INTEGRATIVE APPROACHES TO THE “STRUCTURE/AGENCY” DILEMMA IN MODERN SOCIAL THEORY (A. GIDDENS, P. BOURDIEU, J. HABERMAS)

A. M. Galatov

Abstract


The article is addressed to the general views of three prominent social thinkers on the fundamental theoretical dilemma of “structure/agency”, deep differences in understanding of which are still considered as basis for intense discussions among pundits, representing various streams and schools in sociology. The theory of structuration, elaborated by Anthony Giddens, Bourdieu’s scrutinizing of practice, habitus and fields, Habermas’ theory of “colonization of life-world” are all considered as pioneering and plentiful attempts of resolving of crisis of social theory and establishment of particular integrative conjunction of objectivist and subjectivist paradigms of social knowledge, which determines their theoretical resemblance and justify their joint study. Besides, these integrative approaches give the authors reason to make some distinctive remarks concerning origins of social conflicts, conflicting forms of interaction of social actors, and structural contradictoriness underlying them. The core of Giddens’ approach is constituted by idea of “duality of structure”, which not exclusively restricts agency, but creates opportunities for humans, who possess reflexivity and practical consciousness, to form and change social practices and thereby reshape structural conditions. Bourdieu, in his turn, uses the concept of practices, occurring within particular social fields embracing agents and their social positions, to designate where the dialectic of structure and agency exactly takes place, and habitus which while being both structured structure and structuring structure, is interpreted as systems of schemes of perception, evaluation and cognition of practices. Habermas treats the problem, firstly, by analytically separating categories “life-word” as inner point of view of an actor on society, where he is engaged in implementation of communicative action and “system” as a level of structures and institutions and, secondly, postulating, that according to the logic of social development, leading to inner differentiation and mutual divergence of these levels, “colonization of life-world by system” is accelerating, which results in various disruption of communication.

Keywords


integrative theories; structural contradictions; sociology; structure; agency; structuration; habitus; practice; field; conflict; “life-world”

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.31312/2310-6085-2019-14-2-9-20

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