The Meaning of Culture
Thesis Eleven, Vol. 51, pp. 37-51, 1997
15 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013
Date Written: July 15, 1997
The article inquires into the uneasiness of sociological systems theory about culture. Culture alternatively is called the solution to the problem of double contingency (Parsons) and removed from this solution (Luhmann). It is shown that meaning is the more basic term whose description reveals a form rule of social systems which is only patterned, yet not understood by culture. Culture is a memory and control device of society. It may be conceived of as providing the distinction of correct versus incorrect behavior. But who decides on the correctness or incorrectness of this distinction? Sociological thinking takes off where the cultural and the social are distinguished.
Keywords: culture, Luhmann, Parsons, systems theory
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