Media theory and web-based groups as social systems

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


This article consists of four sections. The first section analyzes the relationship between consciousness and social systems, discusses how individual thoughts and communication are connected, influencing each other without being able to control each other. The second section develops an interdisciplinary approach which refers to phenomenological philosophy, theory of forms, second order cybernetics and the theory of autopoietic systems, describing a socio-evolutionary process where new media alter the societal capacity to handle complexity in time and space.
In the sections 3 and 4, the article takes a micro-level perspective by applying the theoretical framework build in sections 1 and 3 to concrete social formations (groups in social networks), observed as self-organizing interactive systems. In particular, the article discusses web-based groups in the social networks, observing them as: 1) bounded interaction systems, as forms in the medium of the social networks, organized as tight couplings of elements, users' profiles, that are loosely coupled in the medium, 2) social systems that produce themselves as the output of their own operations, creating a border of meaning by condensing a distinction between actual communication and possible communication.
In this way, it will be possible to analyze how these web-based but nevertheless concrete social formations make a border of meaning, how they reproduce it, and what possibilities it has for the communication in the groups. This, at the same time, will count as an example of the situation of the individual in the modern society, where there is always a border of meaning when we want to belong to the social that determines what we can observe, and say.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMapping Systemic Knowledge
EditorsGiulia Mancini, Mariarosalba Angrisani
Place of PublicationSaarbruecken
PublisherLambert Academic Publishing
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9783659490262
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2014


  • social systems theory
  • self-reference
  • social networks
  • time
  • structural coupling
  • interpenetration


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