Structuration theory - Wikipedia
However, social embeddedness as conceived from a structurationist perspective is not confined to stable per- sonal relationships. Network practices are rather. The theory of structuration is a social theory of the creation and reproduction of social systems . Social systems have patterns of social relation that change over time; the changing nature of space and time determines the .. Understandings of Technology in Community-Based Organisations: A Structurational Analysis. Request PDF on ResearchGate | Developments in studies on the relationship between firm and consumer: A structurationist view | The aim of this chapter is to .
Gregor McLennan suggested renaming this process "the duality of structure and agency", since both aspects are involved in using and producing social actions. In examining social systems, structuration theory examines structure, modalityand interaction.
The "modality" discussed below of a structural system is the means by which structures are translated into actions. Interaction[ edit ] Interaction is the agent's activity within the social system, space and time. Whenever individuals interact in a specific context they address—without any difficulty and in many cases without conscious acknowledgement—the question: Routine persists in society, even during social and political revolutions, where daily life is greatly deformed, "as Bettelheim demonstrates so well, routines, including those of an obnoxious sort, are re-established.
On the contrary, as Goffman together with ethnomethodology has helped to demonstrate, the routinized character of most social activity is something that has to be 'worked at' continually by those who sustain it in their day-to-day conduct.
The monitoring of the body, the control and use of face in ' face work '—these are fundamental to social integration in time and space. These structural features of the language are the medium whereby I generate the utterance.
But in producing a syntactically correct utterance I simultaneously contribute to the reproduction of the language as a whole. The relation between moment and totality for social theory Social stability and order is not permanent; agents always possess a dialectic of control discussed below which allows them to break away from normative actions. Depending on the social factors present, agents may cause shifts in social structure.
The cycle of structuration is not a defined sequence; it is rarely a direct succession of causal events. Structures and agents are both internal and external to each other, mingling, interrupting, and continually changing each other as feedbacks and feedforwards occur. Giddens stated, "The degree of " systemness " is very variable.
I take it to be one of the main features of structuration theory that the extension and 'closure' of societies across space and time is regarded as problematic. Structure and society[ edit ] Structures are the "rules and resources" embedded in agents' memory traces. Agents call upon their memory traces of which they are "knowledgeable" to perform social actions.
- Structurational Theory
Giddens also uses "resources" to refer to this type. Signification meaning Legitimation norms: Giddens sometimes uses "rules" to refer to either signification or legitimation. An agent draws upon these stocks of knowledge via memory to inform him or herself about the external context, conditions, and potential results of an action. Thus, he distinguishes between overall "structures-within-knowledgeability" and the more limited and task-specific "modalities" on which these agents subsequently draw when they interact.
The duality of structures means that structures enter "simultaneously into the constitution of the agent and social practices, and 'exists' in the generating moments of this constitution. Agents and society[ edit ] Giddens' agents follow previous psychoanalysis work done by Sigmund Freud and others. To be human is to be an agent not all agents are human. Agency is critical to both the reproduction and the transformation of society.
Another way to explain this concept is by what Giddens calls the "reflexive monitoring of actions.
Organizational fields and the structuration perspective: analytical possibilities
Monitoring is an essential characteristic of agency. Agents subsequently "rationalize," or evaluate, the success of those efforts.
All humans engage in this process, and expect the same from others. Through action, agents produce structures; through reflexive monitoring and rationalization, they transform them.
To act, agents must be motivated, must be knowledgeable must be able to rationalize the action; and must reflexively monitor the action. Agents, while bounded in structure, draw upon their knowledge of that structural context when they act. However, actions are constrained by agents' inherent capabilities and their understandings of available actions and external limitations. Practical consciousness and discursive consciousness inform these abilities.
Practical consciousness is the knowledgeability that an agent brings to the tasks required by everyday life, which is so integrated as to be hardly noticed. Reflexive monitoring occurs at the level of practical consciousness.
Alongside practical and discursive consciousness, Giddens recognizes actors as having reflexive, contextual knowledge, and that habitual, widespread use of knowledgeability makes structures become institutionalized. Agents must coordinate ongoing projects, goals, and contexts while performing actions.
This coordination is called reflexive monitoring and is connected to ethnomethodology's emphasis on agents' intrinsic sense of accountability. Location offers are a particular type of capability constraint. Do other actors participate in the action? Are other actors physically nearby? Agents are always able to engage in a dialectic of control, able to "intervene in the world or to refrain from such intervention, with the effect of influencing a specific process or state of affairs.
