Welcome to the Web site for Sociology, Eighth Edition by Anthony Giddens and Philip W. Sutton. This Web site gives you access to the rich tools and resources. Anthony Giddens is one of the most famous and influential sociologists of recent decades. Largely credited with the concept of the 'Third Way', he conti. Anthony Giddens: Social Theory and Modern Sociology. Oxford: Polity Press, pp. Sociology's fortunes may be in decline, social theory—its intellectual.
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Biography[ edit ] Giddens was born and raised in Edmonton, London and grew up in a lower-middle-class family, son of a clerk with London Transport. He attended Minchenden School. Giddens received his undergraduate academic degree in joint sociology and psychology at the University of Hull in , followed by a master's degree at the London School of Economics. In , Giddens started working at the University of Leicester where he taught social psychology. At Leicester, considered to be one of the seedbeds of British sociology, he met Norbert Elias and began to work on his own theoretical position.
Theories and Perspectives in Sociology 4. Globalization and the Changing World 5. The Environment 6.
Cities and Urban Life 7. Social Interaction and Everyday Life 8. The Life-Course 9. Families and Intimate Relationships Health, Illness and Disability Stratification and Class Poverty, Social Exclusion and Welfare Global Inequality Sexuality and Gender Religion The Media At the same time, this micro-level change cannot be explained only by looking at the individual level as people did not spontaneously change their minds about how to live and neither can we assume they were directed to do so by social institutions and the state.
On a macro scale, one of the state and social organisations like multinational capitalist corporations , consider the example of globalisation which offers vast new opportunities for investment and development, but crises—like the Asian financial crisis —can affect the entire world, spreading far outside the local setting in which they first developed and last but not least directly influences individuals.
A serious explanation of such issues must lie somewhere within the network of macro and micro forces. These levels should not be treated as unconnected and in fact they have significant relation to one another.
Social relationships and visible sexuality micro-level change are related to the decline of religion and the rise of rationality macro-level change , but with changes in the laws relating to marriage and sexuality macro as well, change caused by different practices and changing attitudes on the level of everyday lives micro. Practices and attitudes in turn can be affected by social movements for example, women's liberation and egalitarianism , a macro-scale phenomena.
However, the movements usually grow out of everyday life grievances—a micro-scale phenomenon. The media do not merely reflect the social world yet also actively shape it, being central to modern reflexivity. So the media in modernity offers possibilities and celebrates diversity, but also offers narrow interpretations of certain roles or lifestyles — depending where you look.
Romanticism , the 18th and 19th century European macro-level cultural movement is responsible for the emergence of the novel—a relatively early form of mass media. The growing literacy and popularity of novels fed back into the mainstream lifestyle and the romance novel proliferated the stories of ideal romantic life narratives on a micro-level, giving the romantic love an important and recognized role in the marriage-type relationship.
Consider also the transformation of intimacy. Giddens asserts that intimate social relationships have become democratised so that the bond between partners—even within a marriage—has little to do with external laws, regulations or social expectations, but instead it is based on the internal understanding between two people—a trusting bond based on emotional communication.
Where such a bond ceases to exist, modern society is generally happy for the relationship to be dissolved.
Thus, we have "a democracy of the emotions in everyday life" Runaway World, There are many societies, cultures and contexts in which it remains far from reality—where sexual oppression is an everyday phenomenon. In The Transformation of Intimacy, Giddens introduces the notion of plastic sexuality —sexuality freed from an intrinsic connection with reproduction and hence open to innovation and experimentation.
These changes are part and parcel of wider transformations affecting the self and self-identity. Inevitably, Giddens concludes that all social change stems from a mixture of micro- and macro-level forces. Self-identity[ edit ] Giddens says that in the post-traditional order self-identity is reflexive. It is not a quality of a moment, but instead an account of a person's life.
The individual's biography, if she is to maintain regular interaction with others in the day-to-day world, cannot be wholly fictive. It must continually integrate events which occur in the external world, and sort them into the ongoing 'story' about the self. At the same time, we are faced with dangers related to unintended consequences of our actions and by our reliance on the knowledge of experts.
We create, maintain and revise a set of biographical narratives, social roles and lifestyles —the story of who we are and how we came to be where we are now.
We are increasingly free to choose what we want to do and who we want to be, although Giddens contends that wealth gives access to more options. However, increased choice can be both liberating and troubling. Liberating in the sense of increasing the likelihood of one's self-fulfilment and troubling in form of increased emotional stress and time needed to analyse the available choices and minimise risk of which we are increasingly aware, or what Giddens sums up as the manufacturing uncertainty.
While in earlier, traditional societies we would be provided with that narrative and social role, in the post-traditional society we are usually forced to create one ourselves. How to act? Who to be?
These are focal questions for everyone living in circumstances of late modernity — and ones which, on some level or another, all of us answer, either discursively or through day-to-day social behaviour. Giddens agrees that there are very specific changes that mark our current era.
