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Restructuring Structuration Theory: Duality and Dualism in Sociological Theory

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Anthony Giddens’ work is both theoretically significant and very influential in present-day sociology.1 The reason for this is very simple. While there are many sociologists who are interested in theory per se very few have made any marked contribution to sociological theory. As I have argued already in the introduction, by overreacting to the sociological provincialism of the early post-war period, theoretically-minded sociologists in this country are at present so much absorbed, not to say overpowered, by developments in other disciplines (particularly in epistemology, moral philosophy, and linguistics) that they fail to translate the insights generated in such neighbouring fields into appropriate sociological concepts. The theoretical cosmopolitanism that has succeeded the introverted, sociology-centred theory of the early 1950s and 1960s has not managed to provide any systematically useful concepts for sociologists interested in theoretically-oriented empirical work.


  • Social Theory
  • Social Integration
  • Structuration Theory
  • Strategic Conduct
  • Sociological Theory

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  1. A. Giddens, Central Problems in Social Theory, London: Macmillan, 1979, p. 66.

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  2. For the notion of natural-performative attitudes in contrast to theoretical or ‘Hypothetical-reflective’ ones, see J. Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action, London: Heinemann, 1984, pp. 80–1 and 122–3.

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  3. D. Lockwood, ‘Social integration and system integration’, in G. K. Zollschan and W. Hirsch (eds), Explorations in Social Change, London: Routledge, 1964, p. 194.

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  4. Ibid., p. 371. On the problematic way in which Lockwood conceptualises system ‘parts’, see N. Mouzelis, ‘Social and system integration: some reflections on a fundamental distinction’, British Journal of Sociology, no. 4., 1974. See also Chapter 3.

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  5. See on this theme J. C. Alexander et al. (eds), The Micro-Macro Link, Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1987;

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  6. K. Knorr-Cetina and A. V. Cicourel (eds), Advances in Social Theory and Methodology: Towards an Integration of Micro and Macro Sociologies, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981;

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  7. and N. C. Fielding (ed.), Actions and Structures: Research Method and Social Theory, London: Sage, 1988.

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  8. P. Willis, Learning to Labour, Farnborough: Saxon House, 1977. See also TCS, op. cit., pp. 289–309.-

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  9. A relation RAB may be defined as internal if A would not be what it essentially is unless B is related to it in the way that it is.’ R. Bhaskar, The Possibility of Naturalism, Brighton: Harvester Press, 1979.

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  10. T. Parsons has tried to theorise the systems-within-systems nature of social organisation in his The Social System, Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1951.

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  11. See M. Archer, ‘Morphogenesis versus structuration: on combining structure and action’, British Journal of Sociology, December 1982.

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  12. A. Giddens, ‘Marx’s correct views on everything’, Theory, Culture and Society, March 1985, p. 168.

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© 1991 Nicos P. Mouzelis

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Mouzelis, N.P. (1991). Restructuring Structuration Theory: Duality and Dualism in Sociological Theory. In: Back to Sociological Theory. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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