Sociology Index


Structuration is a term used by British sociologist Anthony Giddens in order to capture elements of macro and micro-sociology, structure and agency, determinism and free will. By structuration Giddens means that human actors recreate through their interactions the very social structures which constrain their actions. Structuration involves the reproduction on a daily basis of the structures and institutions of society. Structuration social change possible. Giddens’s structuration theory is increasingly used as an alternative approach to studying numerous organizational phenomena.

Refusing the Realism-Structuration Divide - Rob Stones - This article argues against the view put forward by Margaret Archer that there is an irreconcilable divide between realist social theory and structuration theory. Instead, it argues for the systematic articulation of the two theories at both the ontological and the methodological levels. Each has developed a range of insightful and commensurable conceptualizations either missing or underdeveloped in the other. Archer's contention that structuration theory rejects the notion of analytical dualism central to the realist approach is shown to be mistaken; Giddens's rejection of dualism refers to a different conceptualization of the term.

Similarly, Archer's critique of structuration's notion of a duality involving structure and agency is rejected by showing that Archer's own morphogenetic approach itself relies upon such a notion. A final section distinguishes between six key problematics of social analysis. It is clear that, for a large number of possible questions within the majority of these problematics, it is a combination of both ontologies that would facilitate the most adequate substantive account.

Organizational Adaptive Capacity - A Structuration Perspective 
Udo Staber, Universitat Augsburg, Germany, Jorg Sydow, Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany.
Conventional approaches to organizational effectiveness and survival in highly volatile and complex environments focus on adaptation strategies of cost cutting and rationalization. The authors propose that building adaptive capacity is a more appropriate organizational strategy in such environments. Using Giddens's structuration theory, they discuss multiplexity, redundancy, and loose coupling as important structural dimensions of adaptive capacity.

Challenges in Conducting Empirical Work Using Structuration Theory: Learning from IT Research - Marlei Pozzebon, HEC Montreal, Canada, Alain Pinsonneault, McGill Univ, Canada.

The applicability of Giddens’s concepts is not without difficulties because of two main challenges.

First, structuration theory is complex, involving concepts and general propositions that operate at a high level of abstraction.

Second, structuration theory is not easily coupled to any specific research method or methodological approach, and it is difficult to apply empirically.

Arguing that structuration theory is a valuable framework for a rich understanding of management, organization and related subjects of inquiry, this paper aims to improve the application of structuration theory in empirical work by drawing on the experience in information technology (IT) research.

The paper presents a repertoire of research strategies that might guide students of organization in dealing with three elements that are central to structuration theory: duality of structure, time/space and actors’ knowledgeability.

Handle with Care - On the Use of Structuration Theory within Criminology 
Barry Vaughan, Institute of Public Administration, Dublin, Ireland.

This paper critically examines how Anthony Giddens’s theory of structuration has been utilized within criminological studies. It suggests that rather than resolving many traditional dilemmas within sociology, structuration theory effaces them by compacting together structure and agency.

Adverting to the critical literature on structuration theory, it points out the consequences of binding structure and agency together so tightly. This confers a spurious malleability upon social structures, yet structuration theory is unable to specify when transformation will occur, and also fails to explain why there should be change since agents are overwhelmingly concerned with the preservation of security through the adherence to routines.

Using Giddens’s Structuration Theory to Examine the Waning Participation of African Americans in Baseball - David Ogden, Randall A. Rose, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
This article employs structuration theory, a comprehensive social theory developed by British sociologist Anthony Giddens, to examine the evolution of African Americans’ involvement in baseball from the heyday of the Negro leagues to the historically low level of participation today. Structuration theory has the capability of facilitating a rich, multifaceted analysis of this situation, at both macro and micro levels, through employing such constructs as routine, ontological security, identity, rule and resource structures, and positioning.