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DEINING SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND SOCIAL ACTION

STRUCTURE
Refers to pre existing structures within which people live and continue after
their death e.g. child speaks a language they did not invent

Wider constructs in which people act e.g. education
Associated with macro level analysis
Society consists of reproduced orderly patterns that…

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Weber believed rational goal and value were appropriate for interpretive analysis
because they were based on reflective action not automatic behaviour

Can be applied to individual action as well as groups

Weber believed society had a tendency towards rational goal orientated action,
society was an iron cage devoid of myth…

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Actors in social interaction plan performance to give an impression e.g.
islanders in the Shetland isles

LABELLING THEORY
Labelling theory assumes when a situation is defined as real it is real in it's
consequence
Applied in deviant behaviour by BECKER

ETHNOMETHODOLOGY
Study of methods that people use for creating social…

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Structuration
Criticism ­ loses sight of structure

Position 4 ­ (structure and agency are linked)
Life word and system
Regognises how systems and action intersect

STRUCTURATION THEORY

GIDDENS
Proposed this theory to overcome the structure/agency debate. His position is based
on assumptions
People are knowledgeable about the social world
People…

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Open systems ­ Variables cannot be controlled. Can be explained by
underlying structures.
Closed systems ­ the variables can be controlled

Research methods must be appropriate to the study and must be critical.
TAYLOR: Argues that whilst DURKHIEM used positivist methods in his suicide
study his theory was realist. The…

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Therefore it is the not the product of obdervation but socially constructed
discourses
Demonstated by FOUCAULT:
Used case studies to look at prisons, sexuality etc.
He delved into the past looking for documents etc that demonstrated
the shift in discourse


EVALUATION

There ideas make research problematic, if all research is…

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SIMPLIFIED
REALISM Research should be used alongside
concepts such as `anomie' to reveal
underlying structures or mechanism
such as alienation
FEMINIST METHODOLOGY Use methods to capture the unique
standpoint of women
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM Used discourse to construct
knowledge that is taken for granted
METHODOLOGICAL Posed questions about how research
COSMOPOLITANISM…

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