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Addressing Modernity

Social Systems Theory and U.S. Cultures

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Edited by Hannes Bergthaller and Carsten Schinko

Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems is one of the most ambitious attempts to create a coherent account of global modernity. Primarily interested in the fundamental structures of modern society, however, Luhmann himself paid relatively little attention to regional variations. The aim of this book is to seek out modernity in one particular location: The United States of America. Gathering essays from a group of cultural and literary scholars, sociologists, and philosophers, Addressing Modernity reassesses the claims of American exceptionalism by setting them in the context of Luhmann’s conception of modernity, and explores how social systems theory can generate new perspectives on what has often been described as the first thoroughly modern nation. As a study of American society and culture from a Luhmannian vantage point, the book is of interest to scholars from both American Studies and social systems theory in general.