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CONCEPTUALISING CONSTRAINT: MOUZELIS, ARCHER AND THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 1998

KIERAN HEALY
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, 2-N-2 Green Hall, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08544-1010
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Abstract

This paper outlines and evaluates recent contributions by Nicos Mouzelis and Margaret Archer to the structure–agency debate. Mouzelis offers an internal reconstruction of Giddens’s structuration theory; Archer an external alternative. I show that, although representing an advance on Giddens’s position, Mouzelis’s account fails because he relies on the former’s definition of structure as comprising rules and resources. I then examine Archer’s solution to the problem. I argue that her definition of activity-dependence makes her account of the relationship between agents and structures unclear. I outline an alternative account in terms of supervenience, and argue that it contains the minimum ontological claim necessary for a realist understanding of the structure–agent relationship.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1998 BSA Publications Ltd

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CONCEPTUALISING CONSTRAINT: MOUZELIS, ARCHER AND THE CONCEPT OF SOCIAL STRUCTURE
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