Structuralism and Action

  • Created by: lw121x
  • Created on: 28-05-15 15:32
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  • Structural approaches and social action
    • Consensus Theories
      • Society is harmonious
      • consensus
      • Shared values = social order
      • Socialisation
      • Predictable behaviour
      • each part serves a role
    • Conflict Theories
      • benefit at expense of others
      • institutions socialisation = control
      • inequality a norm
      • Punished if they do not conform
    • Structural = influenced by major structural forces. Social action = individuals operate as free agents
    • Social Action Theory
      • Social order a social construction
        • Social action theorists argue social order isn't generated by institutions
          • order is a construction a product of someones mind.
        • They say people want to believe there is order so they behave in a way that convinces them there is
      • Rejects Sociology Objective
        • Everyone can put different labels to the same thing
        • Can't predict behaviours - people don't act passively
      • Weber
        • avoid generalising theories not determined by laws
        • social science should proceed understanding human action
        • 4 types of social action:
          • traditional - custom habit ie. gift
          • Affective- driven by emotion ie. cry at funeral
          • rational Value Orientated Action - overriding idea or value ie. committed to religion so pray
          • Rational goal orientated; predict likely results in relation to goal
        • Criticisms
          • Schutz too individualistic doesn't explain shared nature of meanings
          • can be in more than 1 category
          • Webers 'vertenhen' we can never understand individuals
      • Symbolic Interactionism - Mead
        • society shaped by meanings we attach to everyday things.
        • reality is constructed- via lang
        • Labelling Theory
          • application to Symbolic Interactionism
            • self fulfilling p
            • master status
              • BECK
          • CRITICISMS :
            • cannoy explain why some are more powerful
        • Evaluation:
          • 70 yrs old still symbols
          • must be some form of consensus for all to abide symbols
          • Blumer people do not react automaticallyinterpret it first. Meanings are not fixed. Rules + structures restrict interpretation but not fixed
    • Giddens - ON NEITHER SIDE
      • believed structure and action exist independently but are intimately related
      • social actions create structures but we produce/ reproduce them
      • Structuration - relatestructures to actions
      • 'Dulaity structure' structures make social action possible vice versa
        • ie. English lang. Sets rules but need to be spoken
      • Humans agents reproduce/ transform
      • Criticisms
        • Archer 1995- giddens underestimates power of structures to resist change ie slaves want change but lack power to do so
        • Fails to apply large scale ie. economy


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