Persönliche Netzwerke in der Systemtheorie
Personal Networks do not feature systematically in Luhmannian systems theory. This essay discusses various concepts advanced by different authors to fill this gap, and attempts an original systems theoretical conception of personal networks. First, the three-fold typology of social systems (interaction, organization, society) by Niklas Luhmann is discussed, along with the possibility of a fourth type, the 'group' (as proposed by Helmut Willke, Friedhelm Neidhardt, and Hartmann Tyrell), and some
... n Tyrell), and some arguments on intimate systems and the family by Tyrell, Luhmann, and Peter Fuchs, as well as André Kieserling's concept of 'interaction context'. Secondly, the systems theoretical works on the network concept are briefly reviewed. The arguments by Luhmann himself, by Gunther Teubner, Eckard Kämper and Johannes Schmidt, Veronika Tacke, and Stephan Fuchs are discussed. Finally, these various strands are condensed into an original and coherent systems theoretical conception of personal networks. Singular social relationships are conceived of as autopoietic systems. These can be coupled through interaction of more thyn two parties, and through the construction of persons (as the nodes of personal networks). Only exceptionally, such personal networks are symbolically closed groups, like families or street gangs.