The Novel, the Individual, and the Public

In a primarily stratified or centralized society, there can be no individuality in the modern sense. The same can be said for the public. There was no public in pre-modern society because there was no individual. The individual/pubic distinction arose together as a result of functional differentiation, which legally separated the individual off from the family

A Theory of Society

The most controversial claim made by Luhmann is that society consists not of “actual people and relations between people,” but rather communication–and only communication. Society is a communication system, and there are a number of distinct subsystems that have evolved; yet they are all “communication systems” (Luhmann, Introduction to Systems Theory, 28).