Introduction to Systems Theory / Edition 1

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Niklas Luhmann ranks as one of the most important sociologistsand social theorists of the twentieth century. Through his manybooks he developed a highly original form of systems theory thathas been hugely influential in a wide variety of disciplines.

In Introduction to Systems Theory, Luhmann explains thekey ideas of general and sociological systems theory and supplies awealth of examples to illustrate his approach. The book offers awide range of concepts and theorems that can be applied to politicsand the economy, religion and science, art and education,organization and the family. Moreover, Luhmann’s ideasaddress important contemporary issues in such diverse fields ascognitive science, ecology, and the study of social movements.

This book provides all the necessary resources for readers towork through the foundations of systems theory – no otherwork by Luhmann is as clear and accessible as this. There is alsomuch here that will be of great interest to more advanced scholarsand practitioners in sociology and the social sciences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'These lectures, published here in English for the first time,show Luhmann at the height of his powers. They offer a uniqueinsight into the engine room of arguably the world's most famoussystems theorist. It is indeed a brilliant mind that is at workhere; very few other social scientists would be able to perform atsuch a level. Particularly for students and readers who are notfamiliar with Luhmann's style of thought, this is an idealintroduction to systems theory by the man himself.'
Andreas Hess, University College Dublin

'Niklas Luhmann is the closest the social sciences have come, ina long time, to an actual thinker. This book is an indispensableintroduction to Luhmann’s unique version of systems theoryand required reading to all concerned about theoretical sociology.It offers a rare glimpse into the experimental workings of anextraordinary sociological mind at work.'
Stephan Fuchs, University of Virginia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745645711
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/17/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Niklas Luhmann was professor of sociology at the University of Bielefeld.

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Table of Contents

Translators Note and Acknowledgements
System-Autopoiesis-Form: An Introduction to Luhmann's 'Introductionto Systems Theory'
Editor's Preface to the German Edition

I. Sociology and Systems Theory
  1. The Functionalism of System Maintenance
  2. Parsons

II. General Systems Theory
  1. The Theory of Open Systems
  2. System as Difference (Formal Analysis)
  3. Operational Closure
  4. Self-Organization, Autopoiesis
  5. Structural Coupling
  6. Observing
  7. Re-entry
  8. Complexity
  9. The Idea of Rationality

III. Time

IV. Meaning

V. Psychic and Social Systems
  1. Problems of "Action Theory"
  2. Two Modes of Operation of Autopoiesis

VI. Communication as a Self-Observing Operation

VII. Double Contingency, Structure, Conflict

Suggested Further Readings

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