Publication 2748

Hejl P. M. (1980) The problem of a scientific description of society. In: Benseler F., Hejl P. M. & Koeck W. K. (eds.) Autopoiesis, communication, and society. Campus, Frankfurt/New York: 147–162. Fulltext at
Excerpt: In “developed” as well as in still “developing” countries “society” is, for many people, an important object of reflection and discussion. Turning to science, however, we find a somewhat different picture, namely, that “society” has, without any further specification, more or less become the “property” of the sociologists. Its political aspect con­cerns the political scientists, the linguists deal with language and communication and related social phenomena, whereas the historians are responsible for what is known about past societies. The individual, finally, is the “property” of the psychologists. This situation is the result of a process of differentiation to make the scientific enterprise more efficient through greater specialisation. Nevertheless, and this is my starting point, there is no consensus between sociologists as to how “society” can be described, and hence be understood, in a scientific way.

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