White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

The Theory of Functional Differentiation and the History of Modern Society. Reflections on the Reception of Systems Theory in Recent Historiography

Ziemann, Benjamin (2007) The Theory of Functional Differentiation and the History of Modern Society. Reflections on the Reception of Systems Theory in Recent Historiography. Soziale System, 13 (1+2). pp. 220-229. ISSN 0948423X

Full text available as:
[img] Text
ZiemannDifferentiation.pdf

Download (86Kb)

Abstract

Contrary to other key elements of Luhmann’s systems theoretical sociology, his theory of functional differentiation has not been widely received among historians of modern society. The article is discussing some reasons for this situation. One important reason is the persistence of an older, Parsonian concept of differentiation along the lines of a stable three- or four-tier model. Another one is the assumption held by many social historians, particularly since the boom of cultural history in the 1980s, that the economy has to be seen as a core of modern society, and that modern society can hence be best described as a ‘class society’. The paper also discusses the use of Luhmann’s theory of functional differentiation in the social history of religion, where its has been employed to conceptualise secularisation as a reversible process in which the Catholic Church tried to adapt to functional differentiation and react in its pastoral strategies to some of its social consequences.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Niklas Luhmann; functional differentiation; secularization; societal history; systems theory; cultural turn
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Department of History (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Benjamin Ziemann
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2010 13:24
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:00
Status: Published
Publisher: Lucius & Lucius
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10966

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item