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Giddens' Structuration Theory - Social Institutions Pre-Exist Individuals

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Giddens develops the implications of structuration as a means of understanding high modernity. In particular (drawing on Durkheim? ) the process of structuration in modern societies synthesizes the agency of a great many agents who are increasingly dispersed over time and space (which are themselves becoming compressed). A consequence of this is that the denial of the authority of the past is typical of high modernity. This compression of time and place and loss of shared, authoritative procedures entails, he claims, that contemporary modern society generates increasing levels of risk at both interpersonal (absence of trust) and systemic (weakness of control) levels – (Durkheim on ‘ anomie? ).

Giddens has particularly explored these issues in relation to problems of intimacy and the construction of self and also, together with Ulrich Beck, in relation to environmental degradation among others. It was, in part, through these studies that Giddens argued that neither socialism nor capitalism was capable of addressing adequately these issues and developed his political theory of the ‘ third way’ , based on the idea of the citizen as an active and knowledgeable participant in the political process, which became particularly associated with the first term of the Blair-led Labour government.

Therefore the theory can be said to be successful because it has been claimed that: - Giddens has merely expressed familiar problems in new or invented words. - Giddens effectively re-defines structure in interactionist terms that are, the Synthesis is one-sided. - Power is, arguably, the central concept for structuralist theories but, it is claimed that, within structuration theory, there is no account of the origin and distribution of power. - Structuration theory and the third way suffer the same weakness of advancing bland ideas in impressive language.

The reification rejects of the social systems does not have any particular set of needs that is, adaptation, equilibrium, and integration as independent functionalism of the social actors’ needs.

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