avatar
The Legitimacy of Order: A Critique of Giddens Social Theory of Consciousness


The Legitimacy of Order:

A Critique of Giddens Social Theory of Consciousness

 

Giddens takes Freud’s ‘psychic organisation of the individual’ and substitutes it for his own model of consciousness; ‘basic security system, practical and discursive consciousness’ (2004: 41). This essay will try to outline how Giddens takes these psycho-analytical terms and uses them on a social plane to further the stabilisation of order. It will also show how Giddens misplaces the schematics of consciousness to fit in with his already formed ideas on order in society; how the crisis of capitalism as a legitimate ordering of social relations forces Giddens into a reworking of consciousness.

 

This essay will pay particular attention to practical consciousness; half of the social personality, meaning the part of ourselves that we actively engage with – and are defined by – other agents. This essay will outline how Giddens uses practical consciousness to explain subservience to order and is an apology for man’s unthinking role in the modern world. It will also look to question the rationale put forward for the maintenance of our basic security systems; there are mechanisms that are used by agents to maintain ontological security, for example trust, and that they are the foundation of our ontological, individual trust in being. By engaging with Marx and his concept of alienation as the synthesis of the relations of production in a capitalist society, and supposing that there is a direct correlation between the ability to escape anxiety and perform as a social being and the agents objective reality; an agents situation in the power structure of capitalist order, that our basic security systems are challenged and found in this objective reality as well as ontological security.  

 

It is my supposition that Giddens concept of society is in fact only an apology for order. This essay will also attempt to outline how Sartre’s concept of freedom necessarily contradicts this maintenance of order as inevitable. It will also outline how Giddens concept of order is in fact a throw back to past conservative thought (Groarke: 2004) and that it is through the truth in the totality of Marx’s philosophy of our time (Sartre: 1960), and that we cannot yet say we have gone beyond this time, that Giddens social theory is in fact a reversion to old ideas of order and thus only an ideology of order.

 

Giddens separation of practical and discursive consciousness is directly influenced by the unconsciousness and its inability to ‘recall’ certain parts of itself and use it in the ‘reflexive monitoring of conduct’ (discursive consciousness) because of so called ‘negative bars’ (2004: 49). These ‘negative bars’ originate in two places of the agents consciousness. The first bar occurs, or is formed, before an infant is able to express itself linguistically. Giddens argues that it is at this stage that the infant is forming their basic security system and it is here that anxiety controlling techniques are ‘canalized’ and therefore ‘likely to remain ‘outside the bounds’ of discursive consciousness’ (2004: 49). The second bar is a more vague reference to other unconscious repressions on discursive thought, a notion he does not expand on. However there is enough in Giddens contention of what forms an agent’s practical consciousness to reveal the ever present willingness to be a compliant, unresponsive agent.

 

The idea that an agent’s level of practical consciousness is at least partly formed during the formative stage of an infant’s ontological security gives rise to the question of its inevitability to remain at this level. Is this then, as Giddens implies, a fixed state of consciousness? Can the level of consciousness by which an agent actively thinks thorough their actions not alter with increased knowledgeability of the agent’s situation within the social world? There is a clue to Giddens thought processes within the phrase ‘reflexive monitoring of conduct’ and specifically the word ‘conduct’. The implication of this kind of language is one of order, or the protection of an already formed order. The agent’s range of actions seems to already be defined by the present order and the ‘conduct’ of individual agents within this order, hence the ‘monitoring’ of an agent’s ‘conduct’. The word conduct also implies that the conduct is monitored by morals and perhaps laws based on morals. These morals and laws are of course defined within the system itself, with the specific aim of maintaining the present order, albeit in a superficially altered state.

 

Giddens seems to justify the present ‘order’ of society through the idea that practical consciousness is a stabilising force on our actions. This is what enables us to carry on through the milieu of daily life without challenging or breaking our ontological security. It is a safety net, a consciousness in which we do no actively think about what we are doing and what consequences our actions have on our own lives and the overall sketch of society. We do not consciously reflect within ourselves the point of our actions; we are constantly reconstructing an already existing order of social being and whatever externalities are created through this active yet unthinking experience.

