The scientific discovery that chaotic systems embody deep structures of order is one of such wide-ranging implications that it has attracted attention across a spectrum of disciplines, including the humanities. In this volume, fourteen theorists explore the significance for literary and cultural studies of the new paradigm of chaotics, forging connections between contemporary literature and the science of chaos. They examine how changing ideas of order and disorder enable new readings of scientific and literary texts, from Newton's Principia to Ruskin's autobiography, from Victorian serial fiction to Borges's short stories.
N. Katherine Hayles traces shifts in meaning that chaos has undergone within the Western tradition, suggesting that the science of chaos articulates categories that cannot be assimilated into the traditional dichotomy of order and disorder. She and her contributors take the relation between order and disorder as a theme and develop its implications for understanding texts, metaphors, metafiction, audience response, and the process of interpretation itself. Their innovative and diverse work opens the interdisciplinary field of chaotics to literary inquiry.
Chaos of Disciplines
Andrew Abbott University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress HM585.A23 2001 | Dewey Decimal 301.01
In this vital new study, Andrew Abbott presents a fresh and daring analysis of the evolution and development of the social sciences. Chaos of Disciplines reconsiders how knowledge actually changes and advances. Challenging the accepted belief that social sciences are in a perpetual state of progress, Abbott contends that disciplines instead cycle around an inevitable pattern of core principles. New schools of thought, then, are less a reaction to an established order than they are a reinvention of fundamental concepts. Chaos of Disciplines uses fractals to explain the patterns of disciplines, and then applies them to key debates that surround the social sciences. Abbott argues that knowledge in different disciplines is organized by common oppositions that function at any level of theoretical or methodological scale. Opposing perspectives of thought and method, then, in fields ranging from history, sociology, and literature, are to the contrary, radically similar; much like fractals, they are each mutual reflections of their own distinctions.
Chaos On The Shop Floor
Tom Juravich Temple University Press, 1988 Library of Congress HD6957.U6J87 1985 | Dewey Decimal 331.25
"Juravich argues that problems in declining American productivity and competitiveness-often and conveniently blamed on workers-can be placed principally in the laps of management."
"[Juravich] provides valuable insights into the operations of a small manufacturing firm, emphasizing the role of worker â€˜tradecraft' practiced on the job.... Of greatest interest to institutions with strong sociology/industrial psychology holdings serving upper-division and graduate students, but also relevant for libraries serving vocational and technical students."
From his well-placed vantage point, Juravich has produced an interesting and valuable ethnography of factory life in the industrial periphery.... I recommend this book to those interested in the sociology of work. It is written clearly and straightforwardly, and it is well suited for undergraduate or graduate courses.
Originally Published by Scholars Press Now Available from Duke University Press
A fresh look at Genesis 1:11 from the perspectives of comparative literature and cultural anthropology. Susan Niditch reveals how Hebrew narratives of chaos, creation, and cosmos structure a mythic-literary world and create an order for human existence. Both the scholar and the student will find Niditch’s imaginative interpretation illuminating.
In the post-Soviet era, democracy has made little progress in Central Asia. In Chaos, Violence, Dynasty, Eric McGlinchey presents a compelling comparative study of the divergent political courses taken by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan in the wake of Soviet rule. McGlinchey examines economics, religion, political legacies, foreign investment, and the ethnicity of these countries to evaluate the relative success of political structures in each nation.
McGlinchey explains the impact of Soviet policy on the region, from Lenin to Gorbachev. Ruling from a distance, a minimally invasive system of patronage proved the most successful over time, but planted the seeds for current “neo-patrimonial” governments. The level of direct Soviet involvement during perestroika was the major determinant in the stability of ensuing governments. Soviet manipulations of the politics of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in the late 1980s solidified the role of elites, while in Kyrgyzstan the Soviets looked away as leadership crumbled during the ethnic riots of 1990. Today, Kyrgyzstan is the poorest and most politically unstable country in the region, thanks to a small, corrupt, and fractured political elite. In Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov maintains power through the brutal suppression of disaffected Muslims, who are nevertheless rising in numbers and influence. In Kazakhstan, a political machine fueled by oil wealth and patronage underlies the greatest economic equity in the region, and far less political violence.
