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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Table of ContentsTranslators Note and AcknowledgementsSystem-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
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