Anthony Giddon’s Theory Of Structuration

Briefly, here’s simple rundown of Anthony Giddon’s Theory of Structuration which he discussed in his book “The Constitution of Society: Outline of The Theory of Structuration”.

First, Giddons’ writings focus on structure. Here, Giddons refers to rules and resources which he calls structure: “Structures are the ‘rules and resources’ embedded in agents’ memory traces. Agents call upon their memory traces of which they are ‘knowledgeable’ to perform social actions.” These rules, similar to structure of language, change system over time and space. Clearly, Giddon’s idea of structure doesn’t resemble traditional structures like classes or institutions.

Second, Giddons’ writings also focus on agency. Here, Giddons refers to individual acts of individual. This is social action of an individual. Basically, this is individual action.

Moreover, Giddons discusses the duality of structure. (ie. structuration) Here, he’s talking about the coexistence of structure and agency. Basically, this is individual interaction within an institution; that is, individuals draw on structure thus perpetuating system. (ie. society) This duality can explain how society recreates itself over time and space.

However, Giddons’ theory of structuration is neither objectivist or subjective; therefore, it evades the traditional critique of each school of thought. It borrows ideas from Auguste Comte, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Alfred Schutz, Robert K. Merton, Erving Goffman, and Jürgen Habermas. Though resembling functionalism and conflict theory, the theory of structuration builds on classical social theory and can be categorized as a hybrid theory.

In the end, Giddon’s theory of structuration can provide a theoretical framework to explain social change. Also, it can be used to explain power, subordination, and unintended consequences. Finally, the theory of structuration can be a framework for discussing social change.

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