In this important book, Niklas Luhmann uses his powers as an analyst of the social system to examine two of the most important concepts which hold that system together and allow it to evolve: trust and power. He criticises those theoretical accounts whose roots lie in what he refers to as ideologies – accounts which use implicit beliefs in particular conceptions of human nature to explain and predict social action in a one-dimensional way. Theories of rational choice and moralistic explanations are taken to task, as are the theories of both Marx and Habermas. Luhmann's unique scientific sociology underpins every page and enables him to highlight the potential shortcomings of these narrative approaches. Underlying this approach is the idea that ideologically-based social theory, whether critical or conservative, is unable to do justice to the complexities existing within the parameters of social systems, individuals, and the interactions between them. He aims to show instead how only a painstaking systems analysis can capture these intricacies. Although written over 40 years ago, Luhmann's complex vision of the operations of trust and power provides a wealth of insights of considerable value to scholars and students grappling with contemporary social and economic problems. The editors' introduction to this new edition and the significant revisions they have made to the translation will help to reveal the richness and clarity of this vision and its relevance to the ways that trust and power operate in today's society.
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About the Author
Niklas Luhmann (1927-1998) was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Bielefeld University.
Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction: Niklas Luhmann's Sociological Enlightenment and its Realisation in Trust and Power - by Christian Morgner and Michael KingEditors note on the revised translationPart 1: TrustPreface - by the author1. Defining the Problem: Social Complexity2. Constancies and Events3. Familiarity and Trust4. Trust as a Reduction of Complexity5. Exceeding Information and Possibilities For Sanctions6. Personal Trust7. Communications Media and System Trust8. The Tactical Conception: Trust as Opportunity and as Constraint9. Trust in Trust10. Trust and Distrust11. Readiness to Trust12. The Rationality of Trust and DistrustReferencesPart 2: PowerIntroduction1. Power as a Communication Medium2. The Action Framework3. Code Functions4. Power and Physical Force5. Lifeworld and Technique6. The Generalization of Influence7. Risks of Power8. Powers Relevance to Society9. Organized PowerReferencesRelevant Articles by Luhmann in English