File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_1996/96-05-20.182, message 28

Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 14:38:48 +0100
Subject: Re: Agency: Porpora, Bhaskar, and Giddens

>Following, Porpora offers a critique of A. Giddens' structuration
>theory (along with Elster and Alexander), claiming that Giddens'
>theory is unable to uphold the objectivity of social structure.  For
>Giddens structure means "rules" and "resources", which Porpora
>asserts "has to do with norms and their relation to human agents"
>(Porpora 1987:135).  Wherefore, Giddens theory does not signify the
>relationship between objective social structure and human agency, but
>rather the relationship between *intersubjective* norms and human
>agency (ibid:136).

 Yes, reading through this structuration theory, I found it lacking in the
very regard mentioned above. That cannot be called a theory as yet, for it
is still on its epistemological stage. For instance, human agency for total
emanicipation  cannot be concretised in one poistion  since human agency
also implies on going human process which have been staticisied in
technologic and instrumentalisation of historical materialism. For instance
the estern world grasp environment problems better than the developing world.
Further more, capitalism has not end and a super structure which affects all
human societies today. Unless , it reaches it's equilibrium stages
relationship being  between objective social structures and human agency
will remain a milage.

>But I am wondering if Porpora's own *social-based-position agency* is
>intersubjective, rather than objective.  I would agree with Porpora
>that (human) relationships have (and should be given) ontological
>priority over *rules*, but *social-based-position* seems a bit
>relative.  That is how do we know what social-based-position should
>be given (ontological) priority [this seems to be a more general
>instance of the debate between Marxian class analysis, and
>feminists and race discrimination analysis].

I have not read Porpora but I have studied this issue. All human actions
should be left to swing as a free pendelum. Therefere intersubjectivity
antials taking society  as well  individual action into a kind of interplay.
That is what to me, I call intersubjectivity.{ De- individualising society}
It is more than neccessary, since the welfare systems which have granteed
the elianation of labour , through capitalistic conformity are giving way.
If total capitalistic expoliation comes to a stand still, stoping war,
children care, Old care, social conflict will require intersubjective
sensebilities and the de- capitalisation of society (de intrumentalisatuion
or re-socialisation). This is what I see as ontological in the above
analysis, the rediscovery of human society.

>Also, what might be the relation between social-based-position agency
>of Porpora and Bhaskar's "Reasons" which are "beliefs rooted in the
>practical interests of life" (PN2 1989:96).
>hans despain
>University of Utah

Bwanika Daniel,
=D6rebro university college



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