Tag Archives: social memory

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.

Histories and memories of the school during the Estado Novo period in Portugal.

A look into the sociodynamics of Moles and the social memory of Halbwachs

Starting from the thesis that social memory is sociodynamic and that remembrance reflects asocio-spatial-temporal mnemonic movement of biographical events, we propose reflections on how schooltime memories manifest themselves and what meanings are attributed to them. From semi-structured inter-views applied in 2017 to teachers who taught during Estado Novo, we call upon qualitative analysis for thetreatment of collected data. The narratives revealed that the memories emerge paradoxically nostalgic andcritical to the contexts associated with the Regime, announcing a narrative in constant dialogue of the pastwith the present, especially regarding the notion of authority and the teacher-student relationship.

Full text available: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/360576653_Historias_e_Memorias_da_Escola_do_Tempo_do_Estado_Novo_em_Portugal_Um_olhar_sob_a_perspectiva_sociodinamica_de_Moles_e_da_Memoria_Social_de_Halbwachs

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