Category Archives: Luhmann

Innovation and Organization: An Overview from the Perspective of Luhmann’s Autopoiesis

Few words in modern society have become as positively charged as the word innovation. Of course, premodern societies were also innovative in their way. Still, technology, ideas, and organizational forms have changed over time, and it is only in modern society that innovation … Continue reading

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Autopoietic Systems, Not Corporate Actors: A Sketch of Niklas Luhmann’s Theory of Organisations

Niklas Luhmann’s sociological systems theory sees in an organisation neither a group of acting individuals nor a single corporative actor, but instead a social system. For Luhmann, a social system is a closed network of communication processes that recursively engender … Continue reading

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Complexity, Systems Thinking and Sociology

When it comes to complexity and sustainability we often come across names such as Bertalanffy, Ilya Prigogine, Donella Meadows, Fritof Capra, and others, but we rarely come across complexity and systems theories through the “eyes” of Sociology. How would we … Continue reading

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Making Present – Autopoiesis as Human Production

In Niklas Luhmann’s social theory, autopoiesis is the repeated work of human self-construction through which social and cultural forms are maintained against a background of their continuous dissolution and disappearance. Autopoiesis in this sense is the production and reproduction of … Continue reading

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The Epistemological Meaning of Luhmann’s Critique of Classical Ontology

This paper is a discussion of the sustainability of a concept of World compatible with the “operative constructivism” and the operative conception of observation of the Theory of Systems, according to Niklas Luhmann. The paper scrutinizes the concepts of observation … Continue reading

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Autopoiesis and Socialization: on Luhmann’s reconceptualization of Communication and Socialization

In 1984, Niklas Luhmann published Soziale Systeme in which he applies the idea of autopoiesis (self-production) to social  systems. Abstracted from its biological connotations, the concept of autopoiesis leads to a sharp distinction between different  kinds of autopoietic organization, i.e. … Continue reading

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Autopoietic Law: A New Approach To Law And Society

The present debate in legal theory is dominated by an unfruitful schism. On the one hand, analytical theories are concerned with the positivity of law, running the risk of missing the law’s relation to society. On the other hand, sociological … Continue reading

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Law as a Social System

Modern systems theory provides a new method for the analysis of society through an examination of the structures of its communications. In this volume,  Niklas Luhmann, the theory’s leading exponent, explores its implications for our understanding of law. Luhmann argues … Continue reading

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The Social Embeddedness of the Economy and its Implications for Economic Governance

This chapter examines the social embeddedness and governance of economies from three apparently contrasting but potentially complementary viewpoints. These comprise: first, Polanyi’s pioneering historical analyses of the institutedness, general embeddedness, and the dis- and re-embedding of substantive economic activities; second, … Continue reading

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From System to Form: Niklas Luhmann

Although the work of Niklas Luhmann is relatively unknown in the English speaking world, his writings have begun to gain attention four years after his death in 1998. His style is abstruse and his ideas complex, but his contributions to … Continue reading

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