edge. 3rd Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Socio­cy­ber­net­ics. Leon, Mex­i­co, 2001, June 25–30. : 2001

Kopfmüller, J.; Bran­dl, V.; Jöris­sen, J.; Pae­tau, M.; Banse, G.; Coenen, R.; Grun­wald, A.: Nach­haltige Entwick­lung inte­gra­tiv betra­chtet. Kon­sti­tu­tive Ele­mente, Regeln, Indika­toren. Berlin 2001: Sigma