A. Giddensa teoria strukturacji a teoria konstruktywizmu strukturalnego P. Bourdieu

Jan Turowski


The author makes a comparative analysis of the views in sociology of the dilemmas between agency and the social structure that shapes it (in Giddens's formulation) and on the dilemma between objectivism and subjectivism in approaching reality (in P. Bordieu's formulation). Both these theoreticians agree in recognizing these dilemmas-antinomies as merely apparent and false ones.

Both Giddens and Bourdieu declare abandoning controversy on the „nature” of the individual and society in the form of the dichotomy: agency-structure, or the dilemma: objectivism-subjectivism, and making the investigations of social practices, that is of real social behaviors and agency, the subject of sociological studies. For study reasons they define the individual–man in a neutral way as an „acting subject”, „social actor”, and the social collective–social group, term as a „collective actor” and „group subject”.

Analysis of social practices that are ordered in time and space made by Giddens shows that individuals-subjects undertake and reproduce routine and strategic actions and they are guided by p r a c t i c a l c o n s c i o u s n e s s, comprising both knowledge and control of their agency. They monitor their behavior. They (subjects) are characterized by selfreflexiveness (Giddens) or habitus as a set of dispositions inclining social actors to respond and act in a definite way in a given situation (Bourdieu). Hence they are characterized by self r e g u l a t i o n.

The agency happens in a certain connection with the structure. The structure comprises a set of institutionalized rules–ways and significant codes of behavior as well as resources, the so-called allocation and authority resources (Giddens) with the help of which the agency is done. Hence agency as actions and structure as „the means” of agency constitute a duality, that is divided only analytically. Duality is the main thesis of the structuration theory formulated by Giddens. Structure in Bourdieu's formulation is characterized by objectivity; it is interiorized by individuals and is subjectivized by individuals in the course of upbringing and being exposed in the biographical course of life, but then it is also subjected to externalization in the shape of reproduction of agencies, construing new or modified agencies, new forms of organizations, behavior patterns or professed values and recognized norms. These processes or „mechanism”: of subjectivization of objectivity and objectivization of in a way processed subjectivity are defined as „theory of structural constructivism. With a little different understandings of „structure” and in a little different ways both authors solve – as it appears – apparent dilemmas.

To define super-individual social wholes in which individuals occur in social life Giddens introduces the concepts of social system and of society conceding the attribute of subjectiveness to them. On the other hand, Bourdieu rejects this definition and leaves the study of the network of relations – various kinds of relations occurring between individuals, that is the so-called interhuman spaces, and of the symbolic fields it consists of, that are various and differentiated spheres of actions, interests-values which individuals enter with an adequate „capital” and compete with one another in the „symbolic struggle” for their interests-values.

Authority and subjectivity of an individual. Authority is the domination occurring between people in social life. The sources of authority lie in the differences in resources (of allocations and authority) that individuals or societies-states have at their disposal (Giddens). Authority has a s y m b o l i c character, it is conferred with the help of proper rituals and if it is in some way respected, it derives its validity from that fact; otherwise it is a symbolic violence. The state is a self-validating monopolist of symbolic violence (Bourdieu).

In the synthetic conclusion both authors express the view that all structural conditions preserve and respect t h e s u b j e c t i v i t y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l's agency, since limiting some they liberate other agencies and make them possible (Gidden), and the habitus gives a possibility of different behaviors in immediate social situations and of recognizing and considering objective historical structural conditions in the activity of social subjects (Bourdieu).

Słowa kluczowe

podmiotowość; teoria strukturacji; teoria konstruktywizmu strukturalnego; pole; przestrzeń społeczna; habitus; teoria praktyki

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