Near the beginning of “The Paradigm of Immunization” (ch. 2) in Bios, Esposito tracks the two critical lines which illustrate the “immunitary semantics at the center of modern self-representation” (48). One is “Freud to Norbert Elias,” how violence becomes embedded “within the confines of the individual pysche” (48); the other line he tracks leads to “Parson’s functionalism and Luhmann’s systems theory”(49). Esposito remarks that Luhmann “is the one who has derived the most radical consequences from immunization, particularly regarding terminology…His thesis that systems function not by rejecting conflicts and contradictions, but by producing them as necessary antigens for reactivating their own antibodies, places the entire Luhmannian discourse within the semantic orbit of immunity” (49).
Earlier this term I wrote a short piece on Luhmann’s systems theory and the concept of the individual that emerges in his essay “The Individuality of the Individual: Historical Meanings and Contemporary Problems.” I thought it…
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