By exploring such diverse issues as the management of child abuse, legal reforms following sex abuse enquiries, moral explanations for the actions of child murderers, the impossible task faced by social workers and the limitations of children's rights campaigns, Michael King examines the revolutionary ideas of the social theorist, Niklas Luhmann. He demonstrates how Luhmann's theory of authopoietic systems compels readers to re-examine exactly what they mean by society. Questioning the relationship between personal morality and political will, it challenges the assumption that changing society is merely a matter of changing attitudes and highlights the pitfalls associated with formulating social reform.

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