A Sociological Theory of Communication

The Self-Organization of the Knowledge-Based Society

by Loet Leydesdorff


Author website: http://www.leydesdorff.net
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Networks of communication evolve in terms of reflexive exchanges. The codification of these reflections in language, that is, at the social level, can be considered as the operating system of society. Under sociologically specifiable conditions, the discursive reconstructions can be expected to make the systems under reflection increasingly knowledge-intensive.

This sociological theory of communication is founded in a tradition that includes Giddens' (1979) structuration theory, Habermas' (1981) theory of communicative action, and Luhmann's (1984) proposal to consider social systems as self-organizing. The study also elaborates on Shannon's (1948) mathematical theory of communication for the formalization and operationalization of the non-linear dynamics.

The development of scientific communications can be studied using citation analysis. The exchange media at the interfaces of knowledge production provide us with the evolutionary model of a Triple Helix of university-industry-government relations. The construction of the European Information Society can then be analyzed in terms of interacting networks of communication. The issues of sustainable development and the expectation of social change are discussed in relation to the possibility of a general theory of communication.

In this book, LoetLeydesdorff sets out to answer the question, "Can society be considered as a self-organizing (autopoietic) system. In the process, Leydesdorff, develops a general sociological theory of communication, as well as a special theory of scientific communication designed to analyze complex systems such as the Euroean Information Society. (from review in JASIST 53[1], 2002, 62-63)

About The Author

Loet Leydesdorff (Ph.D. sociology, M.A. philosophy, and M.Sc. biochemistry) is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Amsterdam. He has published in the philosophy of science, social network analysis, scientometrics, and the sociology of innovation. His studies of communication in science, technology, and innovation enabled him to specify theory and methods for understanding the dynamics of knowledge-based development.

By the same author: The Challenge of Scientometrics: The development, measurement, and self-organization of scientific communications (1995, 2001). A Sociological Theory of Communications: The Self-Organization of the Knowledge-Based Society (Universal Publishers, 2001). The Knowledge-Based Economy: Modeled, Measured, Simulated (Universal Publishers, 2006).