Anthony Giddens is a very committed sociologist: he wants to change the world. He developed a new formal theory: structuration theory. A social theory that bridges the difference between macro and micro sociologists. Central focus is the idea of agency.
take on a new role in modernity, but they are still a crucial power
container. Giddens says that the classics (Durkheim, Marx, Weber) were
looking at the first shift to modernity. He found out that it is different
because of changes in four institutions: Capitalism, Industrialism,
Surveillance (the state), Military (the state). Market and politics
have become separated, The state surveys, and this is backed up by their
monopoly of violence (the military, in the end). All clusters are relevant at
the same time, the classics looked at only one cluster. Reflexive modernity
leads to time-space distantiation: social relations are stretched.
People are also disembedded: no longer naturally connected to society.
Globalisation brings some disruptions, but is not overall bad. Trust changes,
and politics become life politics. Trust takes a different form: symbols
(eco-labels) but also faceless commitments. It has to do with 1. Past
performance. 2. Technology used. 3. People involved. Thus, active trust
management is needed: at
access-points their doubts are reassured (see Goffman). He has also done work
on life politics: how should we live, but also connecting the personal
and the planetary.
Giddens Distinguishes between emancipatory
politics and life politics. The former is about overcoming
tradition, and breaking illegitimate domination: you look at other people. It
can take three forms: Exploitation, Inequalities and Oppression, though there
is a lot of overlap. The answers are more clear: Justice, Equality and Participation
are necessary. Emancipatory politics is about moving away from something, but
it doesn’t state where you’re going. Life politics is a politics of the self. It is about the
choices you have after being emancipated. These individual choices affect politics:
if all women work society can change. It is related to four themes. 1. Self-identity.
Your identity involves actions, and to assert your identity you need to
work on your body (e.g. to be healthy you have to eat healthy). 2. Reproduction.
Because of new techniques, the definition of life is challenged. Biological
reproduction is now completely social. And sexuality is no longer related to
reproduction. 3. Globalisation. Choices of individual humans can have a
large effect on the planet’s ecology. These new global problems require a
global coordination, but this is hard as these global problems seem far removed
from individuals. 4. Existence. Ehh? Individuals should be aware of the
questions these themes raise, and they should try to answer them.
see: Double Hermeneutics