Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 30 items for

  • Author or Editor: Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen x
Clear All Modify Search
Machines of possibility

Everyone is talking about partnerships: environmental partnerships, social partnerships, public-private partnerships, partnerships between NGOs in Europe and the third world. How did partnerships come to emerge almost everywhere and at almost the same time? What is the inner logic of partnerships? And at what point does that logic begin to break down?

In a highly complex society, the conditions on which agreements are built are constantly changing, demanding, first and foremost, that parties agree to reach an agreement. Partnering is an answer to the growing differentiation and dynamism of the societies in which we live. While this answer holds great potential, however, it is also very fragile. It is the aim of this book to improve our understanding of the shifting ground on which agreements must be reached in today’s hyper-complex society.

Restricted access
Understanding Foucault, Koselleck, Laclau, Luhmann

This exciting and innovative book fills a gap in the growing area of discourse analysis within the social sciences. It provides the analytical tools with which students and their teachers can understand the complex and often conflicting discourses across a range of social science disciplines.

Examining the theories of Foucault, Koselleck, Laclau and Luhmann, the book:

  • focuses on the political and social aspects of their writing;

  • discusses and combines their theories to suggest new analytical strategies for understanding society;

  • combines theory with practical illustrations.

A best seller in Denmark, this English edition is vital reading for anyone with an interest in discourse analysis. It will also be invaluable to anyone looking at the analytical works of Foucault, Koselleck, Laclau and Luhmann. Students will find the clear exposition of the theories and strategies supported by an easy-to-digest, easy-to-read layout, which includes summaries and boxed examples highlighting the relevance of analytical strategies to social and policy research.

Restricted access

This book discusses the three epistemological interests, i.e., concerns the production of contingency; concretistic interest in the description of the constitution of the operational form of a partnership; and a diagnostic interest, which is about diagnosing the space of possibility of communicative practice. These epistemological interests are pursued by means of what Luhmann refers to as ‘observation of the second order’. Second-order observation is to observe observations as observations. This chapter focuses on communicated observations of partnerships or partnerships as communication. Second-order observation presupposes guiding differences for the establishment of a second-order perspective. A guiding difference creates the second-order perspective by dividing the world into second-order observation and the observed observations. Finally, the chapter describes the four analytical strategies (the semantic analysis, the form analysis, the formation analysis, and the coupling analysis), which are based on guiding the way in which observations are observed as observations.

Restricted access

Partnerships represent a semantics, that is, a reservoir of concepts that are currently available to an organisation for the description of and communication about interorganisational relations. This chapter discusses semantic analysis, which focuses on how a partnership is formed as a concept, including the relation between concept and counterconcept. It presents examples of articulation of partnerships. The first example is the report, the social partnership which points to a social challenge that cuts across the difference between marketplace, civil society, and state. The report created a link between the fate of the weakest in society and the fate of private companies. The second example addresses partnerships between voluntary organisations and public authorities from the perspective of voluntary organisations. The third concerns partnerships between different voluntary organisations across the boundary of developing countries and industrialised nations, with financial support from the Danish state. The last example is the description by the consultancy AS/3 of its vision for itself in a partnership with the National Labour Market Authority and the public employment exchange in a municipality.

Restricted access

This chapter discusses the means by which different systems of communication collide in the development of outsourcing and contracts across the public and private sectors. It differentiates the organisational systems from the function ones. Unlike the function systems, organisational systems do not have their own symbolically generalised media as well as binary codes. Instead, they operate with a horizon of decision premises, which precisely opens up for the diversity of the encodings. Organisations and function systems constitute each other’s environment, but organisational systems are always linked to at least one function system by acquiring the benefits. The development of organisations from homophony to heterophony indicates that an increasing number of organisations no longer hold a primary coupling to a single function system. No predominant relation exists between organisational type and function system, or in terms of organisational theory. The chapter illustrates the way in which communications clash when organisations with couplings to a variety of different function systems have to collaborate. It presents a case concerning the outsourcing to ISS Catering of the provision of meals for older people in the municipality of Lyngby-Taarbæk. Public outsourcing produces a multitude of value clashes across the board of different function systems. At the same time, the very form of outsourcing provides no framework within which the conflicts can play themselves out.

Restricted access

This chapter provides a semantic analysis of contract semantics in legal theory. It discusses whether and how legal-contract theory forms concepts that can be considered to be equivalent to the partnership concept and to collaborations involving many function systems. The chapter highlights three ‘clusters’ of theory. The first is Ian R. Macneil’s theory about relational contracts. Macneil describes the impact of communication on contract formation. The second is Stewart Macaulay’s, which opens up a kind of perspectivism in the understanding of the specific life and interpretation of contracts. The third is the discussion of reflexive elements in contracts, which finds inspiration in the writings of both Macneil and Macaulay, and which has reference to a more normative discussion of welfare law and to Gunther Teubner’s systems theory about reflexive law. It finds new solutions to contemporary contractual problems but is reluctant to endorse a more fundamental change in the understanding of contracts.

Restricted access

Contracts represent a specific form of communication. They are not established primarily between individuals but between systems of communication. This chapter presents a form analysis of contracts and provides the basis for the analysis of the specific partnership form of contracts. The analysis is based primarily on the works of Niklas Luhmann and Gunther Teubner, and is also inspired by Jacques Derrida. The chapter also provides a presentation of how contracts are observable as a form of communication in a systems-theoretical sense. It discusses contracts as a form of communication representing the unity of the differences of obligation and freedom, contract as structural coupling, contract and functional differentiation, and the relationship between contract and society.

Restricted access

First-order contracts make external reference to an externally defined legal order. Second-order contracts create preconditions and premises for future promises. First-order contracts focus on exchange. The issue is what is to be exchanged, for example, money for building maintenance. In contrast, second-order contracts focus on development. These are about joint projects for development, for example, which hospital is to be developed in the future, which highway to be built around a city, or how to extend collaboration. The shift from first-order to second-order contracts is an expression of more than simply a more-or-less-random historical variation of the phenomenon of contract. This chapter presents the definitions of partnership, a step-by-step illustration of the process, and the first- and second-order temporal dimension.

Restricted access

Partnerships can hardly be said to establish communities across boundaries, contrary to the ideals contained in the semantics of partnerships. However, they enable structural couplings between different function systems and with qualities that are significantly different from first-order contracts. Politics communicates about first-order contracts as a tool for implementation and about second-order contracts as a political constitutional form. The service-producing systems communicate about first-order contracts as a programme for services and about second-order contracts as a programme for subsequent service programming. The shift from the first order to the second order fundamentally changes the character of the structural coupling. This chapter characterises partnerships as a political constitution, as segmented markets, as programmes for development, and as reflexive law.

Restricted access

This chapter explores the relation between contract and organisation associated with partnerships, putting important constitutive conditions at stake. As it is, second-order contracts seem to be able to simultaneously function as a contract and as an organisation. An organisation represents a system for decision making. A contract represents a relation of exchange. Relatively few second-order contracts define an independent management for the partnership with an accompanying organisation, which is to continually pursue the purpose of the second-order contract about the definition of new contractual relations. Thus, second-order contracts represent a rather peculiar figure in relation to the distinction between organisation and contract. This chapter also discusses the benefits of partnerships and the function of such paradoxical hybrids.

Restricted access