It doesn’t matter if anyone else is listening

The only “purpose” autopoietic systems have is to reproduce themselves. For instance, the purpose of university administration is to reproduce university administration, that is, to reproduce university-administrative communication. The only purpose of an academic department is to reproduce that department, with the department being understood as a communication system. English departments, for example, have to ensure a continuous supply English-department communication. Any idea of serving society, students, or the mission of the university is irrelevant.  Communication circulates within administrative structures, and it doesn’t really matter if anyone outside the administrative system is listening. And communication circulates within English departments, and it doesn’t matter if anyone outside that social system is listening. English departments make new communication out of old English-department communication. This is why so many committees are needed.

But these systems are not limited to particular universities. English department housed in different universities all over the world are part of the same social system; the same applies to administration.  That’s why there are organizations such as the International Association of University Presidents. As long at those presidents are able to keep communicating among themselves, it doesn’t matter if anyone else is listening or cares what they are saying.

It’s also worth pointing out that a systems such as the IAUP and the MLA do not consist of human beings, which is clear to anyone who has ever attended one the meetings.

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