Functional Differentiation and Communication Problems. CANCELLED

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: Booth 47
Eliana HERRERA-VEGA , Communication Department, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
This research deals with the necessity of a transformation of the dominant paradigm for observing society. It builds from N. Luhmann theory of social systems. The problem is dealt with using cybernetic theories of social communication that are used to advance selected case analyses.

I first deal with the fragmented state of scientific production, which I explain as a side-result of functional differentiation. I describe this as a case of incomplete rationality that has consequences for the level of human agents and for the level of systems’ communications. 

I then postulate that structural changes force any serious social epistemology to include the notion of functional differentiation, in order to account for newer epistemic forms of agency such as organizations that exist at a level of praxeological equality with human beings.

The situation of newer epistemic forms has profound consequences for all the concerned levels. On the one hand, in respect to the level of direct human agency, the fact of emergent modalities of agents forces a reconsideration of the romanticised perspectives of agency (Collins, 1992). Anthropic perspectives are refuted by those newer epistemic forms, jeopardizing the former centrality of the human subject in the making of society. On the other hand, in respect to the side of techno-systems and their increasing reflexive features, a reconsideration of traditional concepts of cognition is urgent. Understanding emergence takes then a central role.

The implications of my research are 1. A decentring of the anthropic perspective to understanding complex social communication. 2. A revision of determinist views to ascertain conflicts in social systems’ communications. 3. My research offers a practical approach to maximize the possibilities that direct human agency has to circumvent stabilized communications in social systems.  Finally, the piece offers new venues to understand the relationship between human agency and systemic stability.