Structure Vs Action?


During my Sociology at A-Level and later on for my Masters in Political Science, I studied both Structure and Agency (or Action) theories.

Structuralists would include Marxists, Feminists, Critical Race Theorists emphasise how the structures in society form, how ideas and rules are made normative and how this results in bias and discrimination towards certain groups. However, it is also the case that by focusing only on gender, for example, one can miss other structural elements that affect individuals – e.g. working hours. A culture of long working hours is not sexist per se but it can and does exclude women with children all the same.

These theories are best when explaining systematic biases within systems and why certain divisions exist as well as the ideas that emerge from them to maintain systems. For example, the use of stereotyping to impact on our beliefs about certain groups of people and…

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