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January 2022

The complementarity of speech act theory and the systemic theory of communication. A hermeneutic contribution to the methodology of intertheoretical comparisons

Journal/Book: Z Soz. 1996; 25: Postfach 30 03 66, D-70443 Stuttgart, Germany. Ferdinand Enke Verlag. 263.

Abstract: In recent theorizing the relation between the concepts of communication and of action has been controversial. Speech act theory analyzes communication as sequences of intentional actions. In contrast Luhmann's systems-theoretical approach inverts the conceptual hierarchy implied here: By analyzing actions as a product of the self-simplification of communication. systems theory proposes communication as the more basic concept.- With reference to this controversy this article explores a possible solution with the methodological tools of hermeneutics. In the first part a number of hermeneutical maxims of intertheoretic comparison are sketched out, In the subsequent part a comparison is carried out which leads to the result that speech act theory and the systems-theoretical conceptualization of communication have to be interpreted as answers to different, but complementary problems, Using conversation analysis as a 'third party' it is shown how both approaches can be integra ted, at the same time confirming the claim, in an empirically demonstrable way, that ''communicatlon'', in relation to ''action'', is the more basic concept.

Note: Article WL Schneider, Univ Giessen, Inst Soziol, Karl Glockner Str 21E, D-35394 Giessen, Germany


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