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2010 - Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies Pages: unavailable || Words: 9704 words || 
1. Leydesdorff, Loet. "Giddens’ “Structuration,” Luhmann’s “Self-organization,” and the Operationalization of the Dynamics of Meaning" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2019-08-19 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The two most influential European theories, designed to capture the complexities of decision-making and social change in the modern world, Luhmann’s social systems theory and Giddens’ structuration theory of action share an emphasis on reflexivity. They also focus on meaning along a divide between inter-human communication and intentional action as two different systems of reference. These contrast with the theories that inform most North American sociologists and political scientists, who tend to regard direct input-output relations between institutions and human actors as largely unproblematic.

By recombining these two European theories we are able to provide simulations of interaction, organization, and self-organization in the communication of meaning as an additional layer of inter-human communications. This layer remains structurally rooted in the double contingency of the human encounter; the two layers are reflexive upon, and therefore reconstructive to, each other. Using the mutual information in three dimensions, the imprint of meaning processing in the modelling system on the historical development of uncertainty in the modelled system can be measured. This is shown with an empirical case of intellectual organization in a textual domain of scientific articles.

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