Structure, Agency and the Sociology of Education: rescuing analytical dualism

British Journal of Sociology of Education 20 (1):5-21 (1999)
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Theorising the interplay of structure and agency is the quintessential focus of sociological endeavour. This paper aims to be part of that continuing endeavour, arguing for a stratified social ontology, where structure and agency are held to be irreducible to each other and causally efficacious, yet necessarily interdependent. It thus aims not to be part of that on-going journey in search of the 'ontological holy grail'. Instead, it offers a way of linking structure and agency which enables the practical education researcher concretely to examine their relative interplay over time. The methodological key to teasing out their relative interplay is held to be analytical dualism. It will be argued that such a methodological device is precluded by Giddens' structuration theory.

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Robert Archer
University of Warwick (PhD)


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