 

Giddens contends that trust, or ‘basic anxiety-controlling mechanisms’ (2004), are the foundation of our ontological security and that through actions such as tact, etc, we maintain this security. It seems that through advocating the idea of order and ultimately conservative actions that agents engage in, Giddens misses the point that at centre of every social interaction in a capitalist society is the dialectic of the relations of production (1960). This is a false premise on which to lay social relations and thus ‘lies’ to agents in every interaction they engage in. This lie manifests itself in every capitalist interaction between agents and ultimately leads to alienation; the synthesis of the relations of production (2002). When a commodity is bought or produced by an agent he is lied to. The agent is given a price for their time or for the product they must buy and expected and indeed must pay if the agent wishes to survive. It is here that the lie manifests itself, in its perceived and distorted value (2000).

 

“Now, in the present phase of our history, productive forces have entered into conflict with relations of production. Creative work is alienated; man does not recognise himself in his own product, and his exhausting labor appears to him as a hostile force.” (1960)

 

It can now be seen that in the objective reality of society, that of capitalist society; that which Giddens has as his subject of analysis, is in fact based on a lie. The ‘relations of production’ that an agent enters into is a universal reality that is inescapable from and must be factored into any social theory of consciousness. The theory that the ‘relations of production’ in a capitalist society inevitably leads to alienation of the agent from his work shows that the universal reality of capitalist societies creates agents whose reality is that of alienation. Therefore those agents in a capitalist society who enter into relations of production, who then face alienation from the products forged in these relations, are universally entering into social relations that are breaking the basic security system created by those same relations. I am not here implying that an infant is entering into relations of production. However, the social world exterior to an infant’s reality is still the reality that they draw their notions of trust from.

 

Giddens uses the example of agents learning the notion of trust from parental figures and that it is trust that forms the elemental base of the basic security system of an agent (2004). When an agent, basic security system intact, is confronted with increased knowledgeability the trust that was the elemental form of the basic security system is henceforth put into question. Marx’s social theory on the relations of production does this; puts into question trust in the objective, abstract system of capitalism and perhaps in trust itself as a social tool used for the continuation of order. It is true than an agent maybe aware of the relations of production (and perhaps other theories that undermine the system of social organisation that Giddens comments on) but choose not to enter into a challenging or confrontational engagement with them. It  is the absence of the possibility in Giddens social theory that is most apparent. It is my contention that Giddens underplays the role of this antagonistic element within social worlds. The contention that there is an order is clear, what mists this notion is the apparent idea that this order is necessary. This Giddens does in his duality of structure; whereby the agent’s everyday action re-creates existing social conditions. This is not an antagonistic relationship but a relationship of contentedness. Giddens calls this the ‘dialect of control’ (1995: 138).

 

“Power within social systems which enjoy some continuity over time and space presumes regularised relations of autonomy and dependence between actors and collectivities in contexts of social interaction. But all forms of dependence offer some resources whereby those who are subordinate can influence the activities of their superiors. This is what I call the dialectic of control in social systems.” (2004: 41)

 

Through the protective screen of practical consciousness the agent does not see the pervasiveness of his actions. He does not see that every action on the level of practical consciousness supports and maintains his existence and the overall shape of society. Giddens recognises this but fails to appreciate the level that this concept contributes to maintenance of order and that it is only through our acquiescence to this order that enables its existence.

 

When an agent realises his reality in the social order of capitalism he too realises that he has no true objective security and therefore no security at all. If an agents basic security system is formed within the objective reality of the already existing order then it is fundamentally incorrect to presume that the quantifiable amount of action taken under the umbrella of practical consciousness is set or defined. When the objective truth is broken then so is the basic security system. An agent has no security if there is no objective security; being in-itself is not in question but the reality of a social order existing is and therefore so is the conduct of agents and their reflexive analysis of conduct.

