Personality and Society in the Theory of Self-Organized Criticality


Emerged in the domain of natural science, the theory of self-organized criticality (SOC) has spread to various fields over the past decades, achieving the status of an interdisciplinary paradigm. This article aims to answer three questions: Is SOC really a ubiquitous property of social reality? Does the SOC theory really substantiate the fundamental unpredictability and inevitability of social catastrophes? What contribution can the SOC theory make to clarifying the fundamental mystery of the relationship between human will and historical necessity? I performed a meta-analysis of the latest literature and summarized the results of my own case studies. So far, there is not enough empirical data to confirm that SOC is ubiquitous, although it has been proven that SOC is characteristic of many social systems—especially those in a borderline, transitional state. The SOC theory supports the idea that in some social systems for a fairly long time (even by historical standards), human will, act, and opinion can have a fundamental impact on the development of the whole of a system.

Author Biography

Dmitry S. Zhukov, G. R. Derzhavin Tambov State University, Tambov, Russia

Dmitry S. Zhukov received his Cand. Sci. (History) degree from G. R. Derzhavin Tambov State University, Russia (2003). Presently, he works as an associate professor at the Department of International Relations and Political Science of the same university. Dmitry develops fractal computer models that are used to simulate phenomena and processes in social and political spheres. His article presents the results of interdisciplinary studies conducted at the University Center for Fractal Simulation: . For many years, Dmitry S. Zhukov and colleagues have been studying historical phenomena using mathematical and cliometric methods. Some of these works have focused on the application of the theory of self-organized criticality in social and political processes. Among them are the following: Zhukov, D. (coauthored). Can Self-Organized Criticality Theory Help Identify Political Mobilization on Social Media? (2020); Zhukov, D. (coauthored). Online Rebellion: Self-Organized Criticality of Contemporary Protest Movements (2020); Zhukov, D. S. (coauthored). Terrorism as a Self-Organised Criticality Phenomenon (2018).


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How to Cite
Zhukov, D. (2023). Personality and Society in the Theory of Self-Organized Criticality. Changing Societies & Personalities, 7(2), 10–33. doi:10.15826/csp.2023.7.2.229