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Social immune mechanisms: Luhmann and potentialisation technologies

Andersen, Niels Å. and Stenner, Paul (2019). Social immune mechanisms: Luhmann and potentialisation technologies. Theory, Culture & Society (Early Access).

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276419868768
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Abstract

Contemporary discourses of management are full of encouragements to ‘expect the unexpected’ and to celebrate ‘the future of the future’. Many new public managerial technologies of change – such as steering Labs, future games, and managerial performance arts - promise the co- creative ‘potentialisation’ of employees, citizens and organisations. This paper approaches such potentialisation technologies as immune mechanisms which serve to protect the social system from itself. From a perspective inspired by autopoietic systems theory, potentialisation technologies provide autoimmunity by problematising institutional structures and providing ‘anti-structural’ space-times to facilitate transformation. There is a price to pay for this immune function, however, since these immune mechanisms cannot discriminate between productive and unproductive structures. By dissolving the certainty of the expectations that underlie the connectivity of diverse organisational operations, they risk harming the welfare systems that host them.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
ISSN: 1460-3616
Keywords: Luhmann; system theory; potentialization; social theory; social immune system; welfare
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 62471
Depositing User: Paul Stenner
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2019 09:03
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2019 18:22
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/62471
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