Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation

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August 2003



A central question of social theory is: How do society's objective features influence its members to reproduce or transform society through their actions? This volume examines how objective social conditioning is mediated by the subjective reflexivity of individuals. On the basis of a series of in-depth interviews, Margaret Archer identifies the mediatory mechanism as "internal conversations" that are expressed in forms governing agents' responses to social conditioning, their individual patterns of social mobility, and whether or not they contribute to social stability or change.


Introduction: how does structure influence agency?; Part I. Solitude and Society: 1. The private life of the social subject; 2. From introspection to internal conversation: an unfinished journey in three stages; 3. Reclaiming the internal conversation; 4. The process of mediation between structure and agency; Part II. Modes of Reflexivity and Stances Towards Society: 5. Communicative reflexives; 6. Autonomous reflexives; 7. Meta-reflexives; 8. Fractured reflexives; Conclusion: personal powers and social powers.


Margaret S. Archer is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. An internationally respected social theorist, she was the first woman to become President of the International Sociological Association and is a former editor of Current Sociology. Previous publications include Culture and Agency (1988), Realist Social Theory (1995), Being Human: The Problem of Agency (2000).


'... a richly rewarding book ... Archer has given us, again, a good number of ideas to think with and about.' Journal of Critical Realism
EAN: 9780521535977
ISBN: 0521535972
Untertitel: 1 table. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Cambridge University Press
Erscheinungsdatum: August 2003
Seitenanzahl: 384 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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