Luhmann's "social Systems" Theory: Preliminary Fragments for a Theory of Translation
The present essay is an attempt to apply the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann's "Social Systems" theory to translation. Luhmann's book unfolds a theoretical view of human society as a closed system. In trying to apply it to translation as a practical communicative complexity, especially from the perspective of a functional model as e.g. the "skopos" theory, certain features discussed in Luhmann will prove to be helpful for a better understanding of the concept of translation, others must be reinterpreted for the present purpose. The "fragments" now published follow Luhmann's considerations as closely as possible, but refrain from drawing detailed parallels to "translation" as a complex system. Prof. Dr. Hans J. Vermeer taught Portuguese and translation theory at the universities of Mainz and Heidelberg. Retired since 1992, he nonetheless continued to accompany the development of translation theories and to teach in various universities abroad. His work comprises (mostly unpublished) lectures and contributions to conferences and publications on Translation Studies, medieval German specialized literature and South Asian languages.
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According to Luhmann action adaptation assumed assumption attributed autopoiesis autopoietic becomes behaviour boundaries brain called co-determine communication complexity concept connectivity consciousness considered constitute contradiction culture culture-specific decision Descartes differentiate double contingency elements emerge emotions entities evaluation evolution existence expectations function German Giordano Bruno her/his holistic human indefinite number indicators individual instantaneous intended interaction interpenetration interpretation language linguistic macrocosmic meaning memes memetic meso meso-level mesocosmic micro-level microphysics Morphogenesis Nicolaus Cusanus non-verbal observing system one’s organisms other-observation partner perceived perception perspective phatic phenomena phenomenon possible processes and events producer psychic qualia quasi-)instantaneous reaction real world reality recipient recipient(s reduction refers reflexive Reiz relations rheme rules s)he Saussure’s selection self-observation self-reference sense signifié similar Sinn situation skopos social system society spacial stimulus structure subsystems symbiosis system cf system theory system’s temporal extension term texteme translation Turkish literature understanding unity utterance verbal Vermeer virtuality