The Agency-Structure Relationship Review - Essay Example

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The Agency-Structure Relationship Review (Anthony Giddens) (04.01.12) Introduction According to Anthony Giddens (1984, p.236), social life comprises of more than just individual random actions although it is not solely influenced by social forces. Putting it differently, social life is not just a sum of micro level activities and can be studied by searching for and analyzing macro level explanations…
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Download file to see previous pages Additionally, he also implied that such elements can be altered whenever people start ignoring them. This paper will examine the different opinions relative to the agency-structure relationship as put forth by Anthony Giddens. His theory will be compared with the views of other theorists and scholars and attempts will be made to come out with solutions relative to the contradictions and problems that emerge in regard to the practicability of the given proposals. Context Giddens broke down the structure agency divide and challenged the dualism in the agency structure in referring to the epistemological problems in society. He held that the duality amongst agency and structure is an incorrect dichotomy. He wanted to remain away from reductionism, which is understood as the recognition that social actions result primarily from agency or as a direct impact of structure. In saying this he meant that people can avoid determination. Dual structuration leads to filling the gaps in analysis that seeks to analyze the entrenched divisions in conventional societies amongst agency and structure. Giddens integrated such forces as explanatory frameworks for providing links amongst human activities and the evolving of social structures. It thus appears there is a continuous relationship between social structures and human agency because they tend to be reciprocal and interactive. In this perspective, it can be said that analytical focus ought to be made on the mutuality of procedures relative to human interactions and social development. In a nut shell, it can be said that society has a single form that effects people as far as structure is a result of people’s actions. In terms of the constitution of society, Giddens (1976, p.127) held that agency and structure are linked because people are inherently occupied with society and keenly get involved in its constitution because they are not external to social structures, nor are social structures external to people. Social life comprises of many things other than just individual actions but social structures cannot be said to be the outcome of social forces. Social structure is not a collection of micro level activities but it is possible to study it by analyzing macro level explanations. That is why social structure and human agency are in direct relationships with one another. The pattern of repetitive actions by individual actors creates the structure. The conventional dichotomy was broken down by Giddens in terms of relating the structure with a strong holistic paradigm that incorporated social rules and systems, social reproduction and social order. This meant that humans are consistently involved in reproducing and forecasting society, thus leading to the production of structures. Society essentially has only form, which impacts people to the extent that structures are created and recreated by their respective actions. In terms of the intellectual context, it can be interpreted from Gidden’s work that humans are not programmed individuals so that they act unintentionally. Modernity is characteristic of humans being actively engaged in creating their identities and positions relative to agency. It is understood that this is primarily because humans are reflexive agents. It is evident that in modern societies or post traditional orders, self identity is construed as a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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