Structure Agency Debate-Emile Durkheim

Topics: Sociology, Structure and agency, Police Pages: 4 (1190 words) Published: May 4, 2013
The structure-agency debate has raged on since the start of time. As the subject of sociology has progressed through the ages so many issues have arisen. One can only start understanding texts from a sociological point of view if we can understand the structure-agency debate. One example of those texts is taken from the book called The Dirty Work of Democracy written by Altbeker, A (2005:Extract from Chapter 4). The chapter chosen follows Captain Louis de Koster through working for the SAPS pre-apartheid and post-apartheid.

Main Section
Defining the Structure- Agency Debate
Structure as illustrated and defined by states the following, “the people in a society considered as a system organised by a characteristic pattern of relationships.” To my own understanding this basically means that a structure in this debate is where people in society originate from and what their fundamental values and understandings of what is accepted and what is not. A prime example of a structure is parents or the household in which you live. This is where most people are taught from birth about how to act in society and how to accept various other people from different walks in life. “Agents of socialisation are the persons, groups or institutions that teach us what we need to know in order to participate in society,” is how Kendall, D, (2013:46), describes what an agent is. I agree with the author because once you leave your home or structure, these agents are there to teach you the norms, values and ethos of the various cultures, races, ethnic groups of society that you need to know and learn to adopt and become accepted into society. Examples of agents are, but not ended at the following; schools, churches, sports clubs, social groups, peer groups and so on. The structure agency- debate has two sides. Some people choose one or the other while some people remain neutral. The first group are the structuralists and the...
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