The structure problem in the context of structure and agency controversies
in Human agents and social structures
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The structure-and-agency 'problem' is too readily accepted as providing a crystallisation of the nodal issues in sociological theory. The articulation of the interrelationship between agency and structure within a unifying scheme is considered by many leading theorists to be the central task of contemporary theory. This chapter deals with gross and prominent misrepresentations of agency positions. These caricatures of agency are being used feloniously in the demarcation of distinct sociological traditions. One problematic domain of the agency argument for structuralists is what they understand agency proponents to be advancing when they articulate ideas of the 'construction', 'achievement' or 'accomplishment' of social reality. In particular, contemporary arguments distort the characteristics of the relevant theories associated with 'agency', such as methodological individualism, interactionism and phenomenologies, as well as crucial arguments in Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons.


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