Grenzrauschen. Zur Figur des Parasiten in der Systemtheorie

Leanza, Matthias. (2014) Grenzrauschen. Zur Figur des Parasiten in der Systemtheorie. Behemoth : A Journal on Civilisation, 7 (1). pp. 28-47.

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At the heart of systems theory (N. Luhmann) is the problem of closure. One of the key questions is: How does a system close itself by drawing a boundary between itself and the environment? The ways in which a system generates and maintains its boundary depends on the type of operation it performs. Against this background it is, at first, astonishing that since the mid-1980s Luhmann has repeatedly referred to Michel Serres’ book Le parasite. According to Serres, the figure of the parasite symbolises the impossibility of operational closure and stable boundaries. It is the excluded that returns to the inside. It is in this respect, this article argues, that the figure of the parasite cannot be incorporated into systems theory without rethinking operational closure and systemic boundaries. After having elaborated this problem, some of the main aspects of Serres’ figure of the parasite will be reconstructed in order to adapt them within systems theory. It will be suggested to conceive of the parasite as an operation that confirms and rejects the operational closure of its host system. It creates order and disorder at the same time. Furthermore this paper argues that the notion of the parasite allows a more comprehensive understanding of modern society – an understanding that overcomes the temptation to behold a clear-cut order everywhere.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Soziologie > Soziologie (Paul)
UniBasel Contributors:Leanza, Matthias
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg im Breisgau
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:30 Mar 2021 07:39
Deposited On:30 Mar 2021 07:39

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