are not created "mentally" by people
They are not products
of the structural context
By expressing ourselves--through
our situated action, we create consciousness and the structures in which
(and through which) our behavior (practices) takes place.
" Human practices
are recursive - that is, through their activities individuals create both
their consciousness and the structural conditions that make their activities
possible. Because social actors are reflexive and monitor the ongoing
flow of activities and structural conditions, they adapt their actions
to their evolving understandings" (1)
Double hermeneutic: Both
actors and social scientists are reflexive, we all "account" for
our actions (and the actions of others). The accounts of social scientists
can be (and are) taken into account by actors, thereby altering social practices
and the structures in which and through which these practices take place.
(2, page 169) (reflexive
properties (specifically, rules and resources) that give similar social
practices a systemic form" (2, page 170)
Structures do not
exist in time or space--they allow practices to exist across time and
have the capacity to become structured" (2,
page 170)--through the practices of actors
Structures give shape
and form, but are not the shape or form ("nothing"..."A
social form that is generally centrally conceived, controlled, and comparatively
devoid of distinctive substantive content."(3,
Structure does not
exist independently of the actor. Structures are enabling and constraining.
Actors can lose control
(distanciation), but this is not inevitable
Structures part of
the memories of agents
systems: reproduced social practices (similar to traditional "structure"
Regularities in social
practice across time and space.
"manifested" in social systems (instantiated)
conditions of action--loop back to condition action
duality of agency and structure--by acting we produce the structure that defines,
shapes and directs our action.
Social order: how well
social systems are integrated over time and space.
Culture and Agency
"The concept of structuration
underscores the duality of structure and agency. There can be no agency without
structures that shape motives into practices, but there can also be no structures
independent of the routine practices that create them. Margaret Archer
has criticized the concept of structuration as analytically insufficient. She
thinks it is useful for social scientists to understand structure and agency
as independent, because it makes it possible to analyze the interrelations between
the two sides. Archer also thinks that Giddens gives short shrift to the relative
autonomy of culture from both structure and agency." (1)
Christopher G. A. Bryant.
1992. "Sociology without Philosophy? The Case of Giddens's Structuration
Theory." Sociological Theory, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 137-149.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/201955.
Accessed: 29/10/2008 12:01.
Anthony Giddens. 1985.
"Marx's Correct Views on Everything: (With Apologies to L. Kolowkowski)."
Theory and Society, Vol. 14, No. 2 (Mar., 1985), pp. 167-174. Stable URL:
Accessed: 29/10/2008 11:58.
Margaret S. Archer. 1982.
"Morphogenesis versus Structuration: On Combining Structure and Action."
The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dec., 1982), pp. 455-483.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/589357.
Accessed: 29/10/2008 11:49.
Margaret S. Archer. 1985.
"The Myth of Cultural Integration." The British Journal of Sociology,
Vol. 36, No. 3 (Sep., 1985), pp. 333-353. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/590456.
Accessed: 29/10/2008 12:06.
Peter K. Manning. 1982.
"Organizational Work: Structuration of Environments." The British
Journal of Sociology, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Mar., 1982), pp. 118-134. Stable URL:
Accessed: 29/10/2008 12:08
Much of this page comes from the "Instructor's Manual" to accompany Contemporary
Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics, Second Edition,
George Ritzer, Mcgraw-Hill, 2007. The Instructor's Manual was prepared by James
Murphy, University of Maryland, College Park and Todd Stillman, Fayetteville
State University. These excerpts are from chapter 7. 2. Ritzer, George. 2007/2010/2013. Contemporary Sociological Theory and Its Classical Roots: The Basics. 2nd/3rd/4th editions. St. Louis: McGraw-Hill 3. Ritzer, George. 2004. The Globalization of Nothing.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.
Owner: Robert O. Keel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:05 PM