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Book part
Publication date: 8 July 2021

David Seidl, Jane Lê and Paula Jarzabkowski

This chapter introduces two core notions from Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory to paradox studies. Specifically, it offers the notions of decision paradox and…

Abstract

This chapter introduces two core notions from Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory to paradox studies. Specifically, it offers the notions of decision paradox and deparadoxization as potential generative theoretical devices for paradox scholars. Drawing on these devices, the paper shifts focus to the everyday and mundane nature of decision paradox and the important role of deparadoxization (i.e., generating latency) in working through paradox. This contribution comes at a critical juncture for paradox scholarship, which has begun to converge around core theories, by opening up additional and possibly alternative theoretical pathways for understanding paradox. These ideas respond to recent calls in the literature to widen our theoretical repertoire and align scholarship more closely with the rich, pluralistic traditions of paradox studies.

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Interdisciplinary Dialogues on Organizational Paradox: Investigating Social Structures and Human Expression, Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80117-187-8

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2021

Jacob A. Miller

The purpose of this paper is to explain the US society’s insignificant mitigation of climate change using Niklas Luhmann’s (1989) autopoietic social systems theory in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain the US society’s insignificant mitigation of climate change using Niklas Luhmann’s (1989) autopoietic social systems theory in ecological communication. Specifically, the author’s analysis falls within the context of Luhmann re-moralized while focusing on particular function systems’ binary codes and their repellence of substantive US climate change mitigation policy across systems.

Design/methodology/approach

The author achieves this purpose by resituating Luhmann’s conception of evolution to forgo systems teleology and better contextualize the spatial-temporal scale of climate change; reinforcing complexity reduction and differentiation by integrating communication and media scholar John D. Peters’s (1999) “communication chasm” concept as one mechanism through which codes sustain over time; and applying these integrated concepts to prominent the US climate change mitigation attempts.

Findings

The author concludes that climate change mitigation efforts are the amalgamation of the systems’ moral communications. Mitigation efforts have relegated themselves to subsystems of the ten major systems given the polarizing nature of their predominant care/harm moral binary. Communication chasms persist because these moral communications cannot both adhere to the systems’ binary codes and communicate the climate crisis’s urgency. The more time that passes, the more codes force mitigation organizations, activist efforts and their moral communications to adapt and sacrifice their actions to align with the encircling systems’ code.

Social implications

In addition to the conceptual contribution, the social implication is that by identifying how and why climate change mitigation efforts are subsumed by the larger systems and their codes, climate change activists and practitioners can better tool their tactics to change the codes at the heart of the systems if serious and substantive climate change mitigation is to prevail.

Originality/value

To the author’s knowledge, there has not been an integration of a historical communication concept into, and sociological application of, ecological communication in the context of climate change mitigation.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Book part
Publication date: 14 October 2010

Christian Fuchs and Wolfgang Hofkirchner

Maturana and Varela (1980, p. 78f) provided the following definition of autopoiesis: “An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of…

Abstract

Maturana and Varela (1980, p. 78f) provided the following definition of autopoiesis: “An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components that produces the components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in the space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network.” This definition shows that for Maturana and Varela, autopoietic systems are systems that define, maintain, and reproduce themselves. The notion of machine that they employ in the definition might seem a bit misleading because we tend to think of machines as mechanistic and nonliving, but Maturana and Varela (e.g., 1987) in later publications have preferred to speak of autopoietic organizations.

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Advanced Series in Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-833-5

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Book part
Publication date: 29 April 2020

Jiří Šubrt

Abstract

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The Systemic Approach in Sociology and Niklas Luhmann: Expectations, Discussions, Doubts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-032-5

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1996

J.M. Barbalet

Confidence, trust and loyalty are three social emotions necessary respectively for the social processes of agency, cooperation and organization. In addition to the…

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Abstract

Confidence, trust and loyalty are three social emotions necessary respectively for the social processes of agency, cooperation and organization. In addition to the centrality of emotion in social life, an examination of these emotions demonstrates the importance of future‐time in social structure. Temporality is seldom discussed in the sociological literature, but unavoidable in a consideration of confidence, trust and loyalty. An examination of confidence, trust and loyalty from the perspective of temporality clarifies issues of social rationality and indicates some of the limitations of rational choice theory.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 16 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2018

Paolo Rocchi and Andrea Resca

The concept of information is central to several fields of research and professional practice. So many definitions have been put forward that complete inventory is…

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of information is central to several fields of research and professional practice. So many definitions have been put forward that complete inventory is unachievable while authors have failed to reach a consensus. In the face of the present impasse, innovative proposals could rouse information theorists to action, but literature surveys tend to emphasize the common traits of definitions. Reviewers are inclined to iron out originality in information models; thus the purpose of this paper is to discover the creativity of authors attempting to define the concept of information and to stimulate the progress of studies in this field.

