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Heinz von Foerster 100
Organizing Institutions:
Heinz von Foerster Gesellschaft / Wien
ASC – American Society for Cybernetics
WISDOM – Wiener Institut für
  sozialwissenschaftliche Dokumentation und Methodik

Institut für Zeitgeschichte | Universität Wien
AINS – Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies
Paul C. Schroeder

Community self-discovery: identities and complexity

The concept of community self-discovery will be presented within a frame that reflects Heinz von Foerster's assertion that "reality = community."

Attempts to define community must recognize the dynamic character and varieties of situation and social scale that communities express. This complexity increases in that the individuals who compose the community also create and maintain their own self-definitions, reflecting in some measure the definitions of the communities of which they are a part.

While some communities are self-defining in accord with the intent and assent of their members, many communities are largely other-defined. Programs that explicitly target communities and engage in community profiling often operate in tandem with less formal other-defining forces, often undermining communities such as are found in traditional, indigenous and rural settings.

Engagement in community self-defense, self-definition and self-discovery will be presented as an expression of the reality construction which fascinated Heinz von Foerster and with which he was so fully engaged.