Department of Political Science

Gorm Harste

Magtens autopoiesis: - En rekonstruktion af Luhmanns teori om magt som synkroniseret selvreference

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

  • Department of Political Science

We can pose four 1000-dollars questions of the transformation of power: How power emerged, how power was transformed, and how power had the power to  make itself invisible with a classical reductionist conception of power, and in the future, how power will transform itself once more with the transformation of communication. My aim is to answer those four questions in the present article.

First I will remark some general notions about the form of communication as a form of power. In social theory today there is no general theory of power. Classical notions are useless as much more than themselves an ideology of power inside power. Though the classic notions in political science almost happened to turn the concept off, Foucault's and Bourdieu's genealogies did re-establish other ways. Although it might seem a bit odd, with Niklas Luhmann's enormous theory we can reconstruct the theory of power and link a general theory of power with historical evolution. The thesis of the article is that power emerged in order to synchronise society with itself. Another more normative conception would observe synchronisation as coordination and link power with normative restrictions. An English translation of the article is available from the author

Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationLuhmann og magt
EditorsLine Hilt, Knut Venneslan, Bjørnar Mortensen Vik
Number of pages39
Place of publicationKøbenhavn
PublisherUnge Pædagoger
Publication year2010
ISBN (print)9788790220846
Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Research areas

  • Luhmann, power, historical sociology, communication, self-reference, system theory, autopoiesis

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 22198743