Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik

An independent international centre for advanced studies

Behavioural studies, Society and Religion Behavioural studies, Society and Religion
Languages and Communication Languages and Communication
Law, Economics, Politics and Governance Law, Economics, Politics and Governance
Media, Arts, Culture and History Media, Arts, Culture and History
Philosophy and Philosophy of Science Philosophy and Philosophy of Science


Observed with Social Systems Theory
15 Sep 2020 - 18 Sep 2020
Conference directors:
Klaus Laursen, Aarhus University, Denmark
Steffen Roth, La Rochelle Business School, France
Krešimir Žažar, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Gorm Harste, Aarhus University, Denmark
Marcus Heidingsfelder , Xiamen University, China
Conference description:

The conference committee invites contributions on the significance of moral communication in Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. As readers familiar with his work will recognise, Luhmann’s approach to morality is characterised by a profound moral scepticism and a certain neglect of moral communication not only as an occasional topic, but also as a distinct form of communication. As contemporary society is continuously producing moral communication, however, social systems theory is bound to adequately deal with this phenomenon if its claim to a universal theory is to be maintained. We therefore welcome contributions from scholars with an interest in moral communication at all levels of society.


The conference series has always been characterised by fruitful interactions of scholars with diverse paradigmatic and empirical backgrounds in disciplinary fields as different as political science, aesthetics, sociology, theology, history, economics, health, psychology, ecology, education, and organization studies.


Social systems theory is empirically open to new semantics, different codes, and multiple levels of analysis. Presentations could therefore focus, for example, on how the medium of morality emerges from situations of double contingency and/or in everyday communication; how the moral code of good/bad informs decision-making; how complexity is reduced and increased by morally coded communication; the paradoxes that emerge and unfold in conjunction with moral coding; the relationship between moral coding and computer coding (#computerethics #ethicsofartificialintelligence); the relation between ethics and morality; etc.


The conference invites presentations of both conceptual work and empirical studies. Contributions are welcome that either build on the work of Niklas Luhmann or compare or combine social system theory with other theories, thus further developing systems theory by including thoughts from other traditions (e.g. Foucault, Bourdieu, Deleuze, discourse analysis, critical theory, critical management studies, posthumanism, etc).


Abstracts of 400–800 words should be sent to the corresponding convenors* by June 15, 2020. Full papers should be circulated prior to the conference.