Science As a Self-Organizing Institution
Nothing is as confusing and confused as institutions are in Sociology. Are they rules? Who creates them? Why do autonomous agents follow them? Who enforces them? Do they emerge spontaneously? Or deliberately? Are they organizations? What are organizations, if not a mere set of rules? The more questions, the more confusion!
1. A preliminary thought experiment
My metaphor for institutions is that of a tunnel. It could very well be a natural tunnel emerging from millions of years of rock erosion but considered a purpose-built two-way traffic tunnel, yet which way the traffic should follow is not indicated – at least at the end of the tunnel where I am waiting in my Tata. If you are like me – from Pakistan, you know from experience that outgoing traffic flows on the left and incoming traffic flows on the right. The only information I am sure of is that I am in the USA, and the traffic rules might differ. I can act bold, but my gut feeling is I will run into an accident. An additional hindrance is that the tunnel is dark, and my car has no headlights. I wait for someone else to go first, and lucky me, someone in a Buick does show up and enters the tunnel like they know something. I follow their lead.
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The earthquake that devasted Turkey (and Syria) on 6 February 2023 also coincided with an election year where Erdogan is struggling to maintain his grip on power amidst mounting discomfort over his government’s increasing authoritarianism, economic mismanagement, and rampant allegations of corruption at the municipal level. The recent Twitter outage suggests that the Turkish government is not feeling secure at the moment. Could this disaster be the last nail in his coffin or a respite for his dying regime? I’ll answer this question based on existing research on natural disasters’ effects on incumbent survival.
Continue reading “Erdogan’s Survival amidst the Earthquake”
“ The concept ‘ideology’ reflects the one discovery which emerged from political conflict, namely, that ruling groups can in their thinking be come so intensively interest-bound to a situation that they are simply no longer able to see certain facts which would undermine their sense of domination. There is implicit in the word ‘ideology’ the insight that in certain situations the collective unconscious of certain groups obscures the real condition of society both to itself and to others and thereby stabilizes it. Continue reading “Karl Mannheim / Ideology and Utopia”
“… even when the great civilizations developed, they set their bound aries somewhere.
…. the Chinese Empire had no Foreign Affairs Department, since it was civilization, and all else barbarism – they recognized the existence of life beyond the lines, but only barbarian life.
The line where civilization ended was patrolled by armed men, guarded by Roman and Chinese walls. As to what lay beyond, they were not too interested…”
— Worsley, Peter. (1967). The Third World.
Shahzeb Khanzada presented a cogent and historically informed analysis of fascism in his program on April 22, 2022, which provoked an immediate reaction. Interestingly, he did not name any (Pakistani) names, but it was immediately understood on both sides to whom he was referring. There is one man whose politics fits the bill – and we all know who he is. Some folk protested Khanzada’s mordant analogy citing their leader never committed the mass atrocities fascists did in the past. They are wrong. Fascism should not be reduced to Nazism. Fascism is far broader than a single historical case; fascism is a state of mind.
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Autocratic leaders love Presidential System – and Imran Khan is no exception. Pakistan has witnessed a consistent deterioration of democracy and fundamental rights quality during his nearly four years-long stint. He has touted Presidential System on many occasions while in power. Now that he has been ousted through a constitutional process by an active parliament, he has once again tried to discredit the Parliamentary System to preach a transition to a Presidential System. His logic? A Presidential System bars dishonest politicians from holding power. The reality? Such a system is potential autocrats’ personal favorite.
Continue reading “Imran Khan and Presidential System: What’s lurking behind an apparently innocent desire?”