Peter J.C. Harries-Jones
Department of


Peter J.C. Harries-Jones
Emeritus Professor (tenured)

2038 Vari Hall
4700 Keele Street
North York, ON M3J 1P3

Phone: (416) 736-2100
Fax: (416) 736-5768


Educational Background

1970 D. Phil. (Oxon)
1962 M. Litt. (Oxon)
1959 Dip. Anthropology (Oxon) (with distinction);
1958 BA (Rhodes Univ. South. Africa) (with distinction).

Biographical Note

Peter Harries-Jones was born in Oxford, England. He attended secondary school in both England and the United States and universities in the United States, South Africa, and Oxford University, where he obtained his doctorate. Subsequently he was a research officer in the Institute for Social Studies, Zambia where he introduced together with his research group the subject of social networks into anthropology. He taught in the University of Wales, Swansea, University of Khartoum, Sudan and York University, Ontario Canada.

Until the 1980s he was a specialist in the field of African Studies. Subsequently he developed an interest in communication studies, systems theory and ecology. This research culminated in an intellectual biography on Gregory Bateson's 'ecological epistemology' drawn from the Bateson archives. He was one of the first attendees of the "Gatherings in Biosemiotics' a new sub-science building on semiotics. and co-edited the internet journal SEED together with Edwina Taborsky which published biosemiotics contributions. That experience introduced him to many of the current members of that group.

He is currently researching a second book on Bateson covering his earlier years in anthropology and the necessity for enfolding the concept of culture into a broader concept of eco-culture; in effect on Bateson's 'plateaus' and Bateson's 'three ecologies' rather than Felix Guattari's borrowing of both terms.


1995 A Recursive Vision: Ecological Understanding and Gregory Bateson, University of Toronto Press, (328 pp). (shortlisted for the 1995 HSSFC Harold Adams Innis Prize for the best Canadian book in social science).


2010a Bioentropy, Aesthetics and Meta-dualism: The Transdisciplinary Ecology of Gregory Bateson. Entropy 12, no. 12: 2359-2385. (Online and free in Issue on Cybersemiotics).
2010b Culture is Natural: introducing biosemiotics. Paper given to the founding meeting of ALECC, [Assn for Literature, Environment and Culture in Canada) Sydney, Nova Scotia, August 2010.

"Gregory Bateson's Spirited Culture of Refusal." On-line publication. April 3, 2008

2006 " Honeybees, Communicative Order and the Collapse of Ecosystems. Biosemiotics. vol 2.2 July. pp. 193-204.

"Gregory Bateson's 'Uncovery' of Ecological Aesthetics." In A Legacy for Living Systems: Gregory Bateson as a Precursor to Biosemiotics.(ed. Jesper Hoffmeyer). Springer-Verlach.


"Understanding Ecological Aesthetics: The Challenge of Bateson." Cybernetics and Human Knowing (Special Issue). Vol. 12 No. 1-2 pp.61-74


"Gregory Bateson, Heterarchies and the Topology of Recursion." Cybernetics and Human Knowing (Special Issue). Vol. 12 No. 1-2 pp. 168-74


"Introduction" to Special Section on Gregory Bateson Centennial, Australian Humanities Review Journal, Issue 35, June 2005.


"Revisiting Angels Fear: Recursion, Ecology and Aesthetics" in SEED (Semiosis, Evolution, Energy, and Development) Online: Volume 4.1 (Special Issue Celebrating Gregory Bateson's Centennial)


"The 'Risk Society': Tradition, Ecological Order and Time-space Acceleration" in Mario Blaser, Harvey A. Feit and Glenn McRae. (eds.) In the Way of Development: Indigenous Peoples, Life Projects and Globalization. London, New York and Ottawa: Zed Books in cooperation with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).


"Consciousness, Embodiment and Critique of Phenomenology in the Thought of Gregory Bateson." American Journal of Semiotics (Special Issue on Gregory Bateson). (ed. Deborah Eicher-Catt) Vol 19 (1-4) pp. 69-94.


"Where Bonds become Binds: the necessity for Bateson's 'Interactive' Perspectives in Biosemiotics," in Sign Systems Studies Vol. 30.1 (eds.) Claus Emmeche, Jesper Hoffmeyer, and Kalevi Kull (special edition on Biosemiotics) pp. 163-181.


"Cultural Perspectives and Sustainability," in David V.J. Bell and Annie Y. Cheung, ‘Introduction to Sustainable Development', Encyclopedia of Life-Support Systems (EOLSS), developed under the Auspices of UNESCO, Oxford, U.K. :EOLSS Publishers Online


"Immanent Holism: On Transfer of Knowledge from Global to Local," in E.L. Cerroni-Long (ed.). Anthropological Theory in North America. Wesport, Conn; London , Bergin and Garvey (pp.175-195).


"A Signal Failure: Ecology and Economy after The Earth Summit," by Peter Harries-Jones, Abraham Rotstein and Peter Timmerman, in Michael G. Schechter (ed.) Future Multilateralism: The Political and Social Framework, Tokyo, New York, Paris: Macmillan Ltd. (U.K.) and St. Martins' Press for the United Nations University Press, pp . 101-135.see also: Indian Journal of Canadian Studies, Volume VI (1997), pp 4-45.


"Bargaining the Sacred: the approach from 'immanent holism'," in Anders Sandberg and Sverker Sorlin (eds.), Sustainability - The Challenge: People, Power and the Environment, Montreal: Black Rose Books, pp. 42-50


"Gregory Bateson;" "Double Bind" entries in Paul Bouissac (ed.), Encyclopedia of Semiotic and Cultural Studies, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 64-67 and pp. 201-204.


"Aesthetics and Ecology: a Non-Fiction Approach," in Patrick D. Murphy (ed.) The Literature of Nature: an International Sourcebook, Chicago and London:Fitzroy Dearborn Publishing, pp.434-439


"Affirmative Theory: Voice and Counter-Voice at the Oxford Decennial," in Henrietta Moore (ed.) The Future of Anthropological Knowledge, London, Routledge, Association of Social Anthropologists Monographs 34, no. 4. pp. 156-172



Co-editor with Edwina Taborsky, SEED (Semiosis, Evolution, Energy, and Development), a new on-line journal,


(Editor). Making Knowledge Count: Advocacy and Social Science, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal and Kingston.

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