Niklas Luhmann

(1963 words)
  • Patrick Fortmann (Harvard University )

Niklas Luhmann was not a literary critic in the strict sense of the word. In fact, the German sociologist was always fond of saying that he had but one project: the theory of society. Considering the size of his œuvre, encompassing roughly three dozens of books and more than three hundred articles, the claim appears modest rather than preposterous. Intellectually a successor to thinkers such as Max Weber and Georg Simmel, Luhmann devoted his career to developing an original, universal, and comprehensive theory of the social world: a “super-theory”, as he once described it, that would be at once limitless and focused in scope, for it would consider and describe nothing less than the world, but exclusively in its social …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Fortmann, Patrick. "Niklas Luhmann". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 April 2008
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]