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The implications of structuration theory for education.

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This dissertation is concerned with the implications of the theory of structuration for education. Central to the theory of structuration, is the idea of structuring social relations across time-space, in virtue of the duality of structure. Anthony Giddens, who coined the term 'structuration', acknowledges the call for a decentering of the subject but reaffirms that this does not imply the evaporation of subjectivity into an "empty universe of signs". Rather, social practices, "biting into time and space", are considered to be at the root of the constitution of both subject and social object. However, the value of structuration theory lies in the fact that it helps to illuminate problems of educational research. The points of connection are to do with working out the logical implications of studying a 'subject matter' of which the researcher is already a part and with elucidating the substantiative connotations of the core notions of structure and action. The polarisation in thinking about education is only one symptom of the classic and fundamental tension in social theory between those explanations which stress structure and those stressing action, between deterministic and voluntaristic views of behaviour, between a concern with statics and one with dynamics, between man viewed as subject and man viewed as object. The theory of structuration has implications for education in that it has pointed to a possible resolution of this dualism. The oppositions of society and individual, determinism and voluntarism, structure and action and so on are dealt with by denying that they are in opposition. Social structures are both constituted by human agency and yet at the same time are the very medium of this constitution. In societal terms, actors, since they know how to behave, contribute through their actions to the continuous production and reproduction of the social structure of rules. Yet in every action there is the potential for actors to participate in changing the 'rules' or structure which they may know and realize in further action. In this way Giddens is able to deal with a recurrent difficulty in sociological theory accounting for both continuity and change.


Thesis (M.Ed.)-University of Natal, 1989.


Educational sociology., Sociology., Theses--Education.