They can speak like Hegel. But they have no language left but the dialectical one. The countermeasure I have in mind is to make the theory
decisions as transparent as possible.
Niklas Luhmann, Introduction to SystemsTheory1
Damit fehlen ausreichende Anhaltspunkte für ein Ausschöpfen des
Möglichen, für Rationalisierung. Wir leben, wie man seit dem Erdbeben
von Lissabon weiß, nicht in der besten der möglichen Welten, sondern
in einer Welt voll besserer Möglichkeiten.
Niklas Luhmann, Theorie der Gesellschaft oder Sozialtechnologie2
Epistemology should be the axe that breaks the ice of a traditionalism that covers and obstructs scientific enlightenment. This book explores the arguments between critical theory and epistemology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Focusing on the first and second generations of critical theorists and Luhmann's systems theory, it examines how each approaches epistemology. The book offers a critique of the Kantian base of critical theory's epistemology in conjunction with the latter's endeavour to define political potential through the social function of science. The concept of dialectics is explored as the negation of the irrational and, furthermore, as the open field of epistemological conflict between rationality and irrationality. The book traces the course of arguments that begin with Dilthey's philosophy of a rigorous science, develop with Husserl's phenomenology, Simmel's and Weber's interest in the scientific element within the social concerns of scientific advance. In structuralism, the fear of dialogue prevails. The book discusses the epistemological thought of Pierre Bourdieu and Gilles Deleuze in terms of their persistence in constructing an epistemological understanding of social practice free from the burdens of dialectics, reason and rationality. It also enquires into issues of normativity and modernity within a comparative perspective on modernism, postmodernism and critical theory. Whether in relation to communication deriving from the threefold schema of utterance- information- understanding or in relation to self- reflexivity, systems theory fails to define the bearer or the actor of the previous structural processes. Critical realism attempted to ground dialectics in realism.
Just as orthodox Marxism does little to effectively explain these processes,
most articulations of academic systemstheory are also of questionable value
in this endeavour. This book retains determinate aspects of the dialectical
approach to mediation found in some first-generation critical theory, but gives
Critical theory and sociological theory
dialectics a sociological inflection by applying it to the functioning of social
systems in contemporary world society. This approach enables researchers
to inquire into the reasons why de-differentiation does
. Established integration theories can be used to refine the
concept of juridification. The following section considers which are suited to the task: those
indebted to, or at least compatible with, systemstheory.
Section two recounts Habermas’s survey of action and systemstheories.
Though critical of functionalism, he has drawn inspiration from the systems-theoretic
approaches of Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann. In depicting a complex and somewhat
decentralised administrative apparatus, for example, BFN could be seen as the most
theories can be used to refine the concept of juridification. The following
section considers which are suited to the task: those indebted to, or at least
compatible with, systemstheory.
Section two recounts Habermas’s survey of action and systemstheories.
Though critical of functionalism, he has drawn inspiration from the systemstheoretic approaches of Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann. In depicting a
complex and somewhat decentralised administrative apparatus, for example,
BFN could be seen as the most ‘Luhmannian’ of Habermas’s texts, and thus
contrasted with the
An investigation of the theoretical lineage to Giovanni Arrighi
globalization’ (Arrighi, 1999a: 57). Much earlier, Arrighi and Silver had commented on how TGT had been ‘attracting a growing number of admirers in the
context of late twentieth and early twenty-first century “globalization” ’ (Silver and
Arrighi, 2003: 325).1
While Arrighi’s work has drawn on many sources aside from Polanyi, and it
is possible to exaggerate Polanyi’s influence, we find it worthwhile to clarify what
Arrighi borrowed from Polanyi in the context of world-systemstheory, of which
Arrighi was a principal representative, along with Immanuel Wallerstein, the main
their identity – which he
likened to the dynamic relations between a gas flame and its environment. Once the
flame has been lit, Polanyi explains, it will maintain its shape by a constant inflow
of combustible material and outflow of waste products: ‘To this extent, its identity
is not defined by its physical or chemical topography, but by the operational principles
which sustain it [added emphasis].’50
Noting that evolution works too slowly to observe any major functional changes
at first hand, Polanyi stresses the larger perspective that systemstheory affords
Karl Polanyi (1886–1964) returned to public discourse in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and globalization erupted. Best known for The Great Transformation, Polanyi’s wide-ranging thought anticipated twenty-first-century civilizational challenges of ecological collapse, social disintegration and international conflict, and warned that the unbridled domination of market capitalism would engender nationalist protective counter-movements. In Karl Polanyi and Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt bring together prominent and new thinkers in the field to extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. Kari Polanyi Levitt's opening essay situates Polanyi in the past century shaped by Keynes and Hayek, and explores how and why his ideas may shape the twenty-first century. Her analysis of his Bennington Lectures, which pre-dated and anticipated The Great Transformation, demonstrates how Central European his thought and chief concerns were. The next several contributions clarify, for the first time in Polanyi scholarship, the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Other contributions resolve difficulties in understanding the building blocks of Polanyi's thought: fictitious commodities, the double movement, the United States' exceptional development, the reality of society and socialism as freedom in a complex society. The volume culminates in explorations of how Polanyi has influenced, and can be used to develop, ideas in a number of fields, whether income inequality, world-systems theory or comparative political economy. Contributors: Fred Block, Michael Brie, Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, Hannes Lacher, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Chikako Nakayama, Jamie Peck, Abraham Rotstein, Margaret Somers, Claus Thomasberger, Oscar Ugarteche Galarza.
working definitions (Bertalanffy 1950 ). During the mid-1950s general systemstheory was introduced to business administration, foreign-policy analysis and security studies. 18 Academics in these fields mapped out social interaction as flowcharts that looked like wiring diagrams and circuit boards from electrical engineering. Social groups were said to have adaptive properties and were compared to self-equilibrating models of thermostat systems. Terms like ‘input’, ‘output’ and ‘feedback’ were introduced to represent various stages in economic and political processes
The emergence of ‘left-wing’ Scottish nationalism, 1956–81
Rory Scothorne and Ewan Gibbs
-Nairn thesis and World-Systemstheory. As well as the international
and intellectual significance of 1956, 1955 saw the all-time high Conservative
vote at a general election in Scotland of 50.1 per cent and the peak of Scottish
industrial employment soon followed.3 Our analysis therefore focuses on
the reception and deployment of ‘New Left’ ideas in Scotland between the
1960s and 1980s, particularly in the 1975 Red Paper on Scotland, edited by
Gordon Brown, and Stephen Maxwell’s The Case for Left-Wing Nationalism,
first published in 1981.4 This will include a consideration