 

Sartre argues that when an agent reaches ontological security (security of being in-itself) he then faces utter freedom. With this freedom the agent can choose their own level of consciousness. However our freedom is restricted by power (2001). An agent has freedom of being; freedom of choice within any given circumstance. The agent is confronted with the possibility of action but not the possibility to act outside the situation that he or she finds themself in. Sartre expresses the idea that freedom is realised when your power is restricted to a level whereby an agent realises that although any option of individual expression may not be an expression that relates to the individuals complete desire, it is never-the-less an expression of a choice between differing options. Sartre (1974) uses the example of Heinrich, a character from his play ‘Le Diable et Le Bon Dieu’, who’s choices of action are limited by his circumstances; either he betrays the poor, or he betrays the Church. Neither choice is desirable but it is a choice all the same.

 

This is an important distinction in the concept of freedom and must be made clear. An individual is free to operate within any given episodic encounter. They always have a choice and thus always have freedom to operate within a ‘small movement which makes of a totally conditioned social being someone who does not render back completely what his conditioning has given him’ (1974: 35). However the choices presented to an agent are limited by power structures such as societal order. Practical consciousness hides from the reality of freedom in everyday episodes. It is a consciousness that brings order to society but creates an uncertain being, a being unaware of the power structures he is operating his freedom within.

 

Steven Priest outlines Sartre’s thoughts on freedom and power thus;

 

“In our unreflective taken-for-granted living we do not think of the situation as constituted by our freedom. It is my acquiescence in authority, rather than any objective constraint, that determines my behaviour. Once I recognise my freedom to disobey, to rebel, I am deconditioned. The fixed cognitive contribution of acquiescence is stripped from the world and the possibility of my changing it is opened up.” (2001: 178)

 

 

Freedom is limited to choices of behaviour within the ultimately fragile notion of society. If, as Giddens describes, ‘the self is the agent as characterised by the agent’ (2004: 51), then an agent with the knowledge of a contradiction in their societal existence of action with other agents knows and is fundamentally shocked into the reality that the agent they formerly recognised in themselves as living in an ordered reality was a lie. 

 

If it can be said that Marx totalised our knowledge of the present system of order, it can be said that all that Giddens social theory really does is regurgitate old ideas of order that have entered into crisis and reposition them, enter into conversation with other similar ‘new’ or ‘modern’ theories and present them in a different way. However Sartre (1960) contends that as we have not moved on from the situation in which the system or society that Marx’s work came from, or gave birth to, we cannot yet go beyond Marx’s philosophy. ‘A philosophy remains effective only as long as the praxis which it produced remains alive – the praxis which maintains it in turn illuminates’ (1979: 32). The relations of production still exist so all philosophies since are in fact reversions to old, dead, philosophies. Giddens makes a similar mistake when he tries to revise the social problem of ‘how to maintain social solidarity in conjunction with the individual autonomy fostered by industrial societies’ (2004: 34). Groarke (2004) puts forward the idea that Giddens social theory is in fact a reworking of Durkheimian ideas on morals and solidarity. This reworking in practice only deepens the sense that Giddens sociological project is one of order.

 

It is through our realisation that we cannot go beyond Marx’s ideas on the relations of production, those relations which form our conversation with other agents and society itself, that we see that there is a confrontational element to the social world that has not been resolved. When an agent realises his external reality he then in turn internalises this reality only to later re-externalise it back into the social world, or, as Sartre puts it;

 

“…everything is objective. The individual interiorizes his social determinations: he interiorizes the relations of production, the family of his childhood, the contemporary institutions, and he then re-exteriorizes these in acts and options which necessarily refer us back to them.” (1974: 35)

 

It is through the externalities of everyday action that we affect others and reconstitute our own existence. This is not a duality of structure because the social order is given to us without choice. The relationship agents have with the social world is varied and dependent on individual levels of consciousness and knowledgeability. However, viewed through the ideas of Marx and Sartre, the social relationship agents enter into (independent of their will) (Hoffman 1975) does not become and end-all theory but an open-ended theory of praxis. Agents have the freedom to view Marx’s reality and act within their own particular conditions in either a compliant or a noncompliant way:  This is fundamentally a crisis in the legitimacy of the present social order. It is Giddens giving of prominence of practical consciousness as a device that maintains the ‘predictability of routine’ (2004: 50) over discursive consciousness that implies the re-structuring of societies as they are as a certainty. With the debasing of the inevitability of order the agent becomes aware that the social order they live in is not inevitable. In a sense Giddens is merely reflecting back the reality he sees in front of him; his field of expertise, as a social theorist, is modern day society. Where Giddens social theory fails is in its wholehearted acceptance of what he sees around him and the ever present need to explain the legitimacy of the order within his field of investigations.



