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Functionalism Revisited: A practice based Functionalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Functionalism Revisited 20 human actions consist of enduring, regular patterns; and such regularity becomes the basis of institutional time (Giddens, 1984, pp. 35-36) -------------------------------- Figure 2 about here -------------------------------- Like Garfinkel, Giddens emphasizes tacit knowledge about how to go on (stock of knowledge, in Shutz’s term) in social situations. Using knowledge refers to one’s knowledgeability of drawing upon “rules and resources” of social order – structure, in Giddens’ term. What Giddens points out in his attempt to link between agency and structure is that it is the very use of knowledge in one’s ordinary life situation that contributes to the patterns of society, structure. Figure 2 illustrates the point. *c (start c) is what refers to structure (rules and resources); and is what an individual draws upon in his/her social practices with others (*a) The existence of rules and resources becomes only possible through the use of one’s accumulation of knowledge in interaction situations. Such rules and resources are ever transforming when interactions occur. Therefore, separation between the two (putting them in a causal relation) would not result in a plausible explanation of social life (duality of structure/agency). The term, structuration refers to this recursive moment of social agents’ producing (actions shape the structure) and reproducing (actions use the structure as a medium and reshape them) of social system. Therefore, a glance of social system is impossible without examining individual interactions. In this sense, Giddens’ concept about system integration differs from not only Garfinkel’s but also from the functionalists’ or structuralists’ viewpoints. However, as Archer raises her bow, Giddens’ recursion of structuration – the inseparability between action and structure – produces an analytic dilemma (Archer, 1995). The involvement of actions in social system does prevent us from seeing how social orders guide the individuals. Resolving the inseparability between action and structure requires a lengthy discussion of different perspectives, which I am not particularly interested in (see Archer, 1995). Rather, “regularity” or continuity calls upon an attention (Giddens, 1979, p.216). 3 Upon reading Giddens’ argument, one may find two things happening at the same time – a regular pattern of social life and social change. 4 Since it is impossible for both instances to happen simultaneously, Giddens point to a social agent’s ability “to do 3 Giddens prefers “continuity” to “persistency.” 4 Tucker (1998) also points out that Giddens recognizes two types of generalization of law-like behavior in social science – social conventions at a given culture, and unintended consequences of human behaviors.

Authors: Kim, Hyo.
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Functionalism Revisited 20
human actions consist of enduring, regular patterns; and such regularity becomes the basis of institutional
time (Giddens, 1984, pp. 35-36)
--------------------------------
Figure 2 about here
--------------------------------
Like Garfinkel, Giddens emphasizes tacit knowledge about how to go on (stock of knowledge, in
Shutz’s term) in social situations. Using knowledge refers to one’s knowledgeability of drawing upon
“rules and resources” of social order – structure, in Giddens’ term. What Giddens points out in his
attempt to link between agency and structure is that it is the very use of knowledge in one’s ordinary life
situation that contributes to the patterns of society, structure. Figure 2 illustrates the point. *c (start c) is
what refers to structure (rules and resources); and is what an individual draws upon in his/her social
practices with others (*a) The existence of rules and resources becomes only possible through the use of
one’s accumulation of knowledge in interaction situations. Such rules and resources are ever
transforming when interactions occur. Therefore, separation between the two (putting them in a causal
relation) would not result in a plausible explanation of social life (duality of structure/agency).
The term, structuration refers to this recursive moment of social agents’ producing (actions shape
the structure) and reproducing (actions use the structure as a medium and reshape them) of social system.
Therefore, a glance of social system is impossible without examining individual interactions. In this
sense, Giddens’ concept about system integration differs from not only Garfinkel’s but also from the
functionalists’ or structuralists’ viewpoints. However, as Archer raises her bow, Giddens’ recursion of
structuration – the inseparability between action and structure – produces an analytic dilemma (Archer,
1995). The involvement of actions in social system does prevent us from seeing how social orders guide
the individuals.
Resolving the inseparability between action and structure requires a lengthy discussion of different
perspectives, which I am not particularly interested in (see Archer, 1995). Rather, “regularity” or
continuity calls upon an attention (Giddens, 1979, p.216).
3
Upon reading Giddens’ argument, one may
find two things happening at the same time – a regular pattern of social life and social change.
4
Since it is
impossible for both instances to happen simultaneously, Giddens point to a social agent’s ability “to do
3
Giddens prefers “continuity” to “persistency.”
4
Tucker (1998) also points out that Giddens recognizes two types of generalization of law-like behavior
in social science – social conventions at a given culture, and unintended consequences of human
behaviors.


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