The Duality of Structure



[Applause] agents and structures operate as a duality neither having absolute primacy over each other both are contingent upon the other and both influence each other this is a core tenet of Lord Anthony Giddens structuration theory structure is defined as rules and resources rules are socially and culturally accepted norms which restrict the freedom of agents rules are created through social sanctions which frown upon behavior which goes against these rules resources are physical and social resources which allow humans to achieve control over their environment which is how Gideon's defines power structure is thus a social system it is constituted by human action and its creations thus the logical and separate ability of the agent from structure Kieran's emphasizes the importance of this duality to put it in his own words all human action is carried on by knowledgeable agents who both construct the social world through their action but yet whose action is also conditioned or constrained by the very world of their creation thus it is not that humans can only be understood in relation to structure but that structure in humans can only be understood in relation to each other structure is the result of human action and human action is both the result of structural influences on human psychology thus the basis of all social systems is human action structure is not something tangible and it is not something that exists independent from human social relationships structure or rules and resources only presence itself within moments of human interaction it is a completely social construct thus not existing independent of social phenomena agency does not presuppose or rely on the existence of a free will it is only defined as the capacity to exercise power over physical or social resources the former being objects and the latter being other humans agents also have knowledge ability which allows them to engage with structure as gideon's puts it every human agent is knowledgeable in the practical consciousness and has a vast variety of tacit modes of knowing how to go on in the contexts of social life they are aware of their effects on structure and operate with the conscious awareness of their action there are three more important concepts in Gibbons theory which are significant legitimation and domination signification refers to the way structure an agent interact with each other to create shared meaning it is how agents knowledgeably act in relation this structure which forms social norms legitimation is how norms are maintained within structure Gibbons essentially describes a mimetic version of permeating norms agents create maintain and discard norms which can only happen through social legitimation or the legitimation and lastly the minion refers to humans exercising power over material or authoritative resources the former being material objects and the latter being the capacity to persuade other agents Dominion is thus under structuration theory synonymous with power Dominion is less about formal coercive and brute force as it is typically more nuanced and unseen the more social norms are legitimated the less there is a need for domination all three aspects of signification legitimation and domination through human action creates structure




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