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July 11, 2012 / C H Thompson

Competing theoretical perspectives – social action approach

An alternative theory on the role of socialisation in the creation of culture and identity is a social action approach.

Using the puppet analogy, how might this differ to the structuralist approaches like Marxism and feminisim?

How does this clip differ from those people who subscribe to the structuralist approaches? There’s a clue in the title!

If you’re still unsure, watch the second clip and look for the common link between the two clips. How do they differ in principle?

Though the two clips fundamentally differ they both show the power of individuals to overcome obstacles which get in their way. Against all the odds the family buy a zoo. What might limit an person’s ability to purchase or run a zoo?

Against all the odds the guy survives by cutting his own arm off! Social action theory taps into the power of human agency. Social action is the capacity of people to do what they want irrespective of the social structures that might be seen as restricting them.

To understand what we’re saying here, we’ll go back to structuralist social theories. Make a list of the social structures which could limit what you can do with your lives so we can discuss the likelyhood of them influencing our lives. The next page will examine some of these influences in more detail.

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