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Luhmann, Niklas

(376 words)

Author(s): Hesse, Heidrun
[German Version] (Dec 8, 1927, Lüneburg, near Hamburg – Nov 6, 1998, Oerlinghausen, near Bielefeld, Westphalia), one of the most important social theorists of the 20th century. Luhmann viewed sociology as the most important academic discipline of modernity and developed a conceptually highly ambitious version of sociological systems theory. After taking a degree in law, ¶ he began a career in Lüneburg's public administration followed by service in the ministry of education and cultural affairs of Lower Saxony. After studying sociology with T. Parsons…

Systems Theory

(3,570 words)

Author(s): Pollack, Detlef | Hesse, Heidrun | Herms, Eilert | Dinkel, Christoph | Evers, Dirk
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Systems theory considers religion one social system alongside others, like the economy, law (Law and Jurisprudence), politics, and education and analyzes it in terms of the function it discharges. The evolutionary approach of systems theory assumes that in primordial local communities the function of religion was nonspecific and was fulfilled in combination with other functions – military, economic, and familial. The transition to modern societies witnessed a dif…