Giddens intended his theory to be abstract and theoretical, informing the hermeneutic aspects of research rather than guiding practice. The notion of field as a relationship network recalls the role of actors and their capacity for agency in the structuration process.
More recent studies Powell et al. The relational configuration between actors influences the parameters for subsequent decisions and the field trajectory. However, despite the importance of these longitudinal studies on structural configurations, the focus in the relational dimension cannot infer abandoning the symbolic dimension.
Adaptive Structuration Theory
It is worth pointing out that the contexts of simultaneity and recurrence are not restricted to relationships but also are extended to the notion of spatio-temporally delimited meanings. Brief Considerations on Theoretical Perspectives We have verified that from the concept originally formulated by DiMaggio and Powell to the subsequent versions, certain aspects are recurrent while others are specific to a line of investigation.
The different conceptual alternatives presented suggest not only a variety of emphases on the understanding of the organizational field but also theoretical preferences and analytical peculiarities which, in certain cases, are not excluding among themselves. Here it is evident that there is a reference to the notion of field as communicative space among different social actors, which delimits values, social norms, sanctions and other aspects owing to the relational configuration between them Mohr, In practical terms, the symbolic dimension of a field combined with its material facet under the lens of the actors ends up defining an arena of interaction from which their notion of position in the field is derived, understood as their reference in relation to the other actors sense of one's place and the other's place plus the parameters for action.
As an articulated relationship space, the notion of field favors a more structural approach, based on the analysis of patterns and intensity of relationship. However, one of the aspects that we sought to highlight throughout the article is the fact that besides the material consideration of the relations between actors, the symbolic order surrounding the meaning of these relationships needs to be observed.
In any explanation of the collective actions, rational ends make no sense without considering cultural categories such as values and beliefs, located in a certain historical context. When it comes to the constitution of an organizational field, there is always a set of presuppositions concerning its structuration, among which those of two approaches stand out: Both are found in the base of the concept of the organizational field of DiMaggio and Powell Nevertheless, although they have shared aspect, their premises are not equivalents Mohr, One of the points of distinction between them is in the way in which power, conflict and social position are introduced in the structuration process.
According to Bourdieupower relationships structure society and are in the essence of the dispute for capital by actors who wish to sustain or transform their position or social structure in a certain field, influencing the meaning of relationships which assure them legitimacy.
In Giddensthe social dynamic is dealt with differently, with power and social position being linked to practice, not in the sense of strategic competence but as part of the dimensions of interaction.
On the Brazilian academic scene, what can be seen concerning studies into organizational fields is the reference to three central authors: DiMaggio, Scott and Bourdieu, with the latter being the most referred to. In Figure 1we show the relationship between twenty-five analyzed articles and the authors referred to therein in their concept of the organizational field.
From a total of references to field, Bourdieu was quoted 46 times The three authors together have a total of references, i. This preference of researchers favors the approach supported in the view of the field as an arena of power and conflict, which is highlighted in the Brazilian context.
To Bourdieu power is a central variable in the conflicts of interest within a field. The field is understood as a configuration of relationships between positions that are objectively defined in their existence and in the determinations they impose upon their occupants, agents or institutions by their present and potential situation situs in the structure of distribution of species of power or capitalwhose possession commands access to the specific profits that are at stake in the field as well as by their objective relation to other positions domination, subordination, homology, etc.
Therefore, a field is considered a structured space of position, an arena of dispute for legitimacy, in which agents struggle for the redefinition or appropriation of specific capital that is unequally distributed. This inequality defines the structure of the field, where the dominant and the dominated are found and reflects a relationship of forces that are historically engendered by a system of incorporated dispositions which not only allows for action in this game but also the recognition of its importance in a type of objective complicity beyond the struggles and in favor of the very existence of the field Lahire, In the view of Thiry-Cherques the research object of Bourdieu is to know the structures and how they determine the internal relations to a social segment, at the same time that they are determined by these relations, i.
The author states that Bourdieu follows, in general terms, the protocol of structuralist research, but that the epistemological founding is Bachelard's rational materialism.
Bourdieu,however, defines his approach as constructivist structuralism or structural constructivism, meaning the understanding that it is organized so as to overcome the dichotomy between objectivism and subjectivism. He understands that sociological analysis must take two complementary matters into account.
The first concerns the analysis of social space, considering the relative position and objective relations between the agents, in which the differentiation depends on the volume of capital of the agent.
As the type of capital that defines positions becomes clearer, a special field of power is created and this results from the active role of the types of capital and political struggle as assets in the building of social space.
