Introduction to Systems Theory

Introduction to Systems Theory

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Niklas Luhmann

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  • Publisher: Polity Press
  • Format: Paperback | 300 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 228mm x 26mm | 458g
  • Publication date: 10 December 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0745645720
  • ISBN 13: 9780745645728
  • Illustrations note: figures
  • Sales rank: 143,530

Product description

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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Author information

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

Customer reviews

By Meghan Stevens 26 Nov 2012 4

For anyone interested in Luhmann and his systems theory this is essential reading. It is much easier to read and understand than his very long system theory book. The translation is good, the concepts are presented more clearly - perhaps because they are individual lectures - and in some areas, he elaborates on concepts from earlier work. This book is very much the case that less is more.

Review quote

'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

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