Department of Political Science

Gorm Harste

Departmentality:   The functional differentiation of systems & the decapitation of the body semantics - or: how to ground Luhmann's theory of functional differentiation

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearch

  • Department of Political Science

Niklas Luhmann's system theory outlines a methodology that focuses empirical problems in depth. This is possible by means of an abductive use of an overwhelmingly accessibility to theoretical observations. However, this theory is itself a result of historical developments. It origins in a path of self-descriptive communications studied by Luhmann as semantic transformations. The paper goes back to Immanuel Kant's theory of systems and traces its origins on the basis of an evolution of a subdifferentiated legal system. Especially the semantic differentiation of forms is followed and takes a focus on semantic forms in chancellor H.-F. d'Aguesseau's and Fredrick the Great's self-description of power. The overall aim is to study the legacy and the strength of functional differentiation in state formation. How did the separated powers of functional differentiation emerge and how did it describe itself as difference to a reason of state?

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethodologies of systems : - How to get to the case and how to get behind it
Number of pages20
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2008

    Research areas

  • Luhmann, functional differentiation, Kant, Separation of Powers, Rule of Law, Enleghtenment, absolutism

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