Niklas Luhmann

Religion as an "Autopoietic System" in the Works of Niklas Luhmann

The article deals with understanding of religion within the theory of "autopoietic systems" of Niklas Luhmann. Religion acts as a continuous, renewable "control over the border with the unknown", as "a knowledge of the mysterious". Three typological and historical forms of religion are idenitified in Luhmann’s theory: the magical-mythological tradition of early societies; a dichotomous differentiation of "Great Tradition / little tradition" in the period of great imperial civilizations; and current forms of religiosity in modern and postmodern "differentiated society".