Anthony King
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Two kinds of social theory
The myth and reality of social existence
in Human agents and social structures
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The structure and agency debate in one form or another has been a periodic feature of sociology since the origins of the discipline. However, as a symbol of individualism, the Ring demands a distinctive kind of social order, and it is precisely at this point that the novel becomes deeply relevant to current debates in social theory. The Lord of the Rings, with its Ring and Fellowship, represents the current predicament of contemporary social theory, but in fantastical form. Consequently, although perhaps an unusual strategy, the myth of The Lord of the Rings might be drawn upon for sociological and more specifically social theoretical insights. The Lord of the Rings stands as a metaphor for social theory today; it counterposes the fantastical ontology of structure and agency against an interactional account of social existence.

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