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Understood complexity: Ibsen’s ‘An Enemy of the People’—On complexity, sense-making, understanding, and exit/voice/loyalty
Volume: 11, Issue 3
‘Understood complexity’ is a term of Albert Hirschman (1976) whose economic-political theory of ‘exit’ (‘vote with your feet’) versus ‘voice’ (feedback or use your influence for change) (1970), has often been used to (try to) understand whistleblowing (Alford, 2001; Maclagen, 1998). Real complexity is not linear and cannot be adequately studied an model of ‘A causes B’. Complexity entails ‘A causes B’ in a situation wherein ‘B causes A’. Bateson in his ‘ecology of the mind’ understood the circularity of the hermeneutic of complexity; while Weick did not in his theory of sense-making. I argue in this article, via an examination of a play of Ibsen, that circular thinking spiraling towards new insight(s) is much more a possibility of literature (studies) than of social science. Social complexity theory needs (at least partially) I believe to methodologically merge with literary studies.