Tag Archives: social theory

Bourdieu’s Structuration Theory

Bourdieu didn’t like the label ‘social theorist’ because he insisted that there was a fundamentally important relationship between empirical data, research methods and ‘theory’. He was not interested in making grand theoretical claims, but rather was engaged in examining particular … Continue reading

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Structuration Theory – A Summary

From a structurationist perspective, a social theory must explain both social reproduction (social order being reproduced over time by people continuing to act in ways inherited from the past) and social transformation (how social order is changed by people, intentionally … Continue reading

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Modernism and Postmodernism – What’s the Difference?

Modernism and Postmodernism – What’s the difference? The table below is taken from David Harvey’s Condition of Postmodernity (in turn taken from Hassan 1985). Harvey suggests that its a useful tool which helps us to see how postmodernity is, in … Continue reading

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Zygmunt Bauman’s Consuming Life (2007) – A Summary of Chapter One

A summary of Zygmunt Bauman’s Consuming Life (2007) – Chapter One I use paraphrasing heavily below, so a lot of this is Bauman’s own words, just cut down a lot and also simplified in places. Love the guy’s literary style … Continue reading

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Stuff by Daniel Miller – A Summary

A summary of Stuff by the anthropologist Daniel Miller The premise of this book is that things make people as much as people make things. Following Bordieu, Miller argues that individuals learn to become members of society, not through formal … Continue reading

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Sociological Theories of Consumerism and Consumption

Many of us spend a lot of time thinking about the things we might consume, and how we might consume them, and we do this not only as individuals, but as friends, partners, and families, and so intensely do we … Continue reading

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Post and Late Modern Perspectives on Society and Identity

This is intended to be an uber-brief summary, for fuller accounts please see other relevant posts.  The postmodern view of society  Globalisation destablises social structures Consumer culture floats free from other institutions The media and hyperreality are important There is much … Continue reading

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Althusser’s Scientific Marxism

While humanistic Marxists see humans as creative beings, able to make history through their conscious actions, for structuralist Marxists, it is social structures that shape human action, and we should be researching structures not individuals. The most important structural Marxist … Continue reading

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Gramsci’s Humanist Marxism

Gramsci (1891-1937) was the first leader of the Italian Communist Party during the 20s. He introduced the concept of hegemony or ideological and moral leadership of society, to explain how the ruling class maintains its position and argued that the … Continue reading

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Robert Merton’s Internal Critique of Functionalism

Criticisms of Parson’s systems theory have come from both outside and inside Functionalist. Within Functionalism, the most significant criticisms come from Robert K. Merton (1968). He criticises three key assumptions of Parsons. Indispensability – Parsons assumes that everything in society … Continue reading

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