社会が複雑であるとはどういうことか? : 社会と個体の関わりについての問題提起 [in Japanese] What Does It Mean a Society to be Complex? : Questions about Relationship between Society and Individual [in Japanese]
Access this Article
Search this Article
When we say something is ‘complex,’ we may define its complexity in terms of 1) the number of its components, 2) the number of kinds of components, 3) the number of connections among components, 4) the number of kinds of connections, or 5) strata of such connections. This means that we can only define and treat complexity by decomposing the thing to its components. Contradictorily, however, the most evident characteristics of complex systems, such as society, are not usually simple sum of their components. When ‘social complexity’ of primates or other animals is discussed, its presupposed components are, in most cases, individuals. In this paper, I aim to introduce the current situation in primatology where ‘social complexity’ society is often reduced into sum of individual behaviors, and then I will raise a problem in relation to individuals and the society. By doing so, I would like to relativize the predominant standpoint that easily presumes ‘autonomous’ individuals in a society. In the predominant standpoint, infants are often measured as pre-social existence because they are usually attached to their mothers and do not often actively perform social behaviors such as grooming. Thus they are placed peripheral to the social network and are often said 'dependent' to their mothers. However, it is evident that even infants have various means to interact socially with other individuals. Their social interactions may be different from adult conspecifics to some extent, but they are not pre-social or incomplete beings. Although we are tempted to view society as a sum of autonomous individuals or their behaviors, society has its own autonomy. In addition to this, it is essential to understand society in the ‘historical’ current, in which individuals and their relationships are always embedded.
- Primate Research
Primate Research 26(2), 131-142, 2010-12-20
Primate Society of Japan