In Defence of Social Structure

Outhwaite, William (2001) In Defence of Social Structure. Studies in Social and Political Thought, 4. pp. 3-15.

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Who is attacking it, and why? I am not concerned here with the status of particular putative social structures, such as the class structures which are taken to be fundamental determinants of social processes in many versions of Marxism, but with a more abstract question: that of the possible existence and causal efficacy of anything that might be called a social structure. This question is therefore located on the borderline between social theory and metatheory, or in Roy Bhaskar’s terms (Bhaskar 1975) between a scientific ontology, which asserts the existence of a particular entity or class of entities (subatomic particles, memes, social classes or whatever) and a philosophical ontology (a general doctrine such as materialism or idealism).

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
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Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:17
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2012 10:41
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