File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0302, message 12

Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 21:20:46 -0000
Subject: Re: BHA: RE: Help on structuralism


I agree that the work of Jessop is a good example of a certain
flexible structuralism, particularly because of his
"strategical-relational" approach.  In my opinion this approach
consider the posibilities of social strategies in competition and so a
dynamic structuralism.

However, your comments precisely establish a strong difference between
what I called (not quite elegant of course) the "old structuralism"

Thanks very much for your comments

Luis Riffo
Department of Territorial Statistics
National Statistics Institute
Santiago, Chile

> Luis,
> Here's my shot at a brief reply.
> 1. Although the "old marxist structuralism" has been characterized
> "static and rigid" (notably by Thompson), I think it's a bit of a
bum rap.
> Some of the most dynamic theoretical and empirical work over the
past two
> decades has its roots in Althusserian structuralism. See, for
> 	Lipietz, Alain. 1993. From Althusserianism to "Regulation Theory".
In The
> Althusserian Legacy, edited by M. Sprinker. 	London: Verso.
> Regulation theory, as you may know, can hardly be said to present a
> and rigid view" of capitalist economies. Regulation theory itself
has a
> close connection to CR. See:
> 	Jessop, Bob. 2001. Capitalism, the Regulation Approach, and
> Realism [Web Page]. Department of Sociology, 	Lancaster University,
10 May
> 2001. Available from
> 2. Nonetheless, CR differs from the older structuralism in many
ways. One is
> realism itself. Althusser emphasized "theoretical practice" and is
one of
> those most responsible for the "interpretive turn," social science's
> inward from a world outside narratives to the narratives themselves,
> ultimately postmodernism. CR, in contrast, insists on a reality
outside our
> narratives, making the important distinction between transitive and
> intransitive scientific objects. Second, Althusser just asserted his
> ontology, often justifying it with scholastic references to Marx. He
> for three structures: political, economic, ideological. CR only
argues for a
> depth ontology, delimiting the real, actual, and empirical, and it
does so
> by transcendental argument building from actually existing
> practice. CR is much more open to recognizing other structures, such
> gender relations. Third, and perhaps most important, CR allows for
> structures to be dynamic in multiple senses. They can have their own
> internal dynamics, arising from their structures and causal powers,
so that
> they change and "mutate" of their own accord. Since they exist in
> systems, they are always subject to modification caused by other
> Moreover, since humans are embedded in social structures, conscious
> action can transform them. Although Bhaskar and Archer criticize
Giddens for
> ignoring time and for failing to distinguish structure and agency
> adequately, Giddens ideas of double hermeneutics and the active
> (and change) of structure (structuration) nonetheless survive (or
> survive in principle) in CR. Fourth, CR respects Marx but doesn't
fawn at
> his every word and assume that something is so simply because the
great man
> said it. Fifth, whereas Althusserian structuralism saw the
structures as
> having inevitable effects, CR sees them merely as having causal
> that can be triggered, countered, or modified by other structures in
> systems. Sixth, whereas Althusser's brand of structuralism was
> holistic, treating everything as internally related (see: Ollman,
> 1976. Alienation : Marx's conception of man in capitalist society.
2d ed.
> Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press), CR is much more
> on the issue of holism and atomism. In other words, CR argues there
are real
> structures, but it sees them as possibly discrete and separate
rather than
> each being the condition of existence of the other.
> I'll be interested in what others say.
> 	Marsh Feldman
> 	The University of Rhode Island
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:
> > []On Behalf Of
> >
> > Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 4:32 PM
> > To:
> > Subject: BHA: Help on structuralism
> >
> >
> > Hi all
> >
> > Its clear to me that the focus of critical realism is on
> > mechanisms, causal powers and so on.
> >
> > Can anyone tell me what is the difference between this conception
> > the old marxist structuralism like Althusser? Because as far as I
> > understand, that kind of structuralism lead to a static and rigid
> > of society.
> >
> > Thanks
> >
> > Luis Riffo P.
> > Department of Territorial Statistics
> > National Statistics Institute
> > Santiago, Chile
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >      --- from list ---
> >
>      --- from list ---

     --- from list ---


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005