Problems with spatial mapping

The nation, or the nation-state, has been the privileged unit of modernity, but has never ruled out entirely other units of mapping cultures – from the “tribal” units of anthropology to the civilizational units of high cultures. These mappings establish boundaries that are thought to express something about what they contain – more often than not a political unit that derives its identity from particular social and cultural practices, the one not clearly distinguished from the other.

The paradox of self-renewal

Luhmann maintains that all communication is paradoxical because a communication system is self-generated; it’s a causa sui. As far as the system is concerned, it has no beginning and no end; it has always existed and will always exist. It cannot conceive of its own ending because each operation presupposes a subsequent operation. Nor can it conceive of its own beginning because every operation presupposes a previous operation. This is what self-referential means.

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