Raum, Region und Stadt in der Systemtheorie

Stichweh, Rudolf
July 1998
Soziale Systeme;1998, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p341
Academic Journal
The essay tries to define more precisely the relevance of three concepts rarely mentioned in systems theory: Space, region and city. Regarding the concept of space a revision is proposed: Spatial differences in the environment of society should be examined via the concept of structural coupling as prominent, causal factors in sociocultural evolution. In this respect systems theory needs an addendum one might call an ecology of society. Then, on the other hand, there are spatial differences constituted by meaningful communicative operations inside society. In this respect the essay reconstructs the reasons for systems theory not including space as a further dimension of the basic concept of meaning. This conceptual decision is described as being motivated by a significant shift in the course of sociocultural evolution from spatial to temporal differences. In examining the two concepts region and city the essay first of all presents a systematic proposal for situating concepts of regions of society in a differentiation theory which takes into account the fact of world society. With regard to the concept of city, the essay chooses the opposite option: by giving a minimal reconstruction of the history of Chicago sociology it affirms the implicit decision of systems theory no longer to concede the status of a fundamental concept in sociological theory to the idea of the city.


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