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Luhmann in da Contact Zone

  • Our aim in this contribution is to productively engage with the abstractions and complexities of Luhmann’s conceptions of society from a postcolonial perspective, with a particular focus on the explanatory powers of his sociological systems theory when it leaves the realms of Europe and ventures to describe regions of the global South. In view of its more recent global reception beyond Europe, our aim is to thus – following the lead of Dipesh Chakrabarty – provincialize Luhmann’s system theory especially with regard to its underlying assumptions about a global “world society”. For these purposes, we intend to revisit Luhmann in the post/colonial contact zone: We wish to reread Luhmann in the context of spaces of transcultural encounter where “global designs and local histories” (Mignolo), where inclusion into and exclusion from “world society” (Luhmann) clash and interact in intricate ways. The title of our contribution, ‘Luhmann in da Contact Zone’ is deliberately ambiguous: On the one hand, we of course use ‘Luhmann’ metonymically,Our aim in this contribution is to productively engage with the abstractions and complexities of Luhmann’s conceptions of society from a postcolonial perspective, with a particular focus on the explanatory powers of his sociological systems theory when it leaves the realms of Europe and ventures to describe regions of the global South. In view of its more recent global reception beyond Europe, our aim is to thus – following the lead of Dipesh Chakrabarty – provincialize Luhmann’s system theory especially with regard to its underlying assumptions about a global “world society”. For these purposes, we intend to revisit Luhmann in the post/colonial contact zone: We wish to reread Luhmann in the context of spaces of transcultural encounter where “global designs and local histories” (Mignolo), where inclusion into and exclusion from “world society” (Luhmann) clash and interact in intricate ways. The title of our contribution, ‘Luhmann in da Contact Zone’ is deliberately ambiguous: On the one hand, we of course use ‘Luhmann’ metonymically, as representative of a highly complex theoretical design. We shall cursorily outline this design with a special focus on the notion of a singular, modern “world society”, only to confront it with the epistemic challenges of the contact zone. On the other hand, this critique will also involve the close observation of Niklas Luhman as a human observer (a category which within the logic of systems theory actually does not exist) who increasingly transpires in his late writings on exclusion in the global South. By following this dual strategy, we wish to trace an increasing fracture between one Luhmann and the other, between abstract theoretical design and personalized testimony. It is by exploring and measuring this fracture that we hope to eventually be able to map out the potential of a possibly more productive encounter between systems theory and specific strands of postcolonial theory for a pluritopic reading of global modernity.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Lars EcksteinGND, Christoph Reindfandt
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus4-103298
Subtitle (English):Towards a Postcolonial Critique of Sociological Systems Theory
Document Type:Preprint
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2017/03/21
Year of Completion:2016
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2017/03/21
Pagenumber:15
Organizational units:Philosophische Fakultät / Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Licence (German):License LogoKeine Nutzungslizenz vergeben - es gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht