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Look Inside Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation

Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation

£48.99

  • Date Published: August 2003
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521829069

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  • The central problem of social theory is 'structure and agency'. How do the objective features of society influence human agents? Determinism is not the answer, nor is conditioning as currently conceptualised. It accentuates the way structure and culture shape the social context in which individuals operate, but it neglects our personal capacity to define what we care about most and to establish a modus vivendi expressive of our concerns. Through inner dialogue, 'the internal conversation', individuals reflect upon their social situation in the light of current concerns and projects. On the basis of a series of unique, in-depth interviews, Archer identifies three distinctive forms of internal conversation. These govern agents' responses to social conditioning, their individual patterns of social mobility and whether or not they contribute to social stability or change. Thus the internal conversation is seen as being the missing link between society and the individual, structure and agency.

    • Offers an original solution to the problem of reconciling structure and agency in human lives
    • Combines cutting edge theory with groundbreaking empirical research
    • The fourth volume in a series of books by a leading international theorist that has mapped out the significance of realist social theory for contemporary society
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a richly rewarding book … Archer has given us, again, a good number of ideas to think with and about.' Journal of Critical Realism

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2003
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521829069
    • length: 380 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.721kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Author

    Margaret S. Archer, University of Warwick
    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).

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