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Social Transmutation Conference

Details of possible themes (Part #1)


Revised description of a conference to be organized (Paris, June 1975) by Société Internationale des Conseillers de Synthèse under the auspices of Mankind 2000 [PDF version of original]. Earlier PDF versions as: Proposed Conference Series on Social Catalysis (Revised notes 6-8, February 1974), Proposed Conference Series on Social Engineering (Preliminary notes 1-5, November 1973). A final variant subsequently appeared as World Forum for Social Innovation: Provisional Programme : Social Engineering; Human Resource Development; Social Catalysis; Human Development; Social Transmutation ? (1976).
General points concerning selections of papers
Pre-conference report: detailed explanation of contents
Interaction between social transmutation methods
Approaches to social transmutation and the supportive technologies required
3.1. Transmutation of concepts and attitudes
3.2. Transmutation of information systems
3.3. Transmutation of social organizations and services
3.4. Transmutation of building complexes
3.5. Transmutation of technology-based systems
3.6. Transmutation of funding systems
3.7. Transmutation of legislative networks
3.8. Personal development

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Relationship between themes
Relationship between themes of social transmutation conference
General points concerning selections of papers
  1. Preference will be given to papers which argue from working working examples to general principles rather than to those which are primarily descriptive or primarily theoretical. Of greatest value are papers which present "generalize blueprints" which can be widely distributed for use by and within communities.
  2. Clearly the range of tonics covered by the pre-conference papers will be large. To be most useful, papers should guard against excessive detail and attempt to supply a sense of perspective over the range of possibilities, alternative and constraints in relation to a particular approach. In some cases this can be achieved by producing summary or review articles. (These have been indicated in the detailed description of the pre-conference report.) A sense of the interrelationshipbetween approaches is particularly valuable.
  3. Papers should, where possible, drew on the successes and failures of the centralized, high-resource projectscharacteristic of social change in the past,in which the policyand implementation process was distant from the individual's sense of involvement.
  4. Papers should concentrate on feasible social change projects which have involve minimum resources consistent with an optimum multiplier effect.
  5. It is not implied that the methods which can be advocated are value free. Nor is it implied that some of them cannot be abused. It is suggested, however, that by stressing the use of low-resource, decentralized open projects, the people-oriented methods are then at the disposal of people who are themselves part of the community in which they propose to facilitate social transmutation and according to their own perception of the problem. Each method can be used to advance any value or political position by orienting the debateto toolsaccessible to social activists and their organizations, the possibility of exploitative use is minimized.
  6. Papers should draw attention to the relationship between the user's own concept structure, the sort of problems it enables him to perceive, and how it influences positively or negatively his choice of social change method, his attention to side-effects, and his ability to relate to other bodies, possibly using different methods.
  7. Papers should objectify the responsibility questions with which the user of a particular method should be concerned, so that there is no illusion that use of a method is value for or wholly beneficial, and that the responsibility for these evaluations lies with the user.
  8. Papers should draw attention to how the use for the social change method affects the person, particularly the interface between the person and the method in action.
  9. Usually problems stimulate an almost automatic and unthinking response which takes the form of meetings, campaigns, information systems, organizations. Papers should attempt to demystify and objectify the choice of appropriate method so that this can be made more intelligently and creatively, and with greater effect for the resources available.
  10. Papers should draw attention to the conditions in which the methods should or should not be applied - namely their "operating characteristics in terms of the certain" (i.e. there is no point in using tropical material in polar conditions).
  11. Special attention should be drawn to - how centralized or decentralized - how open or closed - how non directive or directivea particular method can usefully be. Papers should draw attention to unforeseen and undesirable effects which arise when an otherwise successful method is employed ontoo large (or too small a scale).
  12. Papers should preferably come from "interface people", namely those who function on the interface between research, policy determination and practical implementation.
  13. The methods advocated should catalyze or facilitate the growth of new relationships or the resuscitation of relationships which have deteriorated to a rudimentary level. They should be concernedprimaly with horizontal rather than vertical relationships, namely new patterns of cross-jurisdictional, cross-disciplinery and cross-functional contact.
rns of cross-jurisdictional, cross-disciplinery and cross-functional contact.

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