Anthony Giddens is widely recognized as one of the most important sociologists of the post-war period. This is the first full-length work to examine Giddens' social theory. It guides the reader through Giddens' early attempt to overcome the duality of structure and agency. He saw this duality as a major failing of social theories of modernity. His attempt to resolve the problem can be regarded as the key to the development of his brandmark `structuration theory'.
The book is the most complete and thorough assessment of Giddens' work currently available. It incorporates insights from many different perspectives into his theory of structuration, his work on the formation of cultural identities and the fate of the nation-state. This far-reaching work also touches on issues such as the transformation of modern intimacy and sexuality, and the fate of politics in late modern society.
Introduction PART ONE: THE RECONSTRUCTION OF SOCIAL THEORY The Legacy of Classical Sociological Theory New Rules of Sociological Method Positivism, Interpretive Sociology and Structuration Theory Structuration Theory Reconceptualizing Agency and Structure PART TWO: SOCIAL CHANGE AND MODERNITY The State, Capitalism and Social Change The Culture of Modernity From the Critique of Postmodernism to the Rise of the New Social Movements The Problems and Possibilities of a Democratic Public Life in Late Modern Societies Feminism, Sexuality and Self-Identity Conclusion