Communication and Situated Intra-Action: Entangling Systems Theory and New Materialism

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 15 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Cornelia SCHADLER, University of Vienna, Austria
Jasmin SIRI, Ludwigs Maximilians University Munich, Germany
For Luhmann communication is the basic foundation of society. His notion of communication includes concepts of radical temporality (because communication has to be altered on a regular basis), process ontologies (because communication connects instable and constantly reconfiguring systems), anti-humanisms (because humans are not the sole cause of communication) and anti-dualisms (because communication is neither merely natural nor cultural or structural nor individual). Within the last decades postmodern, poststructural or non-representational theories made similar claims. Most recently a nexus of theories subsumed under the notion of “New Materialism” (Dolphijn & Van der Tuin 2012) ventures into that territory. New Materialisms (Barad 2007, Braidotti 2013) trouble boundaries and in particular human boundaries. Agency becomes a process of intra-action that is situated within material-discursive processes in constant differentiation.

In this talk we aim to discuss fruitful irritations of Systems Theory and New Materialism. Most recently a discussion about the critical potentials of Systems Theory has emerged (Amstutz & Fischer-Lescano 2014, Siri & Möller 2015) and discussed normative potentials as well as ‘blind spots’ of this theory of society. By focusing on Karen Barads Agential Realism (2007) and a critical reading of Luhmann’s works we encounter and condense entanglements between two theoretical worlds, which seem to be severely imcompatible only at the first glance. By approaching empirical phenomenons with a mix of Luhmann’s Functional Analysis and New Materialist ethnographies strengths and blind spots of both perspectives can be balanced and analyzed theoretically.

Barad, Karen (2007) Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham.

Siri, Jasmin & Möller, Kolja (2015) (Eds.). Systemtheorie & Kritik. Special Issue von Soziale Systeme. Bielefeld.

Amstutz, Marc & Fischer-Lescano, Andreas (2014) (Eds.) Kritische Systemtheorie. Zur Evolution einer normativen Theorie. Bielefeld.

Braidotti, Rosi (2013) The Posthuman. Cambridge.