 

Bibliography

 

Giddens, A. (1995) Modernity and Self­-Identity, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd (first published 1991)

 

Giddens, A. (2004) The Constitution of Society, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd (first published 1984)

 

Grourke, S. (2004) Autonomy and Tradition, Critical Review of International and Political Philosophy

 

Hoffman, J. (1975) Marxism and the Theory of Praxis, London: Lawrence & Wishart

 

Laing, R.D. and D.G. Cooper ‘eds’ (1979) Reason & Violence, Norwich: Fletcher & Son. (first published 1964)

 

Marx, K. (2000)  Das Kapital, USA: Regnery Publishing, Inc.

 

McIntosh, I. ‘eds’ (2002) Classical Sociological Theory, Edinburgh: Edinburgh   University Press (first published 1997)

 

Priest, S. ‘eds’ (2001) Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings, Abingdon Oxon: Routledge

 

Sartre, J-P. (1974) Between Existentialism and Marxism, London: NLB (first published in 1972)

 

Sartre, J-P. (1960) Critique of Dialectical Reason, http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/critic/sartre1.htm

 

 

 

Giddens takes Freud’s ‘psychic organisation of the individual’ and substitutes it for his own model of consciousness; ‘basic security system, practical and discursive consciousness’ (2004: 41). This essay will try to outline how Giddens takes these psycho-analytical terms and uses them on a social plane to further the stabilisation of order. It will also show how Giddens misplaces the schematics of consciousness to fit in with his already formed ideas on order in society; how the crisis of capitalism as a legitimate ordering of social relations forces Giddens into a reworking of consciousness.

 

This essay will pay particular attention to practical consciousness; half of the social personality, meaning the part of ourselves that we actively engage with – and are defined by – other agents. This essay will outline how Giddens uses practical consciousness to explain subservience to order and is an apology for man’s unthinking role in the modern world. It will also look to question the rationale put forward for the maintenance of our basic security systems; there are mechanisms that are used by agents to maintain ontological security, for example trust, and that they are the foundation of our ontological, individual trust in being. By engaging with Marx and his concept of alienation as the synthesis of the relations of production in a capitalist society, and supposing that there is a direct correlation between the ability to escape anxiety and perform as a social being and the agents objective reality; an agents situation in the power structure of capitalist order, that our basic security systems are challenged and found in this objective reality as well as ontological security.  

 

It is my supposition that Giddens concept of society is in fact only an apology for order. This essay will also attempt to outline how Sartre’s concept of freedom necessarily contradicts this maintenance of order as inevitable. It will also outline how Giddens concept of order is in fact a throw back to past conservative thought (Groarke: 2004) and that it is through the truth in the totality of Marx’s philosophy of our time (Sartre: 1960), and that we cannot yet say we have gone beyond this time, that Giddens social theory is in fact a reversion to old ideas of order and thus only an ideology of order.

 

Giddens separation of practical and discursive consciousness is directly influenced by the unconsciousness and its inability to ‘recall’ certain parts of itself and use it in the ‘reflexive monitoring of conduct’ (discursive consciousness) because of so called ‘negative bars’ (2004: 49). These ‘negative bars’ originate in two places of the agents consciousness. The first bar occurs, or is formed, before an infant is able to express itself linguistically. Giddens argues that it is at this stage that the infant is forming their basic security system and it is here that anxiety controlling techniques are ‘canalized’ and therefore ‘likely to remain ‘outside the bounds’ of discursive consciousness’ (2004: 49). The second bar is a more vague reference to other unconscious repressions on discursive thought, a notion he does not expand on. However there is enough in Giddens contention of what forms an agent’s practical consciousness to reveal the ever present willingness to be a compliant, unresponsive agent.

