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Wednesday, August 5 • 14:00 - 14:30
The Embedded Algedonics of Society

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The embedded Algedonics of Society suggest a conceptual model for the study of social systems based on latter finding from the field of neurosciences (Kahneman et al) and the works from Niklas Luhmann.

Kahneman et al argue that the brain processes in a fast and a slow processing mode. Cognition processes information slowly in a complex way of meaning creation and sense making. The fast system is based on the algedonics of pleasure and pain.

Luhmann argues that for social systems we see the divide of politics and economy along the very sanction mechanisms of positive reward in the economy and negative reward in politics. The economy demands investment for yields, politics demand loyalty to regulations based on the monopoly of physical power. In this perspective the economy and politics resemble the fast algedonics of a fast system. All other societal sub systems like religion, science, arts and many more seem to resemble the slow system of meaning creation and sense making. In this we may want to refer to the slow processing system of society as culture.

There are two major implications. First, economy shall be based on positive sanction mechanisms. If this is not the case like in plan economy, socialism and capitalism as we have seen it in the past, it fails. Politics shall be based on negative sanction mechanisms. If political favour is based on positive sanction, like in democratism, the political systems is converted in a political actor which has a tendency for bankruptcy. Second, cultural studies have a chance to revise societal meaning creation and sense making and challenge the criteria and mechanisms of the ruling cultural systems to introduce, following Garry Marcus, functional sufficiency in contrast to truth, believe, aesthetics and others. Critical narrative inquiry then opens access for cultural exploration and impact evaluation.

Key words: Social Systems, culture, algedonics, critical narrative inquiry, impact evaluation


Kahneman, D. (1973). Attention and effort. Prentice-Hall.

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow (1st ed.). Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Kahneman, D., Slovic, P., & Tversky, A. (Eds.). (1982). Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases (1st ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Luhmann, N. (1984). Social Systems. (J. Bednarz & D. Baecker, Trans.) (Ed. 1996). Stanford, Calif: Stanford Univ Pr.

Marcus, G. (2008). Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind (Ed. 2009). Faber & Faber, London.


Presenter / Artist
avatar for Louis Klein

Louis Klein

SIG Chair: Organizational Transformation and Social Change, louis.klein@segroup.de
Vice President Conferences (2015), International Society for the Systems Sciences SIG Chair:    Systems Applications in Business and Industry SIG Chair:    Organizational Transformation and Social ChangeLouis Klein is an internationally recognized expert in the field of systemic... Read More →

Wednesday August 5, 2015 14:00 - 14:30 CEST
Reindeer Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz, Gabriele-Tergit-Promenade 19, 10963 Berlin, Germany

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