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Military AnthropologySoldiers, Scholars and Subjects at the Margins of Empire$
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Montgomery McFate

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190680176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190680176.001.0001

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Gregory Bateson and Information Operations

Gregory Bateson and Information Operations

Chapter:
(p.119) 4 Gregory Bateson and Information Operations
Source:
Military Anthropology
Author(s):

Montgomery McFate

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190680176.003.0004

Gregory Bateson was an anthropologist who conducted fieldwork in New Guinea; worked for the OSS; introduced the concept of cybernetics into social science; developed the double bind theory of schizophrenia; and was a figure in the 1970s California counterculture. What can we learn from the life and legacy of Gregory Bateson with relevance to information operations? This chapter suggests how three of Bateson’s concepts might be employed. The first concept discussed is Bateson’s idea of the premise, cultural ‘facts’ considered to be true and axiomatic for members of a culture that weave together to create a coherent, intrinsic logic. The second concept with applicability to information operations is Bateson’s concept of schismogenesis, the patterns inherent in a social system that produce either equilibrium or disequilibrium and which, Bateson believed, could be manipulated to produce intended effects. The third and final concept considered in this chapter is the frame, a heuristic mechanism for organizing experience and guiding action that affects how we understand the world and how the world understands us.

Keywords:   Gregory Bateson, anthropology, information operations, Culture, Premise, Frame, Schizmogenesis, OSS, New Guinea

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