In turn, the second matter for sociological analysis must deal with the social perception of the world, in which the notion of habitus is relevant, expressing through schema of perception and appreciation the social position in which it was arranged. As he explains, habitus is a product of the internalization of structures, configuring mental schema for the apprehension of the world.
This places habitus as a mechanism of social reproduction whose degree of opening for change is a matter of controversy among social scientists see: Lau, ; Lizardo, However, to Lizardo there is nothing in the concept of habitus that makes its use impossible in a non-determinist way. He states that many critics attack the force of the habitus in social reproduction but ignore the possibility of its use in a more flexible way, awaiting purposeful and creative actions.
Meanwhile Everett understands that a certain social determinism is implied in the perspective of Bourdieu. The actors have little freedom of action, delimited by social structures, with little space for reflection and change. Furthermore, he identifies problems in the universalization of Bourdieu's notion of class, which combines Marx's concept of economic class and Weber's status group.
The author also questions the weakness in the limitation of a field since it is hardly known what is or what is not within the reach of its boundaries. He states that in Bourdieu's approach i the analysis of objective structures is logically conducted by the analysis of objective dispositions, ii and this relation fulfills political functions, which makes the symbolic systems instruments of domination; and iii symbolic systems are social products that constitute social relations, which are capable of transforming representation in the world, revealing social power relations linked to symbolic goods which contribute to the reproduction or transformation of domination structures.
According to him, the association of certain practices, generally conceived as typical activities, performed and contained in the habitus, with the existential content of a field leaves aside relevant aspects of the institutional dynamic. By understanding that this concept of field suffers from an excessively structural focus, he proposes its revision. He believes that for its effective comprehension, it is necessary to recognize both the level of institutionalization of the field itself associated with the relational structure founded on strategic action for the dispute of capital and the institutionalization of practices, dealt with more broadly as coordinated entities that exist through their effective performance in the action and resulting from historical processes of social interaction that are variable in space-time.
He argues that in Bourdieu's approach all relevant conduct for sociological investigation is strategic and competitive in such a way that the analysis of social fields does not allow the appreciation of a wide theory of practices. Furthermore, it may be suggested that this approach tends to give favor the competence of agents who are more powerful and structurally better placed in the struggle to assure their legitimacy and the dominion of the field.
In the Brazilian academic context, Machado da Silva, Fonseca and Crubellate believe that the problem of some formulations, supported in certain readings of Bourdieu is in the conception of power as fundamentally linked to the "single perspective of intentionality, [which makes it] come close to a rationalist presupposition; at least when it comes to its subjacent voluntarist guidelines" p.
Therefore, social relations in the field take on a mechanicist form strictly based in the functionality of relationships. This dualism is essentially marked by the polarization between objectivism and subjectivism, reconsidering the theory of structuration as a duality of structure: Cohen explains that the structuration theory is a post-empiricist view without the intention to universalize any set of practices or processes of social re production but to re formulate their constitutive potentials.
In this sense, the exposition of their main components becomes necessary to understand the arguments on organizational fields that will be presented below. The key to understanding the structuration theory lies in the concept of social re production, contrary to the functionalist teleology and the dichotomy between the static and the dynamic. In this sense, any social situation is considered "a contingent achievement of the social actors and [ In this approach, Giddens understands that social systems are "relationships reproduced between actors or collectives, organized as regular social practices" p.
As such, Giddens attributes to them a personal and spatio-temporal character in that they are continually created and recreated as the active achievement of agents. Whittington emphasizes that the concept of social system suspends the dualism between structure and agency, creating an interdependent duality. In this perspective, the analysis of the structuration process it is only possible through the study of the activities of the actors, who are supported by the rules and resources that are available in their context of action.
Groups and collectives must be seen as systems of interaction, where the actors produce and reproduce this context, continually reformulating the social systems Giddens, Thus, structuration is understood as "the reproduction of practices, [ Therefore, structure is conceived as "generative rules and resources that are both applied to action and are constituted as part of it" Giddens,p.
As Giddens explains, to say that structure is a virtual order of transforming relations means that the social systems, as reproduced social practices, have no structures, but beforehand exhibit structural properties and that structure only exists as a space-time presence in its exemplifying in such practices and as mnemonic traces the conduct of agents gifted with cognoscitive capacity p.
However, to consider structures as a set of rules and resources requires special attention. In their turn, resources are accessible bases of power that supply the means to influence the course of interaction among agents, but which are not separated from the semantic and moral aspects Cohen, Thus, structures are at the same time resources for the reproduction of the system, being associated with aspects of routine practice, to the constitution of meanings and to sanctions found in certain historical and spatial circumstances.
