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Diabolical perspectives on healthy morality in times of COVID-19

Lars Clausen (UCL University College, Odense, Denmark) (Next Society Institute, Kazimiero Simonavičiaus universitetas, Vilnius, Lithuania) (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Flensburg, Germany)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 16 August 2021

Issue publication date: 29 March 2022

69

Abstract

Purpose

The paper combines the systems theoretical perspective on the evolution of societal differentiation and the emergence of codes in communication. By combining the approach by Niklas Luhmann with a historical theology on the development of Christian morality split between God and Devil, it recreates a sociological point of observation on contemporary moral forms by a temporary occupation of the retired Christian Devil.

Design/methodology/approach

The article combines a Luhmannian systems theoretical perspective on the evolution of societal differentiation with a concept of emerging codes in communication. The latter is based on on the development of a Christian view of morality being split between God and Devil. It establishes a sociological point of observation on contemporary moral forms through the temporary invocation of the retired figure of the Christian Devil.

Findings

The proposed perspective develops a healthy perspective on the exuberant distribution of a health(y) morality across the globe during the pandemic crisis of 2020–21. The temporary invocation of the retired Christian Devil as point of departure in this sociological analysis allows for a disturbing view on the unlimited growth of the morality of health and its inherent dangers of dedifferentiating the highly specialised forms of societal differentiation and organisation.

Originality/value

By applying the diabolical perspective, the analytical framework creates a unique opportunity to observe the moral encodings of semantic forms in detail, while keeping the freedom of scientific enquiry to choose amongst available distinctions in the creation of sound empirical knowledge. This article adopts a neutral stance, for the good of sociological analysis. The applications of the term “evil” to observations of communication are indifferent to anything but itself and its qualities as scientific enquiry.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Wherever citations were not readily available in published translations in English, the translation has been conducted by the author.

I thank the two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their valuable comments and suggestions throughout the review process and Leon Conrad from traditionaltutor.co.uk for his work in transforming my German-English into proper English.

Citation

Clausen, L. (2022), "Diabolical perspectives on healthy morality in times of COVID-19", Kybernetes, Vol. 51 No. 5, pp. 1692-1709. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-02-2021-0155

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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