Design/methodology/approach

Because the present inquiry could be influenced and distorted by personal criteria and opinions, the authors have adopted precise criteria and guidelines. It could be said the present approach approximates a statistical methodology.

Findings

The findings of this paper include (1) The authors found 32 original definitions of information which sometimes current surveys have overlooked. (2) The authors found a relation between information theories and advances in information technology. (3) Overall, the authors found that researchers take account of a wide variety of perspectives yet overlook the notion of information as used by computing practitioners such as electronic engineers and software developers.

Research limitations/implications

The authors comment on some limitations of the procedure that was followed. Results 1 and 3 open up new possibilities for theoretical research in the information domain.

Originality/value

This is an attempt to conduct a bibliographical inquiry driven by objective and scientific criteria; its value lies in the fact that final report has not been influenced by personal choice or arbitrary viewpoints.

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Book part
Publication date: 29 April 2020

Jiří Šubrt

Abstract

Details

The Systemic Approach in Sociology and Niklas Luhmann: Expectations, Discussions, Doubts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-032-5

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Article
Publication date: 26 August 2021

Gorm Harste and Klaus Brønd Laursen

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the philosophical roots of Luhmann's theory in relation to its anti-totalitarian elements.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the philosophical roots of Luhmann's theory in relation to its anti-totalitarian elements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper offers a conceptual discussion of the critical and anti-totalitarian angle in Niklas Luhmann's system theory.

Findings

This paper finds that systems theory has a critical potential.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors' knowledge the anti-totalitarian element of Niklas Luhmann's system theory has not be discussed before the present contribution.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1996

Michael Rempel

Although Niklas Luhmann refrains from an explicit treatment of power as a force of social constraint, I propose that, if partially reconstructed, his Systems Theory can…

Abstract

Although Niklas Luhmann refrains from an explicit treatment of power as a force of social constraint, I propose that, if partially reconstructed, his Systems Theory can illuminate the subject considerably. I show this by distinguishing between five elements in Luhmann's treatment of each of the following six social subsystems: the economy, politics, law, science, religion and education. The five subsystem elements are: (1) a binary code, (2) a basis of authority, (3) a language of social communication, (4) a generalized medium of communication, and (5) a social function. Whereas Luhmann assumes that each subsystem approximates autopoiesis, or self‐contained internal operation and autonomy, I assume the pervasiveness of interpenetration, whereby operations is one subsystem nonetheless affect operations in others. Subsequently, I juxtapose the reconstructed systems‐theoretic framework developed in the first half of the paper with Michel Foucault's power/knowledge framework. I conclude that the use of a reconstructed systems‐theoretic approach, based loosely on Luhmann's original theory, could greatly illuminate the specifics of power/knowledge in modern societies, to an even greater extent than Foucault does himself.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2021

Ayumi Higuchi

This study aims to review Luhmann's theory of moral communication while focusing on symmetry conditions, in light of Armin Nassehi's criticism, to clarify issues regarding…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to review Luhmann's theory of moral communication while focusing on symmetry conditions, in light of Armin Nassehi's criticism, to clarify issues regarding this concept. Then, Luhmann's symmetry condition is reconstructed as a concept containing double meaning via a case study in Japan. Correspondingly, interesting situations and characteristics of moral communication, such as “inflation,” the “polemogene” and ubiquity of moral communication, are interpreted more consistently.

Design/methodology/approach

In today's society, moral communication may spiral out of control and even be fatal. By examining Niklas Luhmann's theory, in this paper, the author elaborates on why and how this mechanism occurs.

Findings

The author emphasizes that the suspicion pertaining to the asymmetry of communication is stressed in the case of anonymity. When an individual communicates using a moral code, it is impossible to discern whether the implications of self-bindingness are undermined or not through observations or consequences of communication and can only be questioned or confirmed through communication. However, criticizing the outburst of the masses and exchanging blame by isolating only one aspect of such a phenomenon will only be superficial.

Originality/value

This study reveals that the very condition that makes moral communication possible enables people to communicate respectfully or contemptuously with others without any special qualification. Such an analysis can serve as a theoretical underpinning for the analysis of today's phenomena.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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