The first section of the work provides a concise critical analysis of some leading schools of thought in social philosophy, giving particular attention to phenomenology, ethnomethodology and Wittgensteinian thought. Giddens concentrates primarily upon the implications of these various perspectives for an account of human action and its intelligibility. An `action approach' on its own, however, will not do; in human social life, action and structure presuppose one another. The author therefore moves on to provide a series of concepts relevant to understanding the production and reproduction of society. The book concludes with a succinct statement of some `new rules of sociological method'.
Representing the first, and most trenchant, exposition of the principles of structuration theory, this edition also contains a substantial new Introduction in which Giddens replies to some of the more persistent criticisms made of the original version and also addresses some important issues originally discussed only in a cursory way.
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