escribes two types of systems: open systems and closed systems. The open systems are systems that allow interactions between their internal elements and the environment. An open system is defined as a “system in exchange of matter with its environment, presenting import and export, building-up and breaking-down of its material components.”1 Closed systems, on the other hand, are held to be isolated from their environment. Equilibrium thermodynamics, for example, is a field of study that applies to closed systems.

The idea of open systems was further developed in systems theory.

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Contents hide
1 Social science
2 Anthropology
3 Linguistics
4 History
5 Philosophy
6 Sociology
7 See also
8 References
Social scienceedit
In social sciences, schematically, if there is an interaction or feedback loop between ideal and material or subjective and objective then the system is an open system, otherwise it is a closed system. A closed system offers a deterministic relationship. René Descartes’ view of a Cartesian subject as a determining agent, detached from nature, is a closed system. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s view of the world that the idea determines the being is another example of a closed system. Raymond Williams’ open-ended approach and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice suggest non-deterministic relationships and are thus open systems. Schematically, closed systems are the sphere of being, identity, theory, molar, information, normal, and past. Open systems offer becoming, difference, practice, molecular, noise, pathological, and present. In short, systems theory in social sciences is basically closing the gap between phenomenology and structuralism and instead searching for embedded hermeneutics in which the subject is not cut off from a society but weaved in a social context. Once the Cartesian subject, who imposed mental concepts on reality, is flattened out, then the task is how to actualize materiality.

One possible way of describing the non-subject-centered view of the world is through the organization. According to Gregory Bateson, “Relationship could be used as basis for definition.”2 That is, instead of signifying things under the blanket terms, the thing should be described the way it is organized in a complex relationship. In other words, materiality should not be represented by us but through us.who? In social science, the network approach has been increasingly becoming popular to undertake such kind of non-representational framework. It flattens out the representational systems that have become deterministic. The interconnection automatically reveals spaces that are left unconnected or silenced under the abstract machine of signifiers. The study produced with this connection is a mere description of a complexity that is characteristic of a society. There is no politics involved in this. Politics implies categories and naming, which according to Bateson, is always classifying and thus reducing complexity of organization. “The organization of living things depends upon circular and more complex chains of determination.”3 The interconnection of things thus becomes a new way of understanding the reality. Walter Benjamin’s montage, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s assemblage, and Humberto Maturana’s autopoiesis suggest that things should not be seen in terms of their functionality or physical properties but rather the relationship, circularity, or networks serve as


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