Systeemiteoreettisia askelmerkkejä nyky-yhteiskuntaan : Tutkielma systeemiteoreettisesta yhteiskuntateoriasta ja sen metodologisesta käytöstä

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Title: Systeemiteoreettisia askelmerkkejä nyky-yhteiskuntaan : Tutkielma systeemiteoreettisesta yhteiskuntateoriasta ja sen metodologisesta käytöstä
Author: Virtanen, Mikko J.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies
Publisher: Tutkijaliitto
Date: 2015-12-12
Language: fi
Belongs to series: Paradeigma
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: The aim of this dissertation is to develop a systems theoretical framework for studying contemporary societal phenomena qualitatively. The development work is based on Niklas Luhmann s systems theoretical oeuvre, especially on Luhmann s view of modern society as social systems. Social systems are self-referential systems which use communication for producing communication. For Luhmannian theory of society, along with the general view of social systems as self-referential communication chains, societal differentiation is the key principle: there is no centre, core or top in modern society but societal subsystems, such as economy, politics, law and science, all of which are autonomous to each other. Moreover, interaction, organisation and subsystems are observed as different types of systems whose logics of communication chaining differ from each other. Drawing on these general ideas as well as later theoretical discussions and developments especially in German systems theoretical sociology, a theoretical outline of the general logics of contemporary society is formed. However, and in contrast to Luhmann s late work, the study at hand focuses on systems theoretical methodology instead of presenting a strong theory of modern society as such. With this aim of developing a methodological focus, the monograph discusses these issues also with other sociological traditions, such as Durkheimian theory of society, American pragmatism, Erving Goffman s methodological views, ethnomethodology and Bruno Latour s theory of networks and collectives. The methodological development work culminates in a qualitative research framework, named as a systems theoretical research template. Hence, the monograph joins a vibrant conversation in the social sciences about the theory research link and advances systems theoretical considerations about the current methodological issues. The research template is further utilized in a case study of the work of the (Finnish) National Advisory Board on Social Welfare and Health Care Ethics (ETENE) set up in 1998 under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The ethnographic data, obtained through the observation of the board meetings, is analysed through the systems theoretical template in order to develop a two-part focus: to examine the practices of the board work as such as well as the role of the board in a wider, differentiated societal context. The ethics of the board meetings does not follow the principles of academic ethics but rather provides an opportunity for an open and polyphonic pondering on complex and burdensome issues. The function of ethics in the meetings is thus par excellence performative: to level the statuses of the participants and to make it possible for them to encounter each other as authentic and respectable persons with different views and opinions. The organisational procedures frame the board work for their part to a degree but there is also space for a less structurated and more open-ended debate. Consequently, the board seems to oscillate between a bureaucratic, decision-centred organisation and an open agora discussion and this ambivalence is also a guarantee for its dynamics and independence.Systeemiteoreettisia askelmerkkejä nyky-yhteiskuntaan on kirjoittajansa pitkän, saksalaisen yhteiskuntateorian maailmaan suuntautuneen tutkimusmatkan tulos. Teos esittelee matkan aikana muodostuneen tulkinnan yhteiskuntatieteellisestä systeemiteoriasta sekä tulkinnalle rakentuvan tutkimustavan. Askelmerkit rakentuvat systeemiteoreettisesti, mutta niiden avulla ponnistetaan empiirisen yhteiskuntatutkimuksen kentälle. Systeemiteorian yhteiskunta rakentuu koossa pysymisen kiinnepisteen sijasta kommunikaation eriytymiselle vailla suuntaa ja päätepistettä. Teoksessa kehitellään tämän Niklas Luhmannin yhteiskuntateoreettisen lähtökohdan pohjalta systeemiteoreettista metodologiaa nyky-yhteiskunnan tutkimuksen tarpeisiin. Kehittelytyössä systeemiteoriaa avataan myös keskusteluihin muiden ajankohtaisten, yhteiskuntaa luotaavien teoreettisten tarkastelutapojen kanssa. Näistä keskeisiä ovat Bruno Latourin ajattelu, yhteiskunnan koossa pysymisen kysymykselle rakentuvat yhteiskuntateoriat, amerikkalainen pragmatismi sekä erilaiset mikrososiologiset lähestymistavat. Kehiteltyä metodologiaa hyödynnetään myös konkreettisesti lääketieteen empiiristä etiikkaa ja eettisen neuvottelukunnan toimintaa tarkastelevassa tapaustutkimuksessa. Monipuolinen teos on hyödyllistä luettavaa yhteiskuntateoriasta kiinnostuneiden ohella myös laadullisen tutkimuksen metodologiasta ja lääketieteen etiikasta kiinnostuneille.
Subject: sosiologia
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

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