Read Love as Passion: The Codification of Intimacy by Niklas Luhmann Free Online
Book Title: Love as Passion: The Codification of Intimacy|
The author of the book: Niklas Luhmann
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Reader ratings: 4.5
Edition: Stanford University Press
Date of issue: July 1st 1998
ISBN 13: 9780804732536
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.80 MB
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"I believe that Luhmann is the only true genius in the social sciences alive today. By this, I mean that not only is he smart, extremely productive, and amazingly erudite, though all this is true enough, but also that he has, in the course of an improbable career, elaborated a theory of the social that completely reinvents sociology and destroys its most cherished dogmas." So wrote Stephen Fuchs in his Contemporary Sociology review of Luhmann's major theoretical work, Social Systems (Stanford, 1995). In this volume, Luhmann analyzes the evolution of love in Western Europe from the seventeenth century to the present.
"Luhmann's unique, monumental, theory-building effort is best described as a consistent attempt to deploy the tools and the inspirations of three strategies: modern information theory, structuralism, and evolutionary theory. . . . Perhaps nothing conveys more poignantly Luhmann's unusual blend of scientific precision with artistic sensibility than his replacement of Parson's 'reciprocity of perspective' with his own 'interpersonal interpenetration.' The first is cool, calculating, cognitive, and dispassionate; the second connotes a richness of relationship that leaves no human faculty unmoved. . . . Luhmann's work is important because, arguably, it comes closer than all other sociological strategies to restoring the lost link between academically reputable social theorizing and the subjective experience of life." —American Journal of Sociology
"There is a dearth of analytical writing about the emotions and sentiments that seem to motivate most human action, at least in everyday discussion, although some researchers are making some efforts to remedy this situation. Luhmann's Love as Passion is an outstanding contribution to this emerging trend . . . full of novel information and fascinating ideas." —Contemporary Sociology
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Read information about the authorNiklas Luhmann was a German sociologist, and a prominent thinker in systems theory, who is increasingly recognized as one of the most important social theorists of the 20th century.
Luhmann wrote prolifically, with more than 70 books and nearly 400 scholarly articles published on a variety of subjects, including law, economy, politics, art, religion, ecology, mass media, and love. While his theories have yet to make a major mark in American sociology, his theory is currently well known and popular in German sociology and has also been rather intensively received in Japan and Eastern Europe, including Russia. His relatively low profile elsewhere is partly due to the fact that translating his work is a difficult task, since his writing presents a challenge even to readers of German, including many sociologists. (p. xxvii Social System 1995)
Much of Luhmann's work directly deals with the operations of the legal system and his autopoietic theory of law is regarded as one of the more influential contributions to the sociology of law and socio-legal studies.
Luhmann is probably best known to North Americans for his debate with the critical theorist Jürgen Habermas over the potential of social systems theory. Like his one-time mentor Talcott Parsons, Luhmann is an advocate of "grand theory," although neither in the sense of philosophical foundationalism nor in the sense of "meta-narrative" as often invoked in the critical works of post-modernist writers. Rather, Luhmann's work tracks closer to complexity theory broadly speaking, in that it aims to address any aspect of social life within a universal theoretical framework - of which the diversity of subjects he wrote about is an indication. Luhmann's theory is sometimes dismissed as highly abstract and complex, particularly within the Anglophone world, whereas his work has had a more lasting influence on scholars from German-speaking countries, Scandinavia and Italy.
Luhmann himself described his theory as "labyrinth-like" or "non-linear" and claimed he was deliberately keeping his prose enigmatic to prevent it from being understood "too quickly", which would only produce simplistic misunderstandings.
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