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Luhmann's Systems Theory and the Question of the Mass Media
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2005 (English)In: Cybernetics & Human Knowing, Vol. 12, no 4, 23-50 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The System of the mass media is a more complex case of autopoiesis than any of the other functional systems of society. It allows for description as both an autopoietic and allopoietic system. Theis conclusion is reached on the basis of a thorough analysis of Luhmann's The Reality of the Mass Media against a background of his project as a whole. Main points of discussion are the differences between Luhmann's two magna opera, Social Systems and Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft, in respect to their different theoretical foci, as well as the so-called Luhmann-Habermas controvers, which is examined as a controversy between the social sciences and the humanities concerning the humanity and legitimacy of their corresponding methodologies. the social function of the mass media is discussed as residing in the fact that they represent a "generalized other" for all social systems and thus are an important factor in the "socialization" of social systems. Finally, Habermas's public spher, freed from its class context, is discussed in terms of a movement of people as collective users and producers of the main medium (language) that concluded with the institutionalization of the mass media.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 12, no 4, 23-50 p.
Keyword [en]
Systems Theory, Luhmann-Habermas controversy, Mass media, Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-78069OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-78069DiVA: diva2:105982
Available from: 2008-04-15 Created: 2008-04-15 Last updated: 2011-01-11

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