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Introduction to Systems Theory


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Translators Note and Acknowledgements System-Autopoiesis-Form: An Introduction to Luhmann's 'Introduction to 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

About the Author

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


'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

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