ABSTRACT

Sociological Review

Volume 51 Issue 2, Pages 276 - 285

Published Online: 28 Jun 2008

Journal compilation © 2010 The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review

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'Will the real Niklas Luhmann stand up, please'. A reply to John MingersMichael King 1 Chris Thornhill 11 Brunel University and King’s College, University of London

Abstract

AbstractLiterature cited

This article is a critical response to John Minger’s recently published piece ‘Can social systems be autopoietic?’. It draws attention to instances in this piece where Mingers has misconstrued Luhmann’s theory—especially in the central concepts of openness and closure, system-environment relation, interaction, and functionality, but also in the interpretation of the role which Luhmann ascribes to the political system—and it attempts to give a more accurate analysis of these terms, and of their place in Luhmann’s overall sociology. The article also asserts, more generally, that to criticize Luhmann from the perspective of action-centred theory, as Mingers has done, fails to reflect on and integrate Luhmann’s direct challenge to perspectives of this kind. The article concludes with the argument that legitimate criticism of Luhmann should set out a more immanent account of his sociology, and should not simply have recourse to the more traditional sociological perspectives, which Luhmann has already effectively called into question.


Received 4 October 2002 Accepted 22 January 2003

ABSTRACT

Sociological Review

Volume 51 Issue 2, Pages 276 - 285

Published Online: 28 Jun 2008

Journal compilation © 2010 The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review

< Previous Abstract  |  Next Abstract >

 Save Article to My Profile       Download Citation      Request Permissions

Abstract |  References  |  Full Text: PDF (Size: 61K)  | Related Articles | Citation Tracking

'Will the real Niklas Luhmann stand up, please'. A reply to John MingersMichael King 1 Chris Thornhill 11 Brunel University and King’s College, University of London

Abstract

AbstractLiterature cited

This article is a critical response to John Minger’s recently published piece ‘Can social systems be autopoietic?’. It draws attention to instances in this piece where Mingers has misconstrued Luhmann’s theory—especially in the central concepts of openness and closure, system-environment relation, interaction, and functionality, but also in the interpretation of the role which Luhmann ascribes to the political system—and it attempts to give a more accurate analysis of these terms, and of their place in Luhmann’s overall sociology. The article also asserts, more generally, that to criticize Luhmann from the perspective of action-centred theory, as Mingers has done, fails to reflect on and integrate Luhmann’s direct challenge to perspectives of this kind. The article concludes with the argument that legitimate criticism of Luhmann should set out a more immanent account of his sociology, and should not simply have recourse to the more traditional sociological perspectives, which Luhmann has already effectively called into question.


Received 4 October 2002 Accepted 22 January 2003

Posted 4 years ago

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