When I first began commenting on other peoples’ blogs ten years ago, I did not have one of my own. When asked why by like-minded commenters I’d recently befriended, I said that everything I’d written was in an academic format or style. Their response was that was exactly what was missing from our conversations.
Since then, I’ve developed a new style in my many blogs that incorporates notable academic contributions to our conversations by scholars near and far. Some of these scholars are focused on indigenous studies, and others are engaged in theories and reflections about social relations that include both indigenous peoples and settler societies.
One of the most interesting papers I’ve come across in comprehending our changing world is Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks: A Framework About Societal Evolution by David F. Ronfeldt. In his 1996 paper, Ronfeldt — then Senior Social Scientist at RAND — examined the challenges and dynamics embedded in combining forms of organization, and proposed a new epoch of conflict and cooperation.
A key proposition about the information revolution, said Ronfeldt, was that it favors and strengthens network forms of organization, and that power and influence at that time appeared to be migrating toward making life difficult for traditional hierarchies. Indeed, he proposed the trend in 1996 augured major social and political transformations.
For those who wish to explore ideas about cooperation and coexistence within an ongoing conflict between the four forms defined by Ronfeldt, this paper serves as a reliable guide. How we apply these ideas is up to us.
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