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Culture as an interface between communication and comparison. The concept of culture from the systems theory perspective

Anastasia Hournazidi

Abstract


In his systemic theory, Niklas Luhmann identifies culture with a society’s memory.In particular, memory is the difference between a recollection and memory.Memory, that is, culture, is not anymore a kind of archive collecting and storing ideas, knowledge or events, but more than that, a symptomatic access to information.This leads to the generation of a culture in abundance and polymorphism in cultural presence.Luhmann speaks of a dynamic memory, a potential culture and a complex variety, subject to the will for communication. This means that culture is communication, and in particular, specific forms of communication.Culture is no longer an object, but a point in which several prospects meet, the prospects of an observer.The observer’s aim is not to interpret, but to compare the object with the prospects of other observers.In this way we are led to the phenomenon of the culture’s cross-section and doubling, characterizing the semantics of the modern era.Each cultural occurrence is doubled and exposed to comparison.Via the process of difference, we observe a transition from culture’s ceremonial consideration, based on the procedures of repetition and imitation, to a culture of communication, based on observation and comparison.Acts, events, myths and documents are no longer monuments, but structures of communication, standards of meaning, describing society.

Keywords


System Theory, Nature of Culture

References


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