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Anthony Giddens has been in the forefront of developments in social theory for the past decade.
In The Constitution of Society he outlines the distinctive position he has evolved during that period and offers a full statement of a major new perspective in social thought, a synthesis and elaboration of ideas touched on in previous works but described here for the first time in an integrated and comprehensive form. A particular feature is Giddens's concern to connect abstract problems of theory to an interpretation of the nature of empirical method in the social sciences.
In presenting his own ideas, Giddens mounts a critical attack on some of the more orthodox sociological views. The Constitution of Society is an invaluable reference book for all those concerned with the basic issues in contemporary social theory.
1. Elements of the Theory of Structuration.
2. Consciousness, Self and Social Encounters.
3. Time, Space and Regionalization.
4. Structure, System, Social Reproduction.
5. Change, Evolution and Power.
6. Structuration Theory, Empirical Research and Social Critique.
Posted August 21, 2001
I think Giddens' structuration theory is the most promising theory since collapse of Parsons' framework. In this book Giddens gives us The answers, not only to why societys are like they are - the structural parts as well as the cultural - but allso the reason why we, the actors, let them be like they are. By doing this Giddens puts a final end to the micro-macro disussion of whether society constitutes actors or actors constitutes society, where he through his concept of 'duality of structure' implodes the debate by not only defining the action of social reproduction as the constitution of society, but allso explaining the psychological reasons, the need for 'ontological security', behind. While avoiding the temptation to reduce either actors to be a function of society or to reduce society to be an aggregate of individuals, makes it possible to discuss the links between as well as within the two analytical parts. Unfortunately his theory still lacks one essential aspect - the social dynamic. As a consequence the reader interested in social change will be mighty dissapointed. In the prospect of explainging social order Giddens develops a theory that lacks any other explanation to social change than the orthodox dogmas of unexpected consequences. My suggestion is that Giddens would do well to adapt the time perspective used by Piotr Sztompka, Margaret Archer and other critical realists. In doing so he would undisputably undermine any concurrence to the title as the one who closed the mest vigouros debate of social sciences in the 20th century. But I read this book at undergraduate for the first time. while I studied Husserl and Heidegger at the same time. this help me understand Giddens with ease. I recommend to read Heidegger's Sein und Zeit to see the motive under Giddens' theory. this is not hidden fact. Giddens himself noted it several times. without philosopical background knowledge, it's impossible to access him properly. u will see my point if u read the first page of his 'Central Problem of Social Theory'. I agree to Turner's point that Giddens' theoretical framework is vague at best sencitising for actual research. concepts are clearly defined but how those concepts are related to each other is not that clear. reader himself should fill the gaps. one should make up for this difficulty with grasping Giddens' deep motive under framework. to do so, u should know well the tradition of Sociology and modern philosophy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.