Elena Esposito

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Elena Esposito of Italy is seen as one of the leading representatives of systems theory. Born in Milan in 1960, she initially read sociology and philosophy at Bologna, including, among others, with Umberto Eco. Esposito did her doctorate under Niklas Luhmann at the University of Bielefeld (1986-90), where she also wrote her Habilitation (2001). She teaches communications sociology today at the University of Modena e Reggio Emilia.

With works like Soziales Vergessen. Formen und Medien des Gedächtnisses der Gesellschaft about social memory and forgetfulness (2002) and Die Fiktion der wahrscheinlichen Realität about the fiction of probable reality (2007), Elena Esposito has driven systems theory forward. Her book on the social function of fashion has also made her well known outside specialist circles. In Die Verbindlichkeiten des Vorübergehenden: Paradoxien der Mode (2004) she describes fashion as a phenomenon full of contradictions: Those who behave fashionably would, for example, strive for originality, by behaving or dressing like others. Her recent research interest has focused on the processes taking place in financial markets.

In 1998 she spent a year as a Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the FH Berlin. Two years later, she held a visiting professorship at the University of Vienna. Most of her scientific texts have also been published in German. In addition, she has translated numerous texts into Italian, including those of Luhmann. In 2009, she was awarded DAAD Mittner Prize for outstanding services to German-Italian dialogue.