This paper proposes that society, culture, and the economy can be understood by taking a transdisciplinary approach to social ontology. Using the framework of the complex adaptive systems model, it proposes that culture is emergent from social and environmental interaction. Embedded in each transaction is an element of interpretation, evaluation, and negotiation. With each transaction, there is a continual reinterpretation, renegotiation, and reevaluation, however small or large, of social structure. Even if the result is no change, reinterpretation, renegotiation, and reevaluation takes place. Thus, there is a continual emergence of social constructions, culture, economy, and social structure.
This theory of cultural ontology, and as a byproduct the ontology of society, the economy, and other social institutions and structures, is grounded in several diverse disciplines. By combining the work of theorists from several different disciplines, a new perspective on social ontology can be developed. These disciplines include complexity science, Mead’s social theory, Dewey and Bentley’s transactional strategy, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Strauss’ negotiated order theory, Bruner’s folk psychology, Giddens structuration theory, and Ricoeur’s interpretation theory.
|Keywords:||Social Ontology, Transaction, Negotiation, Emergence, Cultural Ontology|
Assistant Professor of Business, Social Sciences Division, McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas, USA