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Combining Luhmann and Actor-Network Theory to see Farm Enterprises as Self-organizing Systems

Noe, Egon and Alrøe, Hugo Fjelsted (2003) Combining Luhmann and Actor-Network Theory to see Farm Enterprises as Self-organizing Systems. Paper at: Opening of systems theory conference, Copenhagen, 23 - 25 May 2003. [Unpublished]

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From a rural, sociological point of view no social theories have so far been able to grasp the ontological complexity and special character of a farm enterprise as an entity in a really satisfying way. The contention of this paper is that a combination of Luhmann’s theory of social systems and actor-network theory (ANT) of Latour, Callon, and Law offers a new and radical framework for understanding a farm as a self-organizing, heterogeneous system.
Luhmann’s theory offers an approach to understand a farm as a self-organizing system (operating in meaning) that must produce and reproduce itself through demarcation from the surrounding world by selection of meaning. The meaning of the system is expressed through the goals, values, and the logic of the farming processes. His theory, however, is less useful when studying the heterogeneous character of a farm as a mixture of biology, sociology, technology, and economy.
ANT offers an approach to focus on the heterogeneous network of interactions of human and non-human actors such as knowledge, technology, money, farmland, animals, plants, etc., and as to how these interactions depend on both the quality of the actors and the network context of interaction, but the theory is weak when it comes to explaining the self-organizing character of a farm enterprise.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Farm enterprise, self-organizing systems, actor-network theory, autopoietic social systems, semiotic
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > V.1 (SYNERGY) Coordination and synergy
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Deposited By: Alrøe, PhD Hugo Fjelsted
ID Code:778
Deposited On:06 Jun 2003
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed
Additional Publishing Information:A previous version (with a slightly different title) has been presented at the XVth ISA World Congress of Sociology, RC51 Sociocybernetics, Brisbane, Australia, 7 – 13th July, 2002.

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