Category Archives: Luhmann

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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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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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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Implications of Self-Reference: Niklas Luhmann’s Autopoiesis and Organization Theory

This article reviews the potential of Niklas Luhmann’s autopoiesis as a contribution to organization theory. We consider organization theory to consist of three epistemological foundations, which we label equilibrium-based theory, process-based theory and recursivity-based theory. We review critically Luhmann’s autopoietic … Continue reading

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