Publication 3517

Buchinger E. (2007) Applying Luhmann to Conceptualize Public Governance of Autopoietic Organizations. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 14(2–3): 173–187.
The conceptualization of society and actors as an interrelated ensemble of autopoietic systems-as it is done in Luhmann’s theory of social systemsÍ-raises above all the question: How is it possible to govern operationally closed entities? Luhmann himself was a steering-pessimist. He devoted considerable effort to the explanation of the constraints of governance. But closer examination of the theory of social systems shows that it could be used as well to develop ideas about ‘how to govern. ’ The present text attempts to interpret the autopoietic self-steering approach against its original steering-pessimism-intention. Contrary to the argument that the autopoiesis approach contributes to the steering discussion in only a marginal way, it will be shown how the conceptualization of the governance of autopoietic systems is possible. This will be done by using the concepts of resonance, openess to the environment (Umweltoffenheit) and media of steering (Steuerungsmedien). The empirical relevance of this approach will be demonstrated by the example of public governance of organizational systems.
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