Stabilizing Normative Contradictions: A Sociocybernetic View on Power.

Friday, 20 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Michael PAETAU, International Center for Sociocybernetics Studies, Bonn, Germany, Germany
The challenge of "Critical Sociocybernetics" has to fight with a very essential antinomy: On the one hand there is the denial of the idea of an comprehensive rationality of society as a whole. This corresponds with the tradition of the scientific and rationality critique of »Frankfurt School« (Horkheimer & Adorno 1944) as well as with Luhmann’s »Theory of Social Systems«. From the outset Habermas was in doubt if a complex society could emerge an reasonable identity (Habermas 1962). And already Adorno warned of any attempt for societal control, guided by references to a rationality related to the society as a whole. Adorno suspects that this kind of control generally will not hesitate to use media, like power, to accomplish an irrational state of society too (Adorno 1972). Luhmann makes a step further. He does no longer ask whether modern and functional differentiated societies could establish a rationality. For him there is no doubt: They cannot! But on the other hand, Sociocybernetics cannot ignore the question: How is critical thinking possible within a polycontextural society, not accepting universalism? An answer to this question we can expect from a scientific discipline facing complexity and polycontexturality and works with an adequate epistemological approach: the observation of the observation. For a critical view on society, based on sociocybernetic thinking, it can no longer be the task to develop a model to justify the ability for the agreement of universal norms. But in question is: How it is possible to stabilize normative contradictions within a functional differentiated and polycontextural society? In my contribution I try to give an answer to this question exemplified by the the concept of »Power« which plays a very important role for social steering in all cybernetic and socio-cybernetics literature as well as in plenty of post-structural and post-colonial publications.