Identifying institutional vulnerability: the importance of language, and system boundaries

W. Dolfsma, J. Finch, R. McMaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Taking the idea that institutional reproduction is not obvious and that institutions are vulnerable has significant conceptual implications. Institutional vulnerability can arise through communication between actors in a common language. To apprehend this requires an elaboration of John Searle's (1995, 2005) argument that language is the fundamental institution. Ontologically, language delineates and circumscribes a community. A community cannot function without a common language, and language at the same time constitutes a community's boundaries, allowing for focused and effective communication within a community. Communication through language introduces ambiguity as well, however, and so institutional reproduction, mediated by language, is a deeply contentious process. Communication across boundaries may particularly "irritate" a system, as Niklas Luhmann has argued. How can institutions then be re-identified through change? Searle's general form for institutions is in need of elaboration. We develop arguments by drawing upon Luhmann's (1995) systems analysis and notion of communication.
LanguageEnglish
Pages805-818
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Issues
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

Fingerprint

Vulnerability
Language
System boundary
Communication
Elaboration
Systems analysis
Niklas Luhmann

Keywords

  • perspective
  • organization
  • communication
  • institutions
  • ideal
  • vulnerability
  • language
  • reproduction
  • economics
  • institutional vulnerability
  • system boundaries

Cite this

Dolfsma, W. ; Finch, J. ; McMaster, R. / Identifying institutional vulnerability : the importance of language, and system boundaries. In: Journal of Economic Issues. 2011 ; Vol. 45, No. 4. pp. 805-818.
@article{35d57828d30545f096c5c3995c6e686b,
title = "Identifying institutional vulnerability: the importance of language, and system boundaries",
abstract = "Taking the idea that institutional reproduction is not obvious and that institutions are vulnerable has significant conceptual implications. Institutional vulnerability can arise through communication between actors in a common language. To apprehend this requires an elaboration of John Searle's (1995, 2005) argument that language is the fundamental institution. Ontologically, language delineates and circumscribes a community. A community cannot function without a common language, and language at the same time constitutes a community's boundaries, allowing for focused and effective communication within a community. Communication through language introduces ambiguity as well, however, and so institutional reproduction, mediated by language, is a deeply contentious process. Communication across boundaries may particularly {"}irritate{"} a system, as Niklas Luhmann has argued. How can institutions then be re-identified through change? Searle's general form for institutions is in need of elaboration. We develop arguments by drawing upon Luhmann's (1995) systems analysis and notion of communication.",
keywords = "perspective, organization, communication, institutions, ideal, vulnerability, language, reproduction, economics, institutional vulnerability , system boundaries",
author = "W. Dolfsma and J. Finch and R. McMaster",
year = "2011",
month = "12",
doi = "10.2753/JEI0021-3624450403",
language = "English",
volume = "45",
pages = "805--818",
journal = "Journal of Economic Issues",
issn = "0021-3624",
number = "4",

}

Identifying institutional vulnerability : the importance of language, and system boundaries. / Dolfsma, W.; Finch, J.; McMaster, R.

In: Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 45, No. 4, 12.2011, p. 805-818.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Identifying institutional vulnerability

T2 - Journal of Economic Issues

AU - Dolfsma, W.

AU - Finch, J.

AU - McMaster, R.

PY - 2011/12

Y1 - 2011/12

N2 - Taking the idea that institutional reproduction is not obvious and that institutions are vulnerable has significant conceptual implications. Institutional vulnerability can arise through communication between actors in a common language. To apprehend this requires an elaboration of John Searle's (1995, 2005) argument that language is the fundamental institution. Ontologically, language delineates and circumscribes a community. A community cannot function without a common language, and language at the same time constitutes a community's boundaries, allowing for focused and effective communication within a community. Communication through language introduces ambiguity as well, however, and so institutional reproduction, mediated by language, is a deeply contentious process. Communication across boundaries may particularly "irritate" a system, as Niklas Luhmann has argued. How can institutions then be re-identified through change? Searle's general form for institutions is in need of elaboration. We develop arguments by drawing upon Luhmann's (1995) systems analysis and notion of communication.

AB - Taking the idea that institutional reproduction is not obvious and that institutions are vulnerable has significant conceptual implications. Institutional vulnerability can arise through communication between actors in a common language. To apprehend this requires an elaboration of John Searle's (1995, 2005) argument that language is the fundamental institution. Ontologically, language delineates and circumscribes a community. A community cannot function without a common language, and language at the same time constitutes a community's boundaries, allowing for focused and effective communication within a community. Communication through language introduces ambiguity as well, however, and so institutional reproduction, mediated by language, is a deeply contentious process. Communication across boundaries may particularly "irritate" a system, as Niklas Luhmann has argued. How can institutions then be re-identified through change? Searle's general form for institutions is in need of elaboration. We develop arguments by drawing upon Luhmann's (1995) systems analysis and notion of communication.

KW - perspective

KW - organization

KW - communication

KW - institutions

KW - ideal

KW - vulnerability

KW - language

KW - reproduction

KW - economics

KW - institutional vulnerability

KW - system boundaries

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84855162981&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450403

DO - 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450403

M3 - Article

VL - 45

SP - 805

EP - 818

JO - Journal of Economic Issues

JF - Journal of Economic Issues

SN - 0021-3624

IS - 4

ER -