This lecture aims to study Luhmann’s special critical social theory. His topical criticism concerns two aspects of his analysis of media communication, which we assume here as a general hypothesis: 1. media communication systems cannot be called communication in every respect, not in the historical and methodological meaning assigned to this term (sharing, pooling, etc.); 2. the anti-Humanism of Luhmann's theory may be helpful to speak of the power of media fascination. Suggestion is, therefore, the keyword of the latest media. Their abilities are not described in terms like "transfer", "connectivity" and even "understanding", but alteration or "irritation". This process is what takes place within the social structures placed before media constructs. At one point, we start from the assumption that in Luhmann’s point of view, social systems are able to create "sense". This is impossible for social actors. All systems (from art critics to the system of new journalists) self-build structures of meaning. These systems are, in fact, the only way to produce “so called” socio-cultural meaning. After building these horizons of meaning, they operate further, on the basis of what they have produced. But this production of meaning is renewed only within the boundaries of these systems. One consequence of this - and it is the second point - is that the media (old and new) have neither the opportunity to progress in an ethical sense, nor to advance the whole of society. The basic problem is that communication is not supported by the absolute chance of creating understanding between systems and among individuals. Nevertheless, it still does. The imprinting systems might offer something meaningful about what is public, but without being able to transmit to them universal validity. Sense, self-produced, is not transmissible to all external systems. The media system can only lead a certain resonance with the outside, among the audience; this is composed of: expectations; empty breaks and, during use, random readings and probably misunderstandings. Script goal is insight into important relativist aspects underlined by Luhmann. The critical paradigm emphasises the manipulative power of the media: with low reliability; and, above all, the recognisability in expressing opinions and partisan views, or at least partially so. The thesis of this lecture is that Luhmann’s critical points are rather different but functionally equivalent ways to arrive at the critical paradigm, in terms of the total unreliability of the media. Which, from Social Systems (1990) onwards are: inability to advance in company, or make them stronger; inadequate in order to encourage self-diffusion processes (intra-systemic) of meaning. Finally, these are irrelevant to performing socio-descriptive action, since they work only for self-describing structures. As metaphors of full disclosure, the media is, on the contrary, a device that increases the entropy of interpretations, economically controlled by external structures (the promoters of the media) and even allopoietic.

Luhmann's Complexity of Constructivism: a relativistic way to revive Critical Theory

COSSI, Gianugo
2018

Abstract

This lecture aims to study Luhmann’s special critical social theory. His topical criticism concerns two aspects of his analysis of media communication, which we assume here as a general hypothesis: 1. media communication systems cannot be called communication in every respect, not in the historical and methodological meaning assigned to this term (sharing, pooling, etc.); 2. the anti-Humanism of Luhmann's theory may be helpful to speak of the power of media fascination. Suggestion is, therefore, the keyword of the latest media. Their abilities are not described in terms like "transfer", "connectivity" and even "understanding", but alteration or "irritation". This process is what takes place within the social structures placed before media constructs. At one point, we start from the assumption that in Luhmann’s point of view, social systems are able to create "sense". This is impossible for social actors. All systems (from art critics to the system of new journalists) self-build structures of meaning. These systems are, in fact, the only way to produce “so called” socio-cultural meaning. After building these horizons of meaning, they operate further, on the basis of what they have produced. But this production of meaning is renewed only within the boundaries of these systems. One consequence of this - and it is the second point - is that the media (old and new) have neither the opportunity to progress in an ethical sense, nor to advance the whole of society. The basic problem is that communication is not supported by the absolute chance of creating understanding between systems and among individuals. Nevertheless, it still does. The imprinting systems might offer something meaningful about what is public, but without being able to transmit to them universal validity. Sense, self-produced, is not transmissible to all external systems. The media system can only lead a certain resonance with the outside, among the audience; this is composed of: expectations; empty breaks and, during use, random readings and probably misunderstandings. Script goal is insight into important relativist aspects underlined by Luhmann. The critical paradigm emphasises the manipulative power of the media: with low reliability; and, above all, the recognisability in expressing opinions and partisan views, or at least partially so. The thesis of this lecture is that Luhmann’s critical points are rather different but functionally equivalent ways to arrive at the critical paradigm, in terms of the total unreliability of the media. Which, from Social Systems (1990) onwards are: inability to advance in company, or make them stronger; inadequate in order to encourage self-diffusion processes (intra-systemic) of meaning. Finally, these are irrelevant to performing socio-descriptive action, since they work only for self-describing structures. As metaphors of full disclosure, the media is, on the contrary, a device that increases the entropy of interpretations, economically controlled by external structures (the promoters of the media) and even allopoietic.
978-1-5275-0756-2
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1136823
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