 

The idea that an agent’s level of practical consciousness is at least partly formed during the formative stage of an infant’s ontological security gives rise to the question of its inevitability to remain at this level. Is this then, as Giddens implies, a fixed state of consciousness? Can the level of consciousness by which an agent actively thinks thorough their actions not alter with increased knowledgeability of the agent’s situation within the social world? There is a clue to Giddens thought processes within the phrase ‘reflexive monitoring of conduct’ and specifically the word ‘conduct’. The implication of this kind of language is one of order, or the protection of an already formed order. The agent’s range of actions seems to already be defined by the present order and the ‘conduct’ of individual agents within this order, hence the ‘monitoring’ of an agent’s ‘conduct’. The word conduct also implies that the conduct is monitored by morals and perhaps laws based on morals. These morals and laws are of course defined within the system itself, with the specific aim of maintaining the present order, albeit in a superficially altered state.

 

Giddens seems to justify the present ‘order’ of society through the idea that practical consciousness is a stabilising force on our actions. This is what enables us to carry on through the milieu of daily life without challenging or breaking our ontological security. It is a safety net, a consciousness in which we do no actively think about what we are doing and what consequences our actions have on our own lives and the overall sketch of society. We do not consciously reflect within ourselves the point of our actions; we are constantly reconstructing an already existing order of social being and whatever externalities are created through this active yet unthinking experience.

 

Giddens contends that trust, or ‘basic anxiety-controlling mechanisms’ (2004), are the foundation of our ontological security and that through actions such as tact, etc, we maintain this security. It seems that through advocating the idea of order and ultimately conservative actions that agents engage in, Giddens misses the point that at centre of every social interaction in a capitalist society is the dialectic of the relations of production (1960). This is a false premise on which to lay social relations and thus ‘lies’ to agents in every interaction they engage in. This lie manifests itself in every capitalist interaction between agents and ultimately leads to alienation; the synthesis of the relations of production (2002). When a commodity is bought or produced by an agent he is lied to. The agent is given a price for their time or for the product they must buy and expected and indeed must pay if the agent wishes to survive. It is here that the lie manifests itself, in its perceived and distorted value (2000).

 

“Now, in the present phase of our history, productive forces have entered into conflict with relations of production. Creative work is alienated; man does not recognise himself in his own product, and his exhausting labor appears to him as a hostile force.” (1960)

 

It can now be seen that in the objective reality of society, that of capitalist society; that which Giddens has as his subject of analysis, is in fact based on a lie. The ‘relations of production’ that an agent enters into is a universal reality that is inescapable from and must be factored into any social theory of consciousness. The theory that the ‘relations of production’ in a capitalist society inevitably leads to alienation of the agent from his work shows that the universal reality of capitalist societies creates agents whose reality is that of alienation. Therefore those agents in a capitalist society who enter into relations of production, who then face alienation from the products forged in these relations, are universally entering into social relations that are breaking the basic security system created by those same relations. I am not here implying that an infant is entering into relations of production. However, the social world exterior to an infant’s reality is still the reality that they draw their notions of trust from.

 

Giddens uses the example of agents learning the notion of trust from parental figures and that it is trust that forms the elemental base of the basic security system of an agent (2004). When an agent, basic security system intact, is confronted with increased knowledgeability the trust that was the elemental form of the basic security system is henceforth put into question. Marx’s social theory on the relations of production does this; puts into question trust in the objective, abstract system of capitalism and perhaps in trust itself as a social tool used for the continuation of order. It is true than an agent maybe aware of the relations of production (and perhaps other theories that undermine the system of social organisation that Giddens comments on) but choose not to enter into a challenging or confrontational engagement with them. It  is the absence of the possibility in Giddens social theory that is most apparent. It is my contention that Giddens underplays the role of this antagonistic element within social worlds. The contention that there is an order is clear, what mists this notion is the apparent idea that this order is necessary. This Giddens does in his duality of structure; whereby the agent’s everyday action re-creates existing social conditions. This is not an antagonistic relationship but a relationship of contentedness. Giddens calls this the ‘dialect of control’ (1995: 138).

