Category Archives: Billets

The still contemporary “Sociodynamique de la Culture” (Abraham Moles, 1967)

Moles, A. (1967). Sociodynamique de la Culture. Mouton

By Rooney Pinto

Abraham Moles’s 1967 work “Sociodynamic of Culture” offers a comprehensive framework for understanding the dynamic interplay between cultural phenomena and social structures. This groundbreaking approach aimed to unravel the mechanisms that govern the creation, dissemination, and evolution of cultural elements within a society.

Moles proposed that culture is not a static entity but a dynamic system that is in a state of constant flux, influenced by various social, economic, and technological factors, and vice versa. His approach is predicated on a sociodynamic view of culture, which posits that culture is subject to various phenomena simultaneously, while also being reflected in them. As he stated: En d’autres termes, il est possible de suggérer une sociodynamique représentant une action non pas sur l’évolution de la société culturelle mais une action sur la culture elle-même. (Moles, 1967/1971, p.287)*

According to Moles, the cultural artefacts, such as art, literature, and music, are not merely the products of individual creativity but are shaped by the collective consciousness of a society. Cultural phenomena, therefore, emerge from the interactions between individuals, groups, and institutions, forming a complex web of influence and exchange.

Furthermore, Moles emphasized the importance of considering the temporal dimension in studying cultural dynamics. He recognized that cultural trends and patterns evolve, subject to the forces of innovation, diffusion, and obsolescence. By analyzing the life cycles of cultural elements, from their emergence to their eventual decline or transformation, Moles aimed to uncover the underlying social processes that drive cultural change and continuity. Notably, the author expresses concern about the potential impact of new technologies on the radio industry, particularly in the work’s timeframe. At the same time, he highlights the potential threat posed by television, which he views as a constant competitor to radio. Additionally, he draws attention to the manipulation of information dissemination through technology.

Moles’ theory was a product of his interdisciplinary approach, drawing inspiration from various fields such as sociology, anthropology, and cybernetics. He skillfully incorporated concepts like information theory and systems thinking to develop a unified framework for understanding the dynamics of cultural systems. As depicted in the following diagram from his book, Moles conceptualized culture as a complex network of interconnected elements, where each element influences and is influenced by different aspects.

Moles’s pioneering work laid the groundwork for a new paradigm in cultural studies, sparking a wave of research into the sociodynamics of culture. His ideas continue to shape our understanding of the emergence, evolution, and impact of cultural phenomena on societies, offering a more comprehensive and dynamic perspective on the interaction between culture and social structures.

*Moles, A. (1971). Sociodynamique de la Culture. Mouton (Original work published 1967)

Social Dynamics or Sociodynamics?

Social dynamics and sociodynamics are similar concepts, but they differ in some key ways. Social dynamics focuses on understanding how individuals interact within social groups, and how those interactions shape the overall behavior of the group. Sociodynamics takes a broader view, and studies the patterns and trends in social behavior over time, including the impact of social, economic, and political factors on those trends. Sociodynamics also looks at the systemic and structural factors that influence social behavior, rather than just focusing on individual interactions. So, while social dynamics is more micro, sociodynamics is more macro.

What are the consequences of not using validated descriptors in the paper?

While it is common practice in the health field to use validated descriptors available in thesauri or glossaries, in other fields it is apparent that researchers use the terms they feel are most appropriate. By ignoring accepted terminology, their work may fall off the radar of database searches. An example of this is the choice of keywords that are not associated with validated descriptors. As a direct consequence, literature reviews in some areas, particularly in the social sciences, may produce results with increasing levels of error. I believe that this issue should be the subject of further reflection and debate.

Memory policies and memory pedagogy

Can we affirm that memory policies pave the way for the establishment of memory pedagogy in school activities?

Memory policies promote places, monuments and even objects as memorial records of a past that should be remembered and celebrated as registers of a culture and identity. Through activities framed in pedagogies of memory, schools insert in their didactic activities the visit to places of memory. But is the pedagogy of memory dependent on memory policies established in educational policies or encouraged by national educational strategies? Can we say that memory policies pave the way to the establishment of memory pedagogy in school activities?

Education and politics of memory

Politics of memory at the school

Although this is not a new theme, the phenomena of “memory manipulation” and “politics of memory” always seem current to us. Even though they are different terms, they are close from a semantic point of view. Memory policies resort to manipulating memory using conditioning actions that, in some aspects, recall Skinner’s reinforcement schemes. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes have adopted this strategy in the iconography of classrooms and the contents of school textbooks. Thus, we can point to the school as a space where the propaganda of non-democratic political regimes intensified their politics of memory? Can the same phenomenon also be observed in democratic regimes?

Memory – School Policy – Propaganda – Advertisement – Education – History – Social Control Policies

Sociodynamique de la Culture

Can we talk about a new “Sociodynamique de la Culture”?

The publication of Abraham Moles’ “Sociodynamique de la Culture” in 1967 sparked new reflections on the relationship between the person, society and the modes of mass communication. Moles highlighted the intense relationship between the individual, his culture and the dynamics that develop around it. His approach to sociodynamic theory applied to message transfer reminded us about the dynamic and social processes that interfere with how a message is sent, interpreted, registered and shared. Although his work focused on radio and television, we could apply the same principles (with some breadth) to digital media. Nevertheless, how could we speak of a new Sociodynamique de la Culture in the current context? What new reflections can we draw from Moles’s sociodynamic theory?

Moles – Mass Communication – Television – Publication

Context and memory narratives

How does the context influence memory narratives?

The memories of the events, biographical or not, are reconstructed in the memory narratives. In this way, the recollection, or at least, the recollection narrative is influenced by the context (past and present). But, how does the context influence the registration of the biographical event and the narrative of remembrance? How can Context Theory help us to understand the influence of time on narratives?

Narrative Memory Discourse Contextual Research

Biographical memory and narrative memory

Can non-biographical memory become biographical memory as it is absorbed and reconstructed in the narrative of memory?

The narrative of memory dialogues with the ‘time of the ‘experience recorded’ and the ‘time of the narrative of remembrance’. Paul Ricoeur in “Time and Narrative” indicates the paradoxalities of the hermeneutic circle between the act of narrating the fact (remembered) and temporal dynamics. What can be understood about the plasticity of time in the dialogues of memory? Something that Ricoeur himself will later explore in “Memory, History and Forgetting”. But would this temporal plasticity be a relevant factor in the transformation of non-biographical memory into biographical memory?

Memory Narrative Hermeneutics Narration

Memory in permanent sociodynamic movement?

Memory as a social and cognitive sense of the past in the present reveals that the established paradigm of knowledge of the past interferes in the experience of the present (Connerton, 1989; Le Goff, 1977). The sense or meaning of the past in the present, particularly through the narratives of memory (recollections) expose a dichotomous and constant dynamic between remembering and forgetting. In this sense, can we understand memory as a social and cognitive dynamic in permanent sociodynamic movement?