Wes Sharrock
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The production and reproduction of social order
Is structuration a solution?
in Human agents and social structures
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This chapter argues that the whole idea of a structure-and-agency 'problem' mythologises the fracture lines that do run through relatively recent sociological thought. The structure-and-agency 'problem' is contrived by a powerful structure 'lobby' in sociology that takes its own baseline suppositions as self-evident. The chapter shows that symbolic interactionists and ethnomethodologists may legitimately resist the idea that 'structuration' in any way improves on their conceptions. It reviews the issues of the organisation of action, the distinctiveness of Giddens' concept of structure, the role of unintended consequences, and of 'knowledgeability'. Dissatisfaction with theorising's remoteness from the world of action is hardly unique to symbolic interactionists and ethnomethodologists, but it is shared by them. 'Reproducing existing structures' is treated as much the same as reproducing the existing order of institutions, and it is assumed that attention to action alone cannot comprehend how the existing social order is maintained and transformed.

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