The structure/agency debate has been among the central issues in discussions of social theory. It has been widely assumed that the key theoretical task is to find a link between social structures and acting human beings to reconcile the macro with the micro, society and the individual. This book considers a general movement in which the collective concepts established by the early pioneers of modern sociological thought have been reconsidered in the light of both theoretical critique and empirical results. It argues that the contemporary sociological preoccupation with structure and agency has had disastrous effects on the understanding of Karl Marx's ideas. Through a critical evaluation of 'structuration theory' as a purported synthesis of 'structure and agency', the book also argues that the whole idea of a structure-and-agency 'problem' mythologises the fracture lines that do run through relatively recent sociological thought. Michel Foucault's ideas were used to both shore up existing positions in sociology and to instantiate (or solve) the 'new' structure-agency 'problem'. Foucault allowed sociologists to conduct 'business as usual' between the demise of structuralism and the contemporary consensus around Pierre Bourdieu-Anthony Giddens-Jurgen Habermas and the structure-agency dualisms. Habermas is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary social theory.
, item 31), and a document embodies religious redemption (the Short Charter of Christ , item 29), amid an array of short texts that affirm the tangibility of religious truths ( The Feasts of All Saints and All Souls , item 25; The King and his Four Daughters , item 26; and The Lament of Mary , item 30). 3 When non-human agents act in literary texts, human readers tend to perceive them as symbolic anthropomorphic figures – as allegorical representations of human qualities (for instance, the tortoise and the hare
rationalistic contrivance but a historically operative idea’. 4 My purpose in this chapter is to interrogate Forst’s account of morality by means of this third mode of reconstruction, namely, the empirical and historical analysis of the actions by which human agents establish moral and just relations between themselves. I agree wholeheartedly with Forst that such relations must be motivated by and must express an attitude of respect towards others’ agency as moral and rational beings and must be structured by practices of egalitarian reciprocity. I further agree that the
This essay examines translation as a process of linguistic and cultural mediation, one conditioned (and made possible) by the material book. Henry S. Turner finds in ‘translation’ a useful term for investigating the relationship between form and matter within language itself. Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations identifies its author as a ‘material humanist’ involved in a complex network of human and non-human agents, through which translation itself becomes ‘a process of giving form to matter and of re-mattering the form of language’.
While there is widespread agreement across disciplines that the identities of individuals, groups and places are significantly interrelated, there are equally divergent views as to the nature and origins of those relationships. The first part of the book highlights that the prime importance of the human body in spatial cognition and human perception generally. In stressing the fundamental role of the body as the medium of all personal experience, the concept of the self that emerges thus far retains a strong unitary core. An alternative theory of extended minds which retains the integrity of individual human agents while embracing the extension of personal powers by external devices is also discussed. The second part looks at the scope of inquiry to take in the wider impact of technology on human evolution and the extended self. Selected writings from some of Stiegler's prominent followers and critics were also examined for what they contribute to our understanding of Stiegler's ideas and their possible further applications. He and his followers continue to fall back upon neo-Darwinian concepts and terminologies in elaborating their ideas. Theories of emergence and self-production, or autopoiesis, are investigated as promising alternatives to orthodox evolutionary theory. The subject of design, function of memes, impacts of the coevolution of humankind and technology on the human mind and the self are some other concepts discussed. The third part of the book focuses talk about cognitive roots of classification and combinativity, the relations between form and content, and vernacular architecture.
This chapter establishes the multifunctional nature of craft guild halls, buildings in which company members and officers lived, governed, worked, and socialised. It argues that the halls were not inert sites which simply ‘contained’ mercantile and artisanal activities, but active environments – fashioned through built fabrics, material cultures, and human agents – which generated meaning. The craft hall was at the centre of guild activities and had a substantial impact on everyday encounters and exchanges, but this multifunctional space was also fundamental to the collective historic imagination, or memory, of London’s craftsmen. Through their designs, materiality, layout, and furnishings, craft halls held great symbolic significance for their artisanal members and the broader urban community. This chapter also identifies, for the first time, distinctive patterns of company hall rebuilding, adaptation, and ‘beautification’ from c. 1550 to c. 1640 – changes which can be observed in the shifting language of guild inventories and organisation of building plans. Throughout the City, late medieval guild structures were either demolished and replaced, or significantly modified and enlarged, a process which affected hall chambers, parlours, courtrooms, treasuries, kitchens, galleries, and adjoining workshops, gardens, and almshouses. Artisans were investing significant funds, time, energy, materials, and ingenuity into the institutional built environment. The chapter shows how these improvements were shaped, both conceptually and materially, by a considerable range of established and aspirational guildsmen. Contributions to the material and structural organisation of company buildings impacted upon the status of master craftsmen within the guild hierarchy.
ignore the psychological and social value of having a continuous focal point for the self of some kind, however fragile its foundations might be, Andy Clark and David Chalmers offer an alternative theory of extended minds which retains the integrity of individual human agents while also embracing the extension of personal powers by external devices – that is, external to the human body. Significantly, while they 56 EXSELF.indb 56 The extended self 30/07/2014 13:39:10 do not elaborate on the idea, they suggest their approach might allow for a concept of the
‘constructivist continuum’ are stated in section four. These are: 1. the role, or lack thereof, assigned to human agents; 2. the extent and site of rationality; 3. the integrative dynamics of a given policy area; and 4. the level of complexity exhibited by it. Hence, integration theories are increasingly defined ’ex negativo’ , in terms of what they are not, as they move away from ‘the deductive-nomological model of causal explanation, materialism, [and] more or less strong rationality assumptions’ of state-centrism (Christiansen, Jørgensen
, political parties, pressure groups, and so on – their actions can always be decomposed into the actions of biological human agents. Thus we might explain a political party adopting a specific programme and election manifesto in order to appeal to the median voter and so try to win the plurality vote and the election; the actual process of the political party adopting that programme can be explained in terms of the specific actions of members of that party. And those members may not all have adopted that programme in order to appeal to the median voter. Some might have
German philosopher Jürgen Habermas has written extensively on the European Union.
This is the only in-depth account of his project. Published now in a second
edition to coincide with the celebration of his ninetieth birthday, a new
preface considers Habermas’s writings on the eurozone and refugee crises,
populism and Brexit, and the presidency of Emmanuel Macron.
Placing an emphasis on the conception of the EU that informs Habermas’s political prescriptions, the book is divided into two main parts. The first considers the unfolding of 'social modernity' at the level of the EU. Among the subjects covered are Habermas's concept of juridification, the latter's affinities with integration theories such as neofunctionalism, and the application of Habermas's democratic theory to the EU. The second part addresses 'cultural modernity' in Europe – 'Europessimism' is argued to be a subset of the broader cultural pessimism that assailed the project of modernity in the late twentieth century, and with renewed intensity in the years since 9/11.
Interdisciplinary in approach, this book engages with European/EU studies, critical theory, political theory, international relations, intellectual history, comparative literature, and philosophy. Concise and clearly written, it will be of interest to students, scholars and professionals with an interest in these disciplines, as well as to a broader readership concerned with the future of Europe