Theory Beyond Structure and Agency

Theory Beyond Structure and Agency

Jean-Sébastien Guy

Format: Print Book

ISBN: 9783030189853

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This book offers a solution for the problem of structure and agency in sociological theory by developing a new pair of fundamental concepts: metric and nonmetric. Nonmetric forms, arising in a crowd made out of innumerable individuals, correspond to social groups that divide the many individuals in the crowd into insiders and outsiders. Metric forms correspond to congested zones like traffic jams on a highway: individuals are constantly entering and leaving these zones so that they continue to exist, even though the individuals passing through them change. Building from these concepts, we can understand “agency” as a requirement for group identity and group membership, thus associating it with nonmetric forms, and “structure” as a building-up effect following the accumulation of metric forms. This reveals the contradiction between structure and agency to be a case of forced perspective, leaving us victim to an optical illusion.

Publication Year: 2019
Imprint: Springer International Publishing

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