Keyword - Sympoiesis
- This introduction is based on a text by Otto van Nieuwenhuijze and John Wood written in 2006
- Download original article - SYMPOIESIS and SYNERGY
What's Wrong With The Term "Co-Authorship"?
- Deliberate paradigm change may not work without trying to change some/all of the prevailing ‘realities’ and discourses upon which it thrives.
- Co-authorship sometimes feels uncomfortable when it challenges the beliefs, assumptions (one or more) of the collaborators.
- In extreme cases, this challenge may make one, or both, collaborators question their self-identity, when something they had never thought about is in conflict with a belief they held dear.
- On the other hand, the professional task of 'co-authorship' often refers to an impersonal/hierarchical process of editing.
- Sympoiesis (see also structural coupling) refers to the sharing of the process of autopoiesis (lit. 'self-creation').
- We found that it encourages the re-languaging process.
- It also encourages co-authors to revise their understanding in partnership.
- Sympoiesis in co-authorship depends on the willingness of collaborators to change.
- It can be applied in developing teams or networks.
Co-authorship is Sympoietic under the following conditions:
- 1. It is synergistic - i.e. when writing transcends what each co-author previously achieved
- 2. It is novel - i.e. when the outcome surprises and pleases each co-author
- 3. It is interoperable - i.e. when the outcome is re-workable by each co-author
- 4. It enhances bonding - i.e. when the co-authorship process also reciprocally sustains the relationship between the authors'.
It is useful to regard sympoiesis as a type of symbiosis (see, for example, Margulis, 1998) as both are special forms of synergy pertaining to living organisms. Scientists usually categorise the 'cost-benefits' using only five categories:
These make for a rather imprecise and misleading mapping of how organisms interact because they reflect a concern that is more biological, than ecological. For example, the term 'exploitative' (3) would include both 'parasitic coupling' and 'predator-prey coupling within the same category. While the table (below) uses the 5 categories it also acknowledges benefits or disadvantages to the (ecological) neighbourhood that is affected by these couplings.
Table 2: Relative benefit/loss chart for different types of coupling