Anthony Giddens: Theory of Structuration: Famous Works and Structuration

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Anthony Giddens
  • British Sociologist
  • One of the most cited and prominent modern sociologists
  • Critical reinterpretation of the classical theories by Weber, Marx, etc.
  • Check our understanding of modernity

Famous Works

  • Capitalism and Modern Social Theory (1971)
  • The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies (1973)
  • New Rules of Sociological Method (1976)
  • Central Problems in Social Theory (1979)
  • The Constitution of Society (1984)
  • Consequences of Modernity (1990) ,
  • Modernity and Self-Identity (1991)
  • The Transformation of Intimacy (1992) ,
  • Beyond Left and Right (1994)
  • The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy (1998) .

Structure

  • Sum of rules and resources
  • Organized as properties of social systems
  • Coming together of formal rules and informal and implicit codes
  • Exists as ‘structural properties’

System

  • Reproduced relations between actors or collectivises
  • Organized as regular social practices

Structuration

  • Conditions governing the continuity or transformation of structures
  • Reproduction of social systems

Agency

  • Capability of doing things or act with intention
  • independently
  • make their own free choices

Social System

  • Repeated form of social action and interaction
  • Patterns of relations in groupings
  • Can be small or large
  • E. g. family, peers

Articulated integration of ‘agency and structure’ in structuration theory

  • Whether an individual acts as a free agent or in a manner dictated by social structure.
  • Understanding agency and motives of individuals
  • The ways in which structure and agency interact with each other to create shared meaning.

Structuration

  • Study ways in which social systems are produced and reproduced in social interaction
  • Structuring of social relations across time, space, in virtue of the duality of structure
  • Human beings practice:
  • Reflective – Consequences of actions?
Types of Structuration

Reflexivity

  • The way in which people constantly examine their own practices and in the light of that examination, alter them.
  • Institutional reflexivity
  • Not unique to modernity, characteristic of all human action
  • We are aware of our actions- Reflexive monitoring of actions – self-conscious in all kinds of societies
  • Reflexivity differs with traditional and modern societies
  • Double Hermeneutic
  • System of Interpretation to give meaning and justify the world
  • Two-way relationship of everyday concepts and terms from Sociology
  • Relationship between lay terms and scientific terms

MCQs

Q. 1. In his theory of structuration, Giddens focuses on:

(1) Structural Dualism

(2) Duality of structure

(3) Dichotomous Relationship

(4) Binary Oppositions

Ans. (2)

Q. 2. According to Anthony Giddens, ‘structure’ is

1) itself the form and shape of human life

2) outside or external to human action

3) itself exists in time and space

4) constraining and enabling

Ans: (4)

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