Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais
Print version ISSN 0102-6909
BACHUR, João Paulo. The functional differentiation of religion in the social theory of Niklas Luhmann. Rev. bras. Ci. Soc. [online]. 2011, vol.26, n.76, pp. 177-190. ISSN 0102-6909. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-69092011000200010.
The purpose of this paper is to address religion in the framework of Luhmann's systems theory in order to identify some of its ambiguities and internal contradictions. The specificity of religion lays in the fact that taking part in religious communication depends rigidly on the actual engagement of consciousness through faith, what diminishes its capability of preserving its system/environment difference. We present religion as a specific case for functional differentiation because it takes place as a reaction against the functional differentiation of non-religious systems of society and as some privatization of the religious experience. We refer to the sociology of Weber in order to illustrate historically our argumentation. In conclusion, we provide a brief conceptual adjustment capable of suiting the systems theory to the observation of religious phenomena in the contemporary society.
Keywords : Niklas Luhmann; Max Weber; Religion; Social systems theory; Functional differentiation.