David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Sociological Theory 12 (1):57-72 (1994)
The concept of social structure is crucial in social analysis, yet sociologists' use of the term is often ambiguous and misleading. Contributing to the ambiguity is a tendency to imply the meaning of "social structure" either by opposing it to agency or by contrasting it to culture, thus reducing "structure" to pure constraint and suggesting that "culture" is not structured. Even more damaging is the tendency to conflate these two contrasts. To add to the confusion, these contrasts are often mapped inappropriately onto other dichotomies prevalent in social theorizing, including material versus ideal, external versus internal, static versus active, and objective versus subjective, to produce a conceptual prism in which structure, agency, and culture are all poorly understood. This article attempts to disentangle these concepts from the aforementioned system of contrasts, to specify the connections between structure and agency, and to make a case for the inclusion of culture in the sociological conception of social structure
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Allison J. Pugh (2014). The Theoretical Costs of Ignoring Childhood: Rethinking Independence, Insecurity, and Inequality. Theory and Society 43 (1):71-89.
Similar books and articles
Joseph D. Lewandowski (2005). Street Culture: The Dialectic of Urbanism in Walter Benjamin’s Passagen-Werk. Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (3):293-308.
Michael David Kirchhoff (2009). Material Agency. Techne 13 (3):206-220.
Robert Willmott (1997). Structure, Culture and Agency: Rejecting the Current Orthodoxy of Organisation Theory. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 27 (1):93–123.
Anthony King (2006). How Not to Structure a Social Theory: A Reply to a Critical Response. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (4):464-479.
Gil Friedman (1997). Agency, Structure, and International Politics: From Ontology to Empirical Inquiry. Routledge.
Stephan Fuchs (2001). Beyond Agency. Sociological Theory 19 (1):24-40.
Stuart Nairn (2009). Social Structure and Nursing Research. Nursing Philosophy 10 (3):191-202.
Karsten R. Stueber (2006). How to Structure a Social Theory?: A Critical Response to Anthony King’s the Structure of Social Theory. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):95-104.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads61 ( #66,579 of 1,790,186 )
Recent downloads (6 months)16 ( #50,716 of 1,790,186 )
How can I increase my downloads?