What is the double time theory

The problem of double contingency as the initial problem of social and sociological theory

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Jurit Kärtner, The problem of double contingency as an initial problem of the social and the sociological theory (2015), Beltz Juventa, 69469 Weinheim, ISSN: 2195-0695, 2015 # 01, p. 60


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Summary: In Social Systems Luhmann completes a radicalization of Parsons' formulation of the problem of double contingency (I). He distinguishes a structured version of the problem from a pure version, which describes its communicative problematization and solution (II). Their analysis along the meaning dimensions allows the systematic differentiation of partial theories of social operation (theory of social positions / theory of symbolically generalized communication media, time theory / theory of action, theory of selection areas / theory of contingency formulas, III.1). Independently of this, dimension-specific partial theories of the observation of society are then differentiated (coupling theory, evolution theory, structure and system differentiation theory, III.2). As part of the analysis of the problem of double contingency and the systematization of sociology as a twofold social theory and analysis, the article also emphasizes the importance of the basic concept of asymmetrization, a determination of the functions of the attribution of freedom for communication systems, a new version of the distinction between system-theoretical levels - including a proposal to distinguish between factual, social and temporal subsystems of society - as well as a clear distinction between structure and system differentiation.



Keywords: double contingency, Luhmann, system theory, asymmetrization, system levels, structure and system differentiation





Abstract: In his book Social Systems, Niklas Luhmann radicalizes the problem of double contingency, first formulated by Talcott Parsons (I). He differentiates between a pure and a structured version of the problem, the latter describing its communicative problematization and solution (II). An analysis of the structured problem referring to the social, the temporal and the factual dimension of meaning leads to a differentiated theory of societal operating (theory of social positions / theory of symbolically generalized media of communication, time theory / action theory, theory of selection domains / theory of contingency formulas, III.1). Separate from the analysis of the problem of double contingency but also alongside the dimensions of meaning, I will then argue for a systematically differentiated theory of the observation of society (coupling theory, evolutionary theory, differentiation theory of structures and systems, III.2) . In the course of the analysis of the problem of double contingency and of the systematization of sociology as a twofold theory and analysis of society, the article also provides an accentuation of the significance of the basic concept of asymmetrization, a determination of the functions of the ascription of freedom for communication systems, a revised version of the levels of systems theory - including the proposition to differentiate between factual, social and temporal subsystems of society -, and a clear distinction between the differentiation of structures and systems.



Keywords: Double Contingency, Luhmann, Systems Theory, Asymmetrization, System Levels, Differentiation of Structures an Systems