Critical Assessment of Systems Approach in Sociology: To Update the Theory of Society

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:45-12:15
Location: Hörsaal 15 (Juridicum)
RC51 Sociocybernetics (host committee)

Language: English

The object of this session is to explore the state of the art of the theoretical development of Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems. At the foreword of Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft, his magnum opus in 1997, Niklas Luhmann stated that the title of his lifelong research project had been “theory of society” (Theorie der Gesellschaft). Almost 20 years have passed since then. Obviously in Luhmann’s “theory of society”, systems approach played a very important role. However, is his research project finished perfectly? There must be a lot of blind spots, or a lot of “kaizen” points. Based on such a viewpoint, this session deals with the updating of the “theory of society”. 
We will welcome contributions from anyone connected with the topics as follows: 

  • Critics on the theory of society, from a general systems perspective (e.g. second-order cybernetics, autopoiesis, and so on). 
  • Critics on the theory of society, from another sociological theory’s perspective (e.g. critical sociology, phenomenological sociology, and so on). 
  • Critics on the theory of society, from the perspective of the sociology of knowledge (e.g. cultural comparison, historical analysis, and so on).

Through discussions, we are going to look for a prospect of “post-Luhmannian theories of society”. Therefore contributors interested in theorizing society from a sociological point of view do not need to be familiar with Luhmann’s theory and/or the sociocybernetic perspective.

Session Organizer:
Saburo AKAHORI, Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, Japan
Eva BUCHINGER, Austrian Institute of Technology AIT, Austria
Communication and Situated Intra-Action: Entangling Systems Theory and New Materialism
Cornelia SCHADLER, University of Vienna, Austria; Jasmin SIRI, Ludwigs Maximilians University Munich, Germany
Convergences of General System Theory, Critical Realism and Theory of Society
Wolfgang HOFKIRCHNER, vienna university of technology, Austria
Towards a De-Ontologized Notion of Society
Till JANSEN, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany
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