Customer Reviews: Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure, and Contradiction in Social Analysis
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on August 27, 2011
I recently revisited this book, which I had read long ago and was my first real introduction to arguments in contemporary social theory. I later read 'The Constitution of Society,'which is where one should go for Giddens's full statement of 'structuration theory,' but I'm especially fond of this work, which really is a collection of articles treating different concepts (power, structure, domination, contradiction, conflict, etc.). Giddens discusses a vast range of authors in an attempt to synthesize them into a coherent framework of social theory; sometimes, I think he indulges in displaying his erudition, but I think overall it's invigorating to see so many different figures brought into a synoptic vision. I don't think the synthesis always works - structuration theory impressed me less and less after thinking about it over the years - but this book felt like a series of fascinating puzzles that motivated me to read further into rather than turn away from sociology and social theory.
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on November 9, 2015
Giddens concepts in Structuration Theory have formed the backbone of my PhD research into Enterprise Systems, with this book being the doorway. Structuration Theory is not for the fainthearted and it took me a number of years to get my head fully into the concepts. I think part of the problem with understanding Structuration Theory is that most academics in this field simply get too grandiloquent when discussing the topic. My tip is to read this book, and be prepared to underline, notate, and dog ear pages on what you find as the key concepts. By the end of my thesis writing, my copy of this book had become a constant battered and battle-scarred companion. Highly recommended.
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on November 10, 2006
Giddens' approach to theory takes functional-structuralism and gives it a diachronic facelift. One of the greatest flaws in structuralism (sorry LS) is that it does not address problems related to social change in context of time and place. Giddens' attempts to do this, albeit with a few flaws, but all in all is a sound theoretical base from which to pull from when creating models.

Kind of repetitive at times, considering it is a collection of articles rather than one manuscript.
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on April 9, 2001
It seems unneccessarily complicated riddle to solve to us, sociologists. actually Giddens's writing style in this title is not that easy to grasp judging from sociological convention. and worse he cited too many names like Saussure, Hegel, Levi-Strauss, Heidegger, Husserl and even Derrida and Wittgenstein! those that makes readers wandering around jargons from philosophy. because this book stem from the controversial atmosphere of 70s when French Structuralism prevailed over intellectural map. Giddens wanted to conter their assertions. we can see he was right at 80s when structurism collapsed into trendy postmodernist jargons. Anyway I recommend to read this title if u read 'The Constitution of Society'. which title is not that hostile to reader like this title. but something lacks on it. You can find what miss in later masterpiece. This title is somewhat earlier endeavor to clarify his theory of structuration. so thorems were not that clearly founded. it makes it the way to hostility to readers but sometimes this kind of imperfection is more valuable to portray one's image of theory.
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