McGlinchey’s timely study calls for a more realistic and flexible view of the successful aspects of authoritarian systems in the region that will be needed if there is to be any potential benefit from foreign engagement with the nations of Central Asia, and similar political systems globally.
"Put together one of the world's best science writers with one of the universe's most fascinating subjects and you are bound to produce a wonderful book. . . . The subject of complexity is vital and controversial. This book is important and beautifully done."—Stephen Jay Gould
"[Complexity] is that curious mix of complication and organization that we find throughout the natural and human worlds: the workings of a cell, the structure of the brain, the behavior of the stock market, the shifts of political power. . . . It is time science . . . thinks about meaning as well as counting information. . . . This is the core of the complexity manifesto. Read it, think about it . . . but don't ignore it."—Ian Stewart, Nature
This second edition has been brought up to date with an essay entitled "On the Edge in the Business World" and an interview with John Holland, author of Emergence: From Chaos to Order.
Fought in the wake of a decade of armed struggle against colonialism, the Mozambican civil war lasted from 1977 to 1992, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives while displacing millions more. As conflicts across the globe span decades and generations, Stephen C. Lubkemann suggests that we need a fresh perspective on war when it becomes the context for normal life rather than an exceptional event that disrupts it. Culture in Chaos calls for a new point of departure in the ethnography of war that investigates how the inhabitants of war zones live under trying new conditions and how culture and social relations are transformed as a result.
Lubkemann focuses on how Ndau social networks were fragmented by wartime displacement and the profound effect this had on gender relations. Demonstrating how wartime migration and post-conflict return were shaped by social struggles and interests that had little to do with the larger political reasons for the war, Lubkemann contests the assumption that wartime migration is always involuntary. His critical reexamination of displacement and his engagement with broader theories of agency and social change will be of interest to anthropologists, political scientists, historians, and demographers, and to anyone who works in a war zone or with refugees and migrants.
Winner of the Charles H. Cooley Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction.
Richard G. Mitchell Jr. spent more than a dozen years among survivalists at public conferences, private meetings, and clandestine training camps across America. He takes us inside a compelling, hidden world more connected to the chaos of modern life many of us experience than the label "separatist" suggests. In survivalism Mitchell found a profound and meaningful critique of contemporary industrial society, a subculture in which the real evil is not repressive government but the far more insidious influence of a "Planet Microsoft" mentality with its abundance of empty choices. Survivalists, Mitchell shows us, are seeking resistance, not struggling against it; they are looking for ways to define themselves and test their talents in a society that is becoming devitalized and formless.
Chaos theory has captured scientific and popular attention. What began as the discovery of randomness in simple physical systems has become a widespread fascination with "chaotic" models of everything from business cycles to brainwaves to heart attacks. But what exactly does this explosion of new research into chaotic phenomena mean for our understanding of the world? In this timely book, Stephen Kellert takes the first sustained look at the broad intellectual and philosophical questions raised by recent advances in chaos theory—its implications for science as a source of knowledge and for the very meaning of that knowledge itself.
Joyce, Chaos, and Complexity
Thomas Jackson Rice University of Illinois Press, 1997 Library of Congress PR6019.O9Z78455 1997 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
Thomas Rice compellingly argues that James Joyce's work resists postmodernist approaches of ambiguity: Joyce never abandoned his conviction that reality exists, regardless of the human ability to represent it.
Placing Joyce in his cultural context, Rice first traces the influence of Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries on Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. He then demonstrates that, when later innovations in science transformed entire worldviews, Joyce recognized conventional literary modes of representation as offering only arbitrary constructions of this reality. Joyce responded in Ulysses by experimenting with perspective, embedding design, and affirming the existence of reality. Rice contends that Ulysses presages the multiple tensions of chaos theory; likewise, chaos theory can serve as a model for understanding Ulysses. In Finnegans Wake Joyce consummates his vision and anticipates the theories of complexity science through a dynamic approximation of reality.
The stories in Out of Chaos forms a profound testament to lost and found lives that are translated into compelling reading. The collection illuminates brief or elongated moments, fragments of memory and experience, what the great Holocaust writer Ida Fink called “a scrap of time.” In all, the anthology expresses survivors’ memories and reactions to a wide range of experiences as they survived in so many European settings, from Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia, Poland, and France.
