Production of truth as reduction of complexity. Understanding society with peripheral critical sociology




Truth is always a reduction of complexity. The various aspects of an observed phenomena are reduced to only those that relate to how truth is defined by the observer. In this sense, social sciences create society by applying theories that define what is truth to it. This logic becomes a problem when the social sciences in question do not reflect a wide range of different theories that can complement and criticize each other, providing a more complex observation and, thus, a more complex truth. This is the case with some social sciences of the Global South, especially, in early stages of their institutional and organizational development. However, decisions made in early stages of a system can only be changed with considerable effort later on. There tends to be an effect of path dependency, especially in organizations engaged in social sciences in the Global South.

This article will explore the mechanisms of production of truth and thus of reduction of complexity by Marxist critical sociology in Ecuador, between the 1960s and 2010. A focus will be the institutionalization of these mechanisms in organizations and the augmentation of complexity within critical sociology, usually connected to certain ideas of politics and sciences.


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Author Biography

Philipp Altmann, Universidad Central del Ecuador

Philipp Altmann, studies in sociology, cultural anthropology and Spanish philology at the University of Trier and the Autonomous University Madrid. Finished his doctorate in sociology at the Free University of Berlin in 2013 with a work on the decolonial aspects of the discourse of the indigenous movement in Ecuador. Since March 2015, he is Professor for Sociological Theory at the Universidad Central del Ecuador. Research interests are: indigenous and social movements, decoloniality, identity, social exclusion, systems theory, political sociology, sociology of science. Important publications in English:

(2017) Social sciences between the systems – the Ecuadorian university between science, education, politics and economy, Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics 29(1): 48-66, DOI: 10.1177/0260107916674075.

(2017) Localizing Rebellion – International Development Agencies and the Rise of the Indigenous Movement in Ecuador, in: Bonacker, Thorsten; von Heusinger, Judith; Zimmer, Kerstin (eds.): Localization in Development Aid. How Global Institutions enter Local Lifeworlds, London: Routledge, pp. 135-153.

(2016) “`The Right to Self-determination´: Right and Laws Between Means of Oppression and Means of Liberation in the Discourse of the Indigenous Movement of Ecuador”, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 29(1), pp. 121-134, DOI: 10.1007/s11196-015-9415-z.

(2015) “Studying Discourse Innovations: The Case of the Indigenous Movement in Ecuador”, Historical Social Research 40(3), pp. 161-184, DOI: 10.12759/hsr.40.2015.3.161-184.




How to Cite

Altmann, P. (2018). Production of truth as reduction of complexity. Understanding society with peripheral critical sociology. Journal of Sociocybernetics, 15(2), 5–19.