Contemporary Sociological Theory
Jurgen Habermas’ Theory of Communicative Action sought to explain this contemporary sociological thinker’s ideas on system and the life-world. The meaning of this “life-world” for Habermas, meant: one’s own personal space, including personal identity and consciousness. “It is the lived realm of informal, culturally-grounded understandings and mutual accommodations.” (Wikipedia) The life-world goes on to function through norms and beliefs of the society. Everyone in the society plays their role, which is based on their personal identity, and the society goes on functioning as a system. The system includes a chain of commands dealing with politics, economics, etc. Consequently, this leads to a colonization of the life-world.
The system is an impersonal structure that entails organization and functionality. Because it is based on functions within social, educational and environmental policies, as well as markets (Parsons’ AGIL), there must be a form of order for it to run smoothly. The political institutions do not allow the individual to just think of himself, it essentially leaves a demand for all to work together as a whole. The life-world is based more on happiness and order within. When the functions of the system and life-world collide the life-world becomes colonized. Things are harder to be rationalized within the system because barriers are formed in the lines of communication. The struggle to please one’s own self and the need for order in the political realm causes a conflict of interest in modern society. The two entities are becoming rationalized as both continue to evolve. The life-world will continue to be hindered as the system continues to block lines of communication. As modern society goes on, the struggle within one’s self and the need to continually stabilize society will eventually cause a greater problem that will require further research beyond that of Jurgen Habermas.
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