The writers recall being on the run between different countries, escaping over mountains, hiding and even sometimes forgetting their Jewish identities in convents and rescuers’ homes and hovels, basements and attics. Some were left on their own; others found themselves embroiled in rescuer family conflicts. Some writers chose to write story clusters, each one capturing a moment or incident and often disconnected by memory or temporal and spatial divides.
Did human evolution proceed in an inevitable fashion? Can we attribute our origins solely to natural selection, or were more mischievous forces at work?
These are the questions investigated by anthropologist Jeff McKee. He argues that if we were to wind back the clock to our split from ancestral apes, evolution would proceed differently. Ever since our ancestors first stood up on two feet, natural selection undoubtedly was an important factor in guiding human evolution. But McKee shakes the standard notion that natural selection steered early hominids toward particular environmental adaptations. The fossil remains of our ancestors reveal a different story one of an adaptable hominid with no particular direction. It becomes clear that the evolutionary road to Homo sapiens was not paved solely by natural selection; indeed, there was no road to follow. There was just a dim path cut out by prehistoric coincidences and contingencies. Had any link in the evolutionary chain of events been slightly different, then our species would not be as it is today . . . or our ancestors may not have survived at all.
With equal doses of humor and awe, McKee illustrates how the chain of evolution has been riddled by chance, coincidence, and chaos. He uses familiar examples, noting that many of us exist as individuals because of chance meetings of our parents. From the present back through prehistory, chance is at the heart of our creationÑas is chaos. The classic example of chaos is the butterfly effect: a single butterfly, flapping its wings, causes a tiny change in the atmosphere, which in turn amplifies to affect the course of storms on another continent. McKee ties such examples of unpredictability to fossil evidence and computer simulations, revealing the natural coincidences that shaped our evolution. Although chaos exacted an evolutionary price by limiting the powers of natural selection, it also made us what we are. One can only conclude that human beings were neither inevitable nor probable.
Singing the Chaos: Madness and Wisdom in Modern Poetry combines both a historical and a critical approach toward the works of major British, American, French, German, and Russian poets. Comprehensive in scope and arranged chronologically to survey a century of high poetic achievement, the study is unified by Pratt's overriding argument that "modern poets have endowed a disintegrating civilization with humane wisdom by 'singing the chaos' that surrounds them, making ours a great age in spite of itself."
In developing this central theme, Pratt brings alive the energy, the freshness, and the originality of technique that made Baudelaire, Pound, Yeats, Rilke, Eliot, and others the initiators of the revolution in poetry. He brings a more complete, clearer perspective to other major themes: modernism as an age of irony; poets as both madmen and geniuses; the modern poet as tragic hero; the dominance of religious or visionary truths over social or political issues; and the combination of radical experiments in poetic form with an apocalyptic view of Western civilization. His detailed treatment of the Fugitive poets and his recognition of their prominent role in twentieth-century literature constitute an important historical revision.
Brilliantly informed, insightful, and, above all, accurately sympathetic to the points of view of the poets Pratt presents, Singing the Chaos is that rare book that belongs on all shelves devoted to modernist poetry.
One of the ways that people—voters, other politicians, and members of the media—have dealt with the rise of Donald Trump has been to dismiss him as an outlier, treating his irrationality, cruelty, and bombast as marks of his own character rather than signs of anything larger. Lawrence Grossberg’s Under the Cover of Chaos makes that argument impossible. In damning detail, Grossberg here lays bare the deep roots of Trumpism in the broader history of postwar US conservatism.
Rather than a break with some imagined pure, nuanced conservatism, Grossberg shows, Trump’s manic nonsense is actually a continuation, the result of a long struggle between the new right and the reactionary right. What is new, he shows, is that the reactionary right has been legitimated—and has brought its political strategy of sowing chaos into the heart of mainstream politics. From there, Grossberg goes on to analyze the national mood—and to explain how that plays out in the actions of both Trump supporters and opponents—and lays out a possible nightmare future: a vision of a political system controlled by corporate interests, built on a deliberate dismantling of modern politics.