However, he argues that it is not a post-modern era, but instead it is just a "radicalised modernity era"  similar to Zygmunt Bauman 's concept of liquid modernity , produced by the extension of the same social forces that shaped the previous age. Nonetheless, Giddens differentiates between pre-modern, modern and late or high modern societies and does not dispute that important changes have occurred but takes a neutral stance towards those changes, saying that it offers both unprecedented opportunities and unparalleled dangers.
He also stresses that we have not really gone beyond modernity as it is just a developed, detraditionalised , radicalised late modernity. Thus, the phenomena that some have called postmodern are to Giddens nothing more than the most extreme instances of a developed modernity. Giddens concentrates on a contrast between traditional pre-modern culture and post-traditional modern culture.
In traditional societies, individual actions need not be extensively thought about because available choices are already determined by the customs, traditions and so on. Society is more reflexive and aware, something Giddens is fascinated with, illustrating it with examples ranging from state governance to intimate relationships.
In pre-modern societies, space was the area in which one moved and time was the experience one had while moving. In modern societies, the social space is no longer confined by the boundaries set by the space in which one moves. One can now imagine what other spaces look like even if he has never been there. In this regard, Giddens talks about virtual space and virtual time. Another distinctive property of modernity lies in the field of knowledge.
In pre-modern societies, it was the elders who possessed the knowledge as they were definable in time and space.
In modern societies, we must rely on expert systems. These are not present in time and space, but we must trust them. Even if we trust them, we know that something could go wrong as there is always a risk we have to take. Even the technologies which we use and which transform constraints into means hold risks. Consequently, there is always a heightened sense of uncertainty in contemporary societies. It is also in this regard that Giddens uses the image of a juggernaut as modernity is said to be like an unsteerable juggernaut travelling through space.
Humanity tries to steer it, but as long as the modern institutions with all their uncertainty endure, then we will never be able to influence its course.
The uncertainty can be managed by reembedding the expert-systems into the structures which we are accustomed to.
Another characteristic is enhanced reflexivity, both at the level of individuals and at the level of institutions. The latter requires an explanation as in modern institutions there is always a component which studies the institutions themselves for the purpose of enhancing its effectiveness. This enhanced reflexivity was enabled as language became increasingly abstract with the transition from pre-modern to modern societies, becoming institutionalised into universities.
It is also in this regard that Giddens talks about double hermeneutica as every action has two interpretations. One is from the actor himself, the other of the investigator who tries to give meaning to the action he is observing. However, the actor who performs the action can get to know the interpretation of the investigator and therefore change his own interpretation, or his further line of action.
According to Giddens,[ citation needed ] this is the reason that positive science is never possible in the social sciences as every time an investigator tries to identify causal sequences of action, the actors can change their further line of action. However, the problem is that conflicting viewpoints in social science result in a disinterest of the people.
For example, when scientists do not agree about the greenhouse effect , people would withdraw from that arena and deny that there is a problem. Therefore, the more the sciences expand, the more uncertainty there is in the modern society. In this regard, the juggernaut gets even more steerless as Giddens states: While emancipatory politics is a politics of life chances, life politics is a politics of lifestyle.
Life politics is the politics of a reflexively mobilised order — the system of late modernity — which, on an individual and collective level, has radically altered the existential parameters of social activity. It is a politics of self-actualisation in a reflexively ordered environment, where that reflexivity links self and body to systems of global scope.
There are no universal stages, or periodisation, of social development, these being ruled out by intersocietal systems and "time-space edges" the ever-presence of exogenous variables as well as by human agency and the inherent historicity of societies. Societies do not have needs other than those of individuals, therefore notions such as adaptation cannot properly be applied to them.
Pre-capitalist societies are class-divided, but only with capitalism there are class societies in which there is endemic class conflict, the separation of the political and economic spheres, property freely alienable as capital and "free" labour and labour markets.
While class conflict is integral to capitalist society, there is no teleology that guarantees the emergence of the working class as the universal class and no ontology that justifies denial of the multiple bases of modern society represented by capitalism, industrialism , bureaucratisation , surveillance and industrialisation of warfare. Sociology, as a subject pre-eminently with modernity, addresses a reflexive reality.
See also: Third Way In the age of late and reflexive modernity and post-scarcity economy , the political science is being transformed. Giddens notes that there is a possibility that "life politics" the politics of self-actualisation may become more visible than "emancipatory politics" the politics of inequality ; that new social movements may lead to more social change than political parties; and that the reflexive project of the self and changes in gender and sexual relations may lead the way via the "democratisation of democracy" to a new era of Habermasian "dialogic democracy" in which differences are settled and practices ordered through discourse rather than violence or the commands of authority.
Giddens moves away from explaining how things are to the more demanding attempt of advocacy about how they ought to be. In Beyond Left and Right , Giddens criticises market socialism and constructs a six-point framework for a reconstituted radical politics :  Recognise the centrality of life politics. Accept that active trust implies generative politics.