Monthly Archives: April 2016

Vanderstraeten on the Education System

In “The Social Differentiation of the Educational System” (Sociology, Vol. 38, No. 2 (April 2004), pp. 255-272), Raf Vanderstraeten, among other things, takes on the argument that the educational system simply reflects and reproduces social class structures. A fundamental principle of … Continue reading

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Google Ngram advanced search

In researching the function systems, it is too restricting to use a term like politics or political or government and then argue about which term is more appropriate. It’s far more effective to combine terms to search for a concept that … Continue reading

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Autopoietic Function Systems

There is no self-description of modern society without at least implicit reference to functional differentiation. The distinction of function systems such as the political system, economy, science, art, or religion, is therefore explicitly regarded as a key concept of modernity (Leydesdorff, 2002; Berger, 2003; … Continue reading

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Ten Function Systems from 1800-2000

This post is a sort of response to Steffen Roth (2014) “Fashionable Functions: A Google Ngram View of Trends in Functional Differentiation.” Here is a Google Ngram tracking the frequency of the terms government, law, health, education, art, science, economy, … Continue reading

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Luhmann’s theory of autopoietic social systems

A link to a paper by David Seidl from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Munich School of Management).

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The Panama Papers

The Panama Papers scandal can be taken as further evidence of the declining relevance of the nation state, at least for the rich. Money cannot be held within national borders. Individuals and corporations will shelter their income through tax inversion, offshore shell … Continue reading

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From Danger to Risk

In Risk: A Sociological Theory (English translation, 1993), Luhmann argues that in the second half of the 18th century a number of issues (in economics, science, politics, etc.) converged to create modernity, or to mark the change from traditional to modern … Continue reading

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