Worlds apart? On Niklas Luhmann and the sociology of education


In an effort to address the relationship between globalisation, education and Niklas Luhmann’s branch of systems theory, we present his essay, published here for the first time in English translation, ‘Education: Forming the life course’, next to the nine contributions that compose this special issue and build on this and his other writings to take up the theme of education in world society. To conclude, we underline that systems theory’s emphasis on functional differentiation helps to address two lacunae in the today prevailing sociological practice. By positing the development of self-referential domains as modernity’s central mode of differentiation, it provides sociology with a comprehensive theory of world society. By the same token, it also allows one to observe education as a global affair with, so to speak, a life of its own.

European Educational Research Journal