In social relations, the standardization of social interactions in space-time and the reproduction of localized practices as a virtual social structuration order recursively implicated in this reproduction are considered.
The structure, therefore, must not be compared with coercion because it is simultaneously facilitating and constraining, not existing independently from the knowledge of the social actors concerning what they do in their daily activity, but "de-subjectified into the practices of a collectivity" Bertilsson,p. In time, Giddens uses the term social integration that which has occurred among actors in contexts of co-presence, where there is reciprocity between practices and integration of system and actors that are physically absent spatio-temporally.
More than this, the spatio-temporal context must be repositioned in the theory. To better understand this aspect, it is necessary to recognize that subject are agents before all else. This indicates that there is practical action in human conduct that cannot always be put into words, which does not mean that it is not done practiced.
Thus, the presupposed idea of the cognoscitive subject, which reflexively monitors its actions in the social system, also considers that part of this monitoring is not spoken of, but conformed as a practical conscience, not verbalized, and by itself is only part of the same set of actions.
On this point, Cohen explains that "the characteristic quality of practical conscience is that the agents need to be only tacitly conscious of the skills that they have mastered, although it is generally possible to concentrate discursive attention when such an occasion arises" p. In other words, the agents possess an essentially tacit form of knowledge that guides them to act or proceed within the routines of social life. In these terms, in dealing with reflexive agents and those who move in space-time, the differentiation of contexts is associated with the guidance of these actions.
Contexts are like scenarios for actions, to which the agents appeal to guide what they do and say to others. There is, therefore, a process of contextual indexability configuring scenarios of practical action, as made typical and inherent to the stocks of mutual knowledge, which agents make use of to produce a meaningful world Giddens, It is interesting to observe that mutual knowledge, as understood by Giddenspresupposes its duration beyond the biography of any agent or group of agents, being extended over space and time.
The traces of memory, present in the structuration process would be the basic instrument by which mutual knowledge is preserved by agents and transported to situations where the respective practices are reproduced.
Therefore, mutual knowledge, analytically, represents that set of rules considered as structural property of a semantic and normative nature which, linked to resources, as means by which these rules are applied, make up the dimensions of duality of structure Cohen, This, however, is not to say that in the structuration theory the principle of uniformity of social practices is accepted.
As observed by CohenIn the structuration theory, the kinds of resources to which the agents have access and the cognoscitive skills involved in the practices that they perform, like their discursive knowledge of broader social conditions always exist in the interior of certain historical and spatial limits [ The historical variability of the social praxis in ontological terms The theory of structuration supplies an ontology of potentials.
It maintains that a potential held by social agents is the skill to produce historical variations in their own forms of conduct p.
This capacity is related to the power that is subjacent to human action, the power to make a difference. Action is equal to transforming capacity in the structuration theory Cohen, In this sense, even if daily life involves a sequence of intentional actions, these acts lead to unforeseen consequences that may systematically be sustained by the constitution of unrecognized conditions of new acts. Social systems are activities of human agents, reproduced in localized practices, but also standardization of social relations in space-time, which can be understood as an intermediary between agents and society, where the dimensions of social interaction power, sanctions and forms of communication are found.
Therefore, "to analyze the structuration of social systems means to study the way that these systems, founded in the cognoscitive activities of localized actors, based on rules and resources in the diversity of contexts of action, are produced and reproduced in interaction" Giddens,p.
Considering that, in organizational fields, agents interact with each other, re producing social structures through modalities of structuration, some considerations in this respect are required. The idea of structure in interaction in social systems is opportune for a dynamic understanding of the notion of power, which seems to be more suitable to the ideas set out so far because, contrary to what readings based on Bourdieu suggest, power is not treated mechanistically or as an end for the members of a field.
According to Giddenswhether power has a connection with different sectional interests is not equal to its definition. Thus, power is not seen as an obstacle to freedom; however, its coercive character cannot be ignored. Power as a dimension of interaction supposes that domination structures are reproduced in time and space. However, as mentioned above, domination structure are embedded in contexts of meaning and legitimacy, i. This kind of formulation necessarily presupposes a dialectic of control in which the generation of power is not exclusive to dominating groups.
The duality between structure and agency allows us to understand that fields are relatively closed systems, which does not imply stating that they are socially cohesive, whose dynamic of interaction, although marked by localized structural references, does not make possible the creation of new patterns. Nevertheless, to speak of duality of structure as a reproduction of structural properties from the praxis of cognoscitive actors is to accept that they are capable not only of reproducing but of producing new patterns of interaction, endogenously altering the field structure.
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