[Air-l] Re: Company vs. Community

Christian Nelson cnelson at comm.umass.edu
Tue Dec 18 15:58:53 PST 2001

Phillip Thurtle wrote:

> Regarding the functionalism of the definition of "community" by the internal
> members of the community:  Although frustratingly abstract, I find Niklas
> Luhmann's work on social systems the most elegant probe of this topic.  For
> Luhmann, social systems reproduce themselves by using internal codes to
> distinguish the "inside" of the social system from the "outside".  Thus the
> identity formation of a community is very much attached to how the community
> sees itself in an environment and thus implicated in the belief systems held
> by the community.  _Social Systems_ is the magnum opus here, but his
> _Ecological Communications_ provides a much more manageable introduction to
> his thought.  Also, there is finally a good secondary source on Luhmann in
> English, William Rasch's _Niklas Luhmann's Modernity: The Paradoxes of
> Differentiation_.

I.e., Luhmen is yet another social scientist who portrays societies as
monoliths. While there may be sociological reasons for such notions, there
certainly aren't empirical ones.
--Christian Nelson

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