Critical Foundations — Structuration and System Transformation
To fully understand the politics of Anthony Giddens, we need to begin by looking at work that preceded his overtly political contributions. The Third Way (1998a) is most evidently of a programmatic nature, and even The Consequences of Modernity (1990) and Modernity and Self-identity (1991a) have clear political implications, which will be the focus in subsequent chapters. But these later texts have been the subject of much critical literature, and there are many ways of interpreting their political salience. In order to be able to contextualize Giddens’ political writings, we can look to his earlier contributions. Structuration theory and his critique of historical materialism give us a perspective on his approach to politics at a conceptual level. Here we can ascertain his deeper sociological outlook: how he treats power, constraint and emancipation; how societies can change; and how sociological work relates to such changes.
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