Glossary of PS: Structure V Agency
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- What is the structure and agency about?
- The explanation of social and political phenomena.
- What does structure entail?
- Refers to context and setting which social, political and economic events occur.
- What does the structure explanation connote?
- Political institutions and practices show regularity over time. It implies that political behaviour has some sort of order.
- What does the agency position entail?
- Considers political conduct. Views agents from their autonomy and intentions.
- What does agency connote?
- It implies that actors have free will and autonomy.
- What is the structuralist take on the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany?
- Contradictions of the Weimar regime and failings of the government made Germany susceptible to a move to the right. Long tradition of anti-semitism in Germany; (3) recent defeat and the promise of the rise of the Germany and the German army by the Nazis.
- What was the agency position on the rise of fascism in 1930s Germany?
- (1) hitler's charisma; (2) resistance to the Weimar regime.
- What is structualism?
- Expanation of political factors, effects and events in terms of structual/contextual factors
- What does structualism imply?
- It implies logic and consequently implies globlisation from a logical perspective.
- Is structuralism in support of naturalism?
- Yes, it implies that prediction is possible. And one is able to use the scientific approach/method.
- How is rational choice theory related to structuralism?
- Rational choice theory is a form of structuralism. It argues that the human nature is a result of something independent of political actors. In other words, structures determine the outcome by influencing actors.
- What is the relation between new institutionalism and structuralism?
- New institutionalism connotes structuralism in so far as it explains political relations in terms of the operation and constraint shown by political institutions.
- Explain 5 ways that political institutions constrain political relations from the new institutionalism (a form of structuralism) perspective.
- (1) The sheer volume institutional fabric renders pratices, processes and tendencies hard to reform (Pierson); (2) behaviour is constrained by the value-systems already imbedded in institutions (Brinton and Nee); (3) correct behaviour defined by institutions leads to conformity and also non-conformance (March and Olsen); (4) institutions have preconceived views on possibility, feasbility and desirability (Hall); (5) institutional creation may depend upon existing institutional templates (Dimaggio and Powell).
- What are the criticisms of structuralism?
- (1) It is nonsensical to not take into consideration the effect that political actors have; (2) if everyone are predictable automotons then this paints a depressing picture of the world. Also, it leads to one not being able to differentiate between a dictator and an elected leader; (3) if we are indeed just bearers of structure how would one know this. It seems it leads to an elitist and patronising position (ivory tower).
- What is intentionalism?
- It views actors as having motives/intentions. It is these motives and their implications which are said to be significant. It takes the side of agency and disposes of structure.
- Which two positions is intentionalism associated with?
- Chronocentrism (or, presentism) and contextual parochialism.
- What is chronocentrism?
- The position that looks at the present time without considering the historical context.
- What does contextual parochialism?
- This position looks a specific situation without making drawing conclusions which make general transferable rules.
- What are the two solutions to the structure v agency problem?
- Gidden's Structuration Theory and the critical realism of Bhaskar and Archer.
- What does Gidden say about the relation between structure and agency?
- They are interrelated.
- What does the phrase duality of structure mean in terms of the structration theory?
- Structure is the medium and the outcome. It does not exist outside of conduct but intrinsic in production and reproduction.
- What does the phrase structuration mean in terms of the structration theory?
- The structuring of social relations in virtue of the duality of structure.
- What does Giddens emphasis in the structuration theory?
- The process of change. This directly includes structure and agency.
- In what way is it evident that Marx influenced Giddens structuration theory?
- It is clear from his view that agents make structures, but agents autonomy is restricted by already existing structures.
- What is different between Giddens' view and Marx's view on the duality of structure and agency?
- Both Marx and Giddens believed in the duality of structure and agency; however, Gidden's believed that there was an analogical separation. Put in another way, structure and agency are two different sides of the same coin.
- What is Giddens' 'methodological bracketing' about?
- It is not possible to consider the structural and agential aspects of a situation at once. Instead one has to consider them separately.
- What is Giddens' redefinition of structure?
- The rules and resources in reproducted social situations.
- How does critical realism differ from the structuration theory?
- Bhaskar and Archer proposed the critical realist position. The world, according to critical realism, is split into appearance and reality.
- What is Archer's critique of the structuration theory?
- She argued that the very idea that structure v agency is a duality and not a dualism is false.
- What did Archer say about structure and agency?
- Structure and agency are ontologically independent.
- Who developed the strategic-relational approach?
- Bob Jessop
- What does the strategic relational approach say about structure and agency?
- Structure and agency exist simultaneously. The distinction is purely analytical. The distinction is therefore not real as neither structure or agency can be isolated.
- What is the new concepts which Jessop introduces in the place of the structure and agency distinction?
- Strategic actor and strategically selective context.
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