- The Kantoh Sociological Society
- 年報社会学論集 (ISSN:09194363)
- vol.2014, no.27, pp.73-84, 2014
This paper proposes the use of sociological semantic analysis to conduct a historical study of the welfare state. Dating back to the 1990s, theoretical discussions about reconstructing the welfare state have tended to focus on the ideational processes of political decision-making. However, this approach does not consider the state's social structure from a historical perspective. This paper examines the work of Niklas Luhmann, who scrutinized relationships between concepts and social structures, and it evaluates his theory of semantics. Using this analysis, the author shows both that the understanding of the formation of a welfare state in terms of ideals or concepts requires that its semantic character be understood first in its historical context and that Luhmann's self-referential system theory is applicable for this purpose, especially if one focuses on his two central concepts:reflection and the binary code.