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Structuration Theory

  • By: Alan G. Phipps
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Structuration theory has been a popular conceptual framework for studying social and spatial behavior since the 1980s, when it was initiated by the famed British sociologist Anthony Giddens. Geographers and planners with their own substantive theories about human behaviors have been able to think of the structures enabling or constraining those behaviors and, correspondingly, the behaviors that manifest those structures. This entry reviews the geographical and planning applications of the theory, after introducing structurationist thinking with an example.

Essentials

Structuration theory essentially surmounted the long-standing division in the social sciences between “micro” approaches, which focused on the behavior of individual human beings (e.g., the humanistic schools of thought), and “macro” approaches, which emphasized social structures and relations at the expense of an understanding of the human subject ...

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