Anthony Giddens: The Last Modernist by Stjepan Mestrovic

By Stjepan Mestrovic

Anthony Giddens is arguably the world's major sociologist. during this arguable contribution to the Giddens debate, Stjepan Mestrovic takes up and criticizes the most important issues of his paintings - really the idea that of 'high modernity' instead of 'postmodernity' and his tried building of a 'synthetic' culture in line with human business enterprise and constitution. trying out Giddens' theories opposed to what's taking place within the genuine global from genocide in Africa to close secession in Quebec, Mestrovic discerns within the development of man-made traditions no longer the promise of freedom held out by way of Giddens yet really the ominous strength for brand spanking new varieties of totalitarian regulate.

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Extra resources for Anthony Giddens: The Last Modernist

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At his most critical, Bernstein calls on Giddens to clarify some aspects of his theory, but does not challenge it. : 34). : 36). Bauman also notes parallels between Giddens’s structuration theory and Norbert Elias’s figuration theory, but that is hardly surprising given that neither thinker is interested in the non-civilizing aspects of Western civilization, although it suggests, again, that Giddens may not be as original a thinker as some of his followers assume. Like most of the other authors in this collection, or Giddens’s critics in general, Bauman mainly summarizes and restates Giddens’s position.

Nicky Gregson contends that structuration theory is as irrelevant for empirical work as Parsonian theory. Linda Murgatroyd’s feminist critique of Giddens is devastating. These three chapters sound the two most discordant notes in this collection and qualify as serious critiques of Giddens. In the concluding chapter, Giddens replies to these critics, and basically restates his positions. : 253). That seems to be, for Giddens, a typically evasive and not very helpful reply. In reply to Bauman, Giddens writes: As Bauman rightly points out, one of my concerns in social theory has been to provide an account of human agency which recognizes that human 34 ANTHONY GIDDENS: THE LAST MODERNIST beings are purposive actors, who virtually all the time know what they are doing (under some description) and why.

If Giddens were correct and Riesman were wrong, there would be no way to explain the power and efficacy of mass advertisements, group psychology, political demagoguery, and nationalism to systematically and frequently rob human agents of their capacity for reflection. Of course, George Orwell’s ([1937] 1958) writings crystallize Riesman’s insight, but Giddens writes as if Orwell never existed. In addition, I should note again that Riesman (1950) implies a continuity flowing from modern to traditional societies with his scheme of how tradition-directed, inner-directed, and other-directed social characters overlap even as societies tend toward other-directedness.

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