By Philip Pettit
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Extra resources for Contemporary Political Theory (Philosophical Topics)
E. to ensure the connectivity of communication, it needs to be credible. This credibility of power depends on its symbolization and the exceptionality of the use of negative sanctions. e. military capabilities, would primarily serve the function of symbolizing power. Yet, in order to successfully operate as a medium of communication (so that the system can observe, for example, that there is a “unilateral” moment in contemporary world politics based on the USA’s military capabilities; cf. Albert 2001b), this power must not be utilized too frequently.
Bringing together a comprehensive theoretical system such as the one developed by Luhmann with a more specific field of inquiry such as the study of international relations might at first seem like a futile exercise, which can possibly only be envisaged as subduing the latter under the former. Yet engaging with Luhmannian theorizing need not necessarily take the form of either a wholesale adoption or rejection of this body of theory. Selective uses can and should be made (cf. Albert 2002; but see Schmidt 2000: 21f ).
Luhmann 2000a: 81). Political communication is differentiated from other communication in society by a specific medium, a specific function, and a specific code (Luhmann 2000a: 17): The specific medium of political communication is power. Yet within the given theoretical context, power needs to be conceptualized in a fundamentally different way than in most traditional theories which, one way or another, rely on some notion of (for example, structural) causality or intentionality (of those bearing power) (cf.
Contemporary Political Theory (Philosophical Topics) by Philip Pettit