Niklas Luhmann's (1927–1998) theory of social systems is notorious for its degree of complexity and abstraction. It has been regularly misread as conservative, overly structural, positivist and disconnected from other contemporary theories; especially the ones influenced by post-structuralism, gender theory, postcolonialism, and spatial and embodied understandings of society. Such misunderstandings help to explain why, particularly in the English-speaking world, reception of Luhmann's work has been reluctant and uneven. While there is no paucity of introductions, general discussions and handbooks on Luhmann's work, some of the misattributions and ossified readings persist. Part of the problem is the lack of fruitful critical dialogues between Luhmann's theory and other theoretical perspectives that would manage to set Luhmann in a new light, away from received readings and originary orthodoxies, and in line with contemporary theoretical developments.1 The present anthology is an attempt to establish precisely such connections by critically relating Luhmann's work to a set of other authors and theoretical perspectives — from Jacques Lacan to Jacques Derrida, from Gilles Deleuze to Umberto Eco, and from gender studies to actor-network theory to spatiality — all of which radically new and relevant areas of research to which Luhmann's theory has a great deal to contribute.
Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, A. , la Cour, A. (2013)., Introduction: Luhmann encountered, in A. La Cour & A. Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos (eds.), Luhmann observed, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-15.
This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.