A Theory of Structure: Duality, Agency, and Transformation

“Structure” is one of the most important, elusive, and undertheorized concepts in the social sciences. Setting out from a critique and reformulation of Anthony Giddens’s notion of the duality of structure and Pierre Bourdieu's notion of habitus, this article attempts to develop a theory of structure that restores human agency to social actors, builds the possibility of change into the concept of structure, and overcomes the divide between semiotic and materialist visions of structure.

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Abstract

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“Structure” is one of the most important, elusive, and undertheorized concepts in the social sciences. Setting out from a critique and reformulation of Anthony Giddens’s notion of the duality of structure and Pierre Bourdieu's notion of habitus, this article attempts to develop a theory of structure that restores human agency to social actors, builds the possibility of change into the concept of structure, and overcomes the divide between semiotic and materialist visions of structure.

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