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The Undersocialised Conception of the Embodied Agent in Modern Sociology

Shilling, Chris (1997) The Undersocialised Conception of the Embodied Agent in Modern Sociology. Sociology, 31 (4). pp. 737-754. ISSN 0038-0385. (doi:10.1177/0038038597031004006) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0038038597031004006

Abstract

Sociological reconceptualisations of the structure/agency divide have motivated important theoretical advances in the discipline, and the development of `structuration theories' and `analytical dualism' has promoted fresh thought about dominant views of the human agent. These approaches have sought to release sociology from any residual reliance on the oversocialised conception of the individual that formed part of the legacy of Parsonian sociology. It is the argument of this paper, however, that while structuration theory and analytical dualism focus on the creative powers of human reflexivity, as part of their rejection of the `oversocialised agent', the theoretical weight they place on consciousness neglects the socially shaped somatic bases of action and structure, and results in an undersocialised view of the embodied agent. If the relationship between socialisation and agency needs analysing in terms of embodiment as much as in terms of the cognitive internalisation of norms and values, however, there are good reasons for structuration theory and analytical dualism rejecting attempts to ground subsequent notions of the embodied agent they may develop in dominant, static notions of the habitus. These minimise creativity and make it difficult to analyse social change. An important challenge for future reconceptualisations of the structure/agency divide, then, is to construct a sociology which recognises the significance for human agency of a socially shaped form of embodiment, yet which refuses to make the embodied actor a mere product of society.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0038038597031004006
Uncontrolled keywords: Agency, Analytical dualism, embodiment, socialisation, structuration theory.
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Sociology
Depositing User: Mita Mondal
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2014 11:56 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 11:55 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/38507 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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