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Mon May 4 21:00:57 PDT 2015

modern conceptions of community are built upon (albeit often using a
language that places them in opposition) the exchange of commerce.  These
function when the "community" arises as a social entity that cannot be
reduced to the elements of its construction (and thus a scalar
phenomenon).  Thus communities do reference themselves, in fact they do
little else.  In doing so they, in turn, make sense of their environment.
It is not, of course, the same type of reference that an individual would
make about herself.  It is a necessary component, however, of defining the
boundaries of the community.

sorry for the long winded post.

Phillip Thurtle

> First, I have no idea why my fingers typed out "Luhmen," but of course I meant
> Luhmann.
> Second, my characterization of Luhmann was based on and a direct response to
> your characterization of Luhmann, though none of the reviews I've read nor any
> of the parts of Luhmann's oeuvre I've skimmed seem to contradict your
> characterization. In particular, you characterized Luhmann as claiming that "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." Here, communities are presented as separately existing entities
> that "see themselves" and "have belief systems"--that is, they are entities like
> individual persons--entities which we generally regard as unitary even if we
> also regard them as presenting situated selves ala Goffman. (After all, Goffman
> invoked the concept of a "performer" behind a person's "character(s)" in _The
> presentation of self_). As for Luhmann's departure from this characterization in
> his works, and particularly in the ways mentioned, I cannot comment except to
> say that Luhmann wouldn't be the first scholar to have contradicted him/herself.
> Indeed, if I recall correctly, Murray Davis argues in "That's Classic!" (an
> article to be found in the journal _Philosophy of the Social Sciences_) that
> "classic" social scientific work is classic because, not in spite of, the fact
> that it is characterized by ambiguity and contradiction.

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