On Luhmann: Reframing Public Relations as Part of Society’s Evolutionary Learning Processes

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This chapter describes the most extensive Niklas Luhmann based analyses of and theoretical developments on organizational legitimization. According to Luhmann, sociology requires a theoretically founded description of society to fulfill its task of analyzing empirical problems. The fundamental premise of Luhmann's theory is to dissociate itself from anthropocentric understandings of society which see the individual as the ultimate reference. Luhmann's concept of communication sharpens the focus on the self-referential circular dynamics of social processes, which are means as well as ends. Communication is the social processes constituting anything social – society, organization, interactions – and the concept is not confined to linguistic processes. The luhmannian theory focuses on process more than on structure and does not claim a once-and-for all differentiation of certain functional systems. Based mainly on Luhmann's theories, emerging forms of co-regulation are conceptualized as supervision state, polycontexturality, governance society and meta-governance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPublic Relations and Social Theory : Key Figures, Concepts and Developments
EditorsØyvind Ihlen, Magnus Fredriksson
Number of pages22
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date2018
ISBN (Electronic)9781315271231
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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