Conceptualising constraint: Mouzelis, Archer and the concept of social structure


Journal Article

This paper outlines and evaluates recent contributions by Nicos Mouzelis and Margaret Archer to the structure-agency debate. Mouzelis offers an internal reconstruction of Giddens's structuration theory; Archer an external alternative. I show that, although representing an advance on Giddens's position, Mouzelis's account fails because he relies on the former's definition of structure as comprising rules and resources. I then examine Archer's solution to the problem. I argue that her definition of activity-dependence makes her account of the relationship between agents and structures unclear. I outline an alternative account in terms of supervenience, and argue that it contains the minimum ontological claim necessary for a realist understanding of the structure-agent relationship.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Healy, K

Published Date

  • January 1, 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 32 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 509 - 522

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0038-0385

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0038038598032003006

Citation Source

  • Scopus