Social and Economic Systems Studies: The Journal of the Japan Association for Social and Economic Systems Studies
Online ISSN : 2432-6550
Print ISSN : 0913-5472
The Life-world and the Social System : In the case of Parsons, Habermas and Luhmann
Tsutomu SATO
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1983 Volume 1 Pages 12-20


It is held generally that the theory of "life-world" is not compatible with system theory. This view shows that sociology fails to explain fully the interrelations of action and "Hand-lungszusammenhang" i. e. social order. As to Parsons, his theory is said to have remained aloof from the phenomenological concept "life-world". For example, according to J, Habermas, Parsons lacks any adequate concept equivalent to life-world, which is based on intersubjective communication. But is this true? In my opinion, Parsons' system theory does contain the conception of life-world. He cannot, however, integrate this conception with system theory. Recently, J. Habermas, in his attempt to conceptualize society as life-world, uses this concept as complementary to that of communicative action. Proceeding along this path, he comes to conceive of society as the synthesis of "social integration" and "system integration". In contrast, N, Luhmann asserts that life-world is adequately comprehended in terms of system theory. From this perspective, which is based on the paradigm change of system theory, he intends to grasp the interpenetration of individual and social system based on this change. I think that his basic conception concerning system makes possible a new approach to life-world.

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© 1983 The Japan Association for Social and Economic Systems Studies
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