Structural Insecurities/Instabilities

Communication: Reflections on Niklas Luhmann's Social Systems Theory

The use of conflicts in communication leads to expectable, that is, structural, insecurities. A society that constructs greater complexity must therefore find forms for creating and tolerating structural insecurity. (Luhmann, Social Systems, p. 378)

A structural insecurity is a predictable insecurity. Another term Luhmann uses is structural instability. Structural instability/insecurity is caused by contradictions, and it can be reduced or increased in the factual, social, and temporal dimensions.

One can begin with the fact that an increase in communicative possibilities also increases the probability of conflict. (376)

In a social context such as classroom or family, as opportunities for communication increase, the probability of conflict increases. In a classroom where open discussion and debate are encouraged, conflicts will arise. The pedagogy intentionally reproduces instability, but these conflicts also have to be managed and perhaps ultimately revolved. Since the conflict is expected (it is a structural insecurity), there…

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