1st Edition

Systems Theory and the Sociology of Health and Illness Observing Healthcare

Edited By Morten Knudsen, Werner Vogd Copyright 2015
    ISBN 9781138503403
    240 Pages
    Published June 29, 2017 by Routledge

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    ISBN 9781138794917
    250 Pages
    Published November 12, 2014 by Routledge

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    Modern societies and organizations are characterized by multiple kinds of observations, systems, or rationalities, rather than singular identities and clear hierarchies. This holds true for healthcare where we find a range of different perspectives – from medicine to education, from science to law, from religion to politics – brought together in different types of arrangements. This innovative volume explores how this polycontexturality plays out in the healthcare arena.

    Drawing on systems theory, and Luhmann’s theory of social systems as communicative systems in particular, the contributors investigate how things – drugs, for example – and bodies are observed and constructed in different ways under polycontextural conditions. They explore how the different types of communication and observation are brought into workable arrangements – without becoming identical or reconciled – and discuss how health care organizations observe their own polycontexturality.

    Providing an analysis of healthcare structures that is up to speed with the complexity of healthcare today, this book shows how society and its organizations simultaneously manage contexts that do not fit together. It is an important work for those with an interest in health and illness, social theory, Niklas Luhmann, organizations and systems theory from a range of backgrounds including sociology, health studies, political science and management.

    1. Health Care Systems Theory and Polycontexturality: An Introduction Morten Knudsen and Werner Vogd  Part 1: Polycontextural Constructions  2. Drugs in Modern Society: Analysing Polycontextural Things under Condition of Functional Differentiation Anna Henkel  3. Polycontexturality and the Body Holger Højlund and Anders la Cour  Part 2: Societal Arrangements  4. Two Ways of Dealing with Polycontexturality in Priority Setting in Swedish Healthcare Politics Werner Schirmer and Dimitris Michailakis  5. Heterophony and Hyper-Responsibility Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen and Hanne Knudsen  Part 3: Organizational Arrangements  6. Arranging Medical and Economical Logics: Investigating the Influence of Economic Controlling in Internal Medicine Department Werner Vogd  7. Hospital Management in Between Medical Professionalism and Management Till Jansen and Sarah Poranzke  8. Sustainability in Integrated Care Partnerships: A Systems and Network Theoretical Approach for the Analysis of Co-Operation Networks Daniel Lüdecke  Part 4: Reflections  9. The Multiplication and Realization of Speakers as Polyphony Armin Nassehi, Irmhild Saake and Katharina Mayr  10. The Polycontextural Realities of Research Ethics in Medicine Barry Gibson and Jennifer Burr  11. Personal Leadership in Polyphonic Organizations Morten Knudsen


    Morten Knudsen has been working with systems theory and healthcare organizations for more than 15 years. He has studied decision-making, the organization of patient participation, standardization and leadership development programmes within healthcare organizations. He currently holds the position of associate professor in organizational analysis, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School.

    Werner Vogd is a professor in sociology. His research fields are sociological theory, sociology of organizations, medical sociology, sociology of religion and sociology of knowledge at the Fakultät für Kulturreflexion, University Witten/Herdecke.

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