My research interests include institutional, and change dynamics, responses to anomalies and how they may interact and enact change within groups, and large institutuions such as the military, parasociology, and direct experimentation with social psi.
I am currently conducting research on developing indicators to identify initial conditions favoring institutional change.
Armed forces as institutions are well-known for resisting change, and yet change does occur in military institutions. The institutional theory literature emphasizes that change is mostly exogenous, imposed by external forces such as government changes, social changes, technological changes, etc. Yet, certain institutional changes appear to be also endogenous, namely they are initiated from within the institution without apparent external pressure to do so (Castoriadis 1997).
A case in point is the pro-active and permanent change and questioning found in most Special Operations Forces (SOF) organizations. Yet, the SOF community within the military institution can be considered as an anomaly in itself, and an organization dealing with anomalies; namely new and non-standard missions and challenges. Frictions with anomalies seem to be a critical element for favoring endogenous institutional change (Ermakoff 2014).
Most of the research on endogenous institutional change has been developed out of economic theory, while the sociological dynamics of endogenous institutional change remains embryonic for the most part (Kaufman 2004).
Similar observations have been made about the study of military institutions, and it was suggested that non-linear approaches linked to complexity theories might be fruitful (Boëne 2008). Furthermore, anomalies are better explained by non-linear conceptual models in the study of organizations (Gummesson 2007). Among the non-linear theories to study endogenous institutional change stands the concepts and notions emerging from Chaos Theory, positing that change dynamics can be only mapped after the fact, but particular initial conditions allowing change to occur can be identified (Farazmand 2003). It is such initial conditions in social systems that produce anomalies (or unexpected results) while being compared to other identical circumstances (Gregersen & Sailer 1993).
Unfortunately, most empirical studies of organizations and institutions, based on notions from Chaos Theory, are mostly using such notion in a metaphorical way (Ng 2009), and have not operationalize it to any substantive extent within qualitative sociological frameworks (Morçöl 2005).
As part of ongoing researches on institutional dynamics and change dynamics, a requirement emerged to survey the initial conditions that have the potential to sustain institutional change and innovation. This has allowed for the development of qualitative empirical indicators going beyond a simple metaphorical use of the notion from Chaos Theory. I have focused on identifying these indicators through previous empirical case figures where anomalies are altering initial conditions in an observable way.
I am concurrently conducting a series of independant experiments based in part on the work of the late mathematician, Dr A.R.G Owen and psychotherapist Dr. Joel Whitton that will be the focus of a planned future book on UFOs, social PSI, and Magick. I am exploring the topic of UFOs using alternative and innovative lenses.
I am also researching the Benandanti (Good Walkers) of North Eastern Italy, and hope to expand on the pioneering work of historian Carlo Ginzburg. The Benandanti were a Pagan group of men and women that have their origins in central Europe including Hungary and Germany. The Benandanti were a sort of warrior "stregha " that was persecuted by the Inquisition during the 1500s for witchcraft. They saw themselves and what they did (shamanic travels, rituals, communing with faeries) as a means of protecting their villages from negative influences, and would do battle with "evil witches" in the sky. There is, in my opinion, some potential links with these ancient Pagan warriors, and more modern sky anomalies.
Boëne, Bernard. "Method and Substance in the Military Field." Archives Européennes De Sociologie 49, no. 3 (12, 2008): 367-398.
Castoriadis, Cornelius. The Imaginary Institution of Society (trans. Kathleen Blamey), Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997.
Ermakoff, Ivan. "Exceptional Cases: Epistemic Contributions and Normative Expectations." Archives Européennes De Sociologie 55, no. 2 (08, 2014): 223-243.
Farazmand, Ali. "Chaos and Transformation Theories: A Theoretical Analysis with Implications for Organization Theory and Public Management." Public Organization Review 3, no. 4 (12, 2003): 339-372.
Gregersen, Hal and Lee Sailer. "Chaos Theory and its Implications for Social Science Research." Human Relations 46, no. 7 (07, 1993): 777-802.
Gummesson, Evert. "Case Study Research and Network Theory: Birds of a Feather." Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management 2, no. 3 (2007): 226-248.
Kaufman, Jason. "Endogenous explanation in the sociology of culture." Annual Review of Sociology 30, (2004): 335-357.
Ng, Pak Tee. "Examining the use of New Science Metaphors in the Learning Organisation." The Learning Organization 16, no. 2 (2009): 168-180.
Morçöl, Göktug. "A new systems thinking: Implications of the sciences of complexity for public policy and administration." Public Administration Quarterly 29, no. 3 (Fall, 2005): 297-320.