Pierre Bourdieu Analysis

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Anthony Giddens and Pierre Bourdieu are two famed synthetic sociological theorists whose primary work revolved around solving the issue of structure versus agency. The sociological question of structure versus agency is a question that revolves around how structure and agency influence and shape human action and social life in general. Structure, in sociological terms, is defined as things outside of human nature such class or education level that to a certain degree shape human action. Agency, in sociological terms, is defined as an individual’s ability to act freely and not be influenced by structural forces. However, even though both Giddens and Bourdieu try to answer the question of structure versus agency, they both have different …show more content…
The primary issue with Bourdieu’s solution to the structure versus agency question is that in his theory of practice, he severely minimizes and limits the power of agency that an individual has even though he is a synthetic theorist. An example of this can be found in his concept of habitus, which is an internalized structure of an external structure (Bourdieu 53-65). This basically means that habitus is a structure that predisposes how a people will act in the future. However, it must be acknowledged that Bourdieu does mention that even though habitus predisposes an individual to act certain way it does not determine whether or not an individual actually acts that way. However, even with that slim allowance of agency his theory of practice still heavily implies that social structure is what determines social action and behavior for the rest of an individual’s life. The best solution to the issue of structure versus agency can be found in Giddens The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration. The reason that Giddens analysis of the structure versus agency is the best solution is that Giddens acknowledges the duality of structure (Giddens 1-37). The duality of structures basically means that social structures are both enabling and constraining …show more content…
Anthony Giddens and Pierre Bourdieu are two synthetic sociological theorists that tried to solve the issue of structure versus agency. Giddens and Bourdieu have two different ways of addressing this issue. Bourdieu addressed the issue through his theory of practice and concepts of habitus, capital and field. In his theory he tries to synthesis the concepts of agency versus structure but ultimately fails because in his theory it seems that structure is seen as the more influential force. Giddens on the other hand addressed the issue through his theory of structuration, which claimed that structures should be seen as the medium and outcome. Giddens also argued of structures being both enabling and constraining. Giddens saw the issue of structure versus agency as being dual natured rather than dichotomous, which is why he was more successful in resolving the issue of structure versus

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