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SOCIAL THEORY and the Sociological Discipline(s) - page 39 / 44





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38 ESA Social Theory Conference, Innsbruck, September 11-13, 2008

Frank Welz

Innsbruck, Austria

Sociology towards Transdisciplinarity

Sociology is stuck in a theory crisis. Its cognitive identity seems to be fragmented (1). The continual splicing off into new themes and subfields, however, is fueled by institutional forces. On the one hand, it is a matter of its sheer size, a fragmentation from above. On the other hand, in regard of (non-existent) European sociology a fragmentation from below seems to be at work: local resistance against homogenizing forces (that keeps ‘European’ sociology vibrant between the local and the global). Can social theory keep a fragmented discipline together? My thesis is that recent developments in modern thought (2), reflected in the philosophy of science toward a transdisciplinary process thinking,

may be able to reorient the discipline’s self- understanding und fuel the unifying links that inspire the breadth of sociological studies. It has been Ilya Prigogine in chemistry and Immanuel Wallerstein in social science who argued that a non- mechanistic ‘complex’ world view will be able to obtain a structural reorganisation of the sciences beyond disciplinary boundaries. Their view proposes an instable, evolutionary, and fluctuating reality which is less stable, less geometric and no longer in equilibrium







complexity studies go beyond the traditional philosophy of science and its constructivist ally. Finally, there will be an increasing demand for social theory to transcend the heterogeneity of the applied sociologies by discussing their applicability to a transdisciplinary complex reality (3).

Jan Winczorek

Warsaw, Poland

The Adam Slodowy Effect. Reception of Niklas Luhmann's sociology in sociology of law and legal theory

The paper discusses reception of Luhmann's theory in sociology of law an legal theory. It owes its title to a metaphor of „Slodowy Effect”, a cognitive shock commonly experienced by viewers of famous polish TV show of 1970-80s, to which Luhmann's theory is compared. In its main part the paper discusses main currents of reception of Luhmann's sociology in said

disciplines, distinguishing several ideal-typical patterns of reaction to Luhmann's ideas. This in turn allows for a presentation of several dilemmas of reception, aiming to account for failures and successes in dissemination of theory. Finally, some conclusions are offered concerning the chances of future proliferation of Luhmann's theory in sociology of law as well as more general limits of theory-oriented sociology of law that are becoming apparent in the light of Luhmann's enterprise.

wlan access

In the Sowi building you will have WLAN access to the internet via your laptop, if you like. The login is:

cb571000 / password: esa2008 It will also work till a few days after the conference. Please ask for the information on how to login (a few pages with pictures)

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