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Anthony Giddens is widely recognized as one of the most important sociologists of the post-war period. But there has been a surprising failure in the academic literature to place his work in the context of other theoretical positions and research traditions. Consequently, there has been a vagueness about what is unique or different about Giddens' social theory.
This is the first full-length work to examine Giddens' social theory. It guides the reader through Giddens' early attempt to overcome the duality of structure and agency. He himself saw this duality as a major failing of social theories of modernity. His attempt to resolve the problem can be regarded as the key to the development of his brandmark 'structuration theory'. The text systematically relates Giddens' theoretical concepts to modern social theory.
This book is the most complete and thorough assessment of Giddens' work that is currently available. It incorporates insights from many different perspectives into his theory of structuration, his work on the formation of cultural identities and the fate of the nation-state. This far-reaching work has also touches on issues such as the transformation of modern intimacy and sexuality and the fate of politics in late modern society.
PART ONE: THE RECONSTRUCTION OF SOCIAL THEORY
The Legacy of Classical Sociological Theory
New Rules of Sociological Method
Positivism, Interpretive Sociology and Structuration Theory
Reconceptualizing Agency and Structure
PART TWO: SOCIAL CHANGE AND MODERNITY
The State, Capitalism and Social Change
The Culture of Modernity
From the Critique of Postmodernism to the Rise of the New Social Movements
The Problems and Possibilities of a Democratic Public Life in Late Modern Societies
Feminism, Sexuality and Self-Identity