Why Systems?

Theory, Culture and Society 18 (1):59-74 (2001)
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With reference to three seminal books on cybernetics, communication theory and the calculus of distinctions, this article discusses some main threads in Niklas Luhmann's sociological systems theoretical thinking. It argues that the systems theory, despite its still lively reputation in some quarters of the humanities, is not technocracy's last attempt to cope with the complexity of modern society. Rather, it is an inquiry into the improbability of communication and into its translation into social structure, or better, into social form



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