A striking feature of the human condition is its dual, contradictory, inherently split character; on the one hand, autonomy and freedom; on the other, constraint and dependence on social structure. This volume addresses this central problem of the linkage between human action and social structure in sociological and social science theory. Contributions cover several different approaches to the agency-structure problematic, and represent the work of a number of leading international sociologists. Their efforts point to a reorientation of social theory, both on philosophical and methodological levels.
Part 1. Between Agency and Structure: An Overview of the Debate 1. Agency-Structure, Micro-Macro, Individualism-Holism-Relationism: A Metatheoretical Explanation of Theoretical Convergence between the United States and Europe George Ritzer and Pamela Gindoff 2. Evolving Focus on Human Agency in Contemporary Social Theory Piotr Sztompka Part 2. Divergent Perspectives on Human Agency in Classical and Contemporary Social Theory 3. The Double Representation of the Actor in Theoretical Tradition: Durkheim and Weber Elisa P. Reis 4. Marxism, Post-Marxism and the Actionist Turn in Social Theory Miguel A. Cainzos 5. Hermeneutics and the Theory of Social Action Franco Crespi 6. Away from Structuralism and the Return of the Actor: Paradigmatic and Theoretical Orientations in Contemporary French Sociology Francois Chazel Part 3. Dimensions of Agency and Structure: Toward a Theoretical Convergence 7. Postmodernism as Pseudohistory: Continuities in the Complexities of Social Action Craig Calhoun 8. Two Conceptions of Human Agency: Rational Choice Theory and the Social Theory of Action Tom R. Burns 9. Society as Social Becoming: Beyond Individualism and Collectivism Piotr Sztompka 1 0. Sociology as a Discipline of Disagreements and as a Paradigm of Competing Explanations: Culture, Structure and the Variability of Actors and Situations Göran Therborn