 

“Power within social systems which enjoy some continuity over time and space presumes regularised relations of autonomy and dependence between actors and collectivities in contexts of social interaction. But all forms of dependence offer some resources whereby those who are subordinate can influence the activities of their superiors. This is what I call the dialectic of control in social systems.” (2004: 41)

 

Through the protective screen of practical consciousness the agent does not see the pervasiveness of his actions. He does not see that every action on the level of practical consciousness supports and maintains his existence and the overall shape of society. Giddens recognises this but fails to appreciate the level that this concept contributes to maintenance of order and that it is only through our acquiescence to this order that enables its existence.

 

When an agent realises his reality in the social order of capitalism he too realises that he has no true objective security and therefore no security at all. If an agents basic security system is formed within the objective reality of the already existing order then it is fundamentally incorrect to presume that the quantifiable amount of action taken under the umbrella of practical consciousness is set or defined. When the objective truth is broken then so is the basic security system. An agent has no security if there is no objective security; being in-itself is not in question but the reality of a social order existing is and therefore so is the conduct of agents and their reflexive analysis of conduct.

 

Sartre argues that when an agent reaches ontological security (security of being in-itself) he then faces utter freedom. With this freedom the agent can choose their own level of consciousness. However our freedom is restricted by power (2001). An agent has freedom of being; freedom of choice within any given circumstance. The agent is confronted with the possibility of action but not the possibility to act outside the situation that he or she finds themself in. Sartre expresses the idea that freedom is realised when your power is restricted to a level whereby an agent realises that although any option of individual expression may not be an expression that relates to the individuals complete desire, it is never-the-less an expression of a choice between differing options. Sartre (1974) uses the example of Heinrich, a character from his play ‘Le Diable et Le Bon Dieu’, who’s choices of action are limited by his circumstances; either he betrays the poor, or he betrays the Church. Neither choice is desirable but it is a choice all the same.

 

This is an important distinction in the concept of freedom and must be made clear. An individual is free to operate within any given episodic encounter. They always have a choice and thus always have freedom to operate within a ‘small movement which makes of a totally conditioned social being someone who does not render back completely what his conditioning has given him’ (1974: 35). However the choices presented to an agent are limited by power structures such as societal order. Practical consciousness hides from the reality of freedom in everyday episodes. It is a consciousness that brings order to society but creates an uncertain being, a being unaware of the power structures he is operating his freedom within.

 

Steven Priest outlines Sartre’s thoughts on freedom and power thus;

 

“In our unreflective taken-for-granted living we do not think of the situation as constituted by our freedom. It is my acquiescence in authority, rather than any objective constraint, that determines my behaviour. Once I recognise my freedom to disobey, to rebel, I am deconditioned. The fixed cognitive contribution of acquiescence is stripped from the world and the possibility of my changing it is opened up.” (2001: 178)

 

 

Freedom is limited to choices of behaviour within the ultimately fragile notion of society. If, as Giddens describes, ‘the self is the agent as characterised by the agent’ (2004: 51), then an agent with the knowledge of a contradiction in their societal existence of action with other agents knows and is fundamentally shocked into the reality that the agent they formerly recognised in themselves as living in an ordered reality was a lie. 

 

If it can be said that Marx totalised our knowledge of the present system of order, it can be said that all that Giddens social theory really does is regurgitate old ideas of order that have entered into crisis and reposition them, enter into conversation with other similar ‘new’ or ‘modern’ theories and present them in a different way. However Sartre (1960) contends that as we have not moved on from the situation in which the system or society that Marx’s work came from, or gave birth to, we cannot yet go beyond Marx’s philosophy. ‘A philosophy remains effective only as long as the praxis which it produced remains alive – the praxis which maintains it in turn illuminates’ (1979: 32). The relations of production still exist so all philosophies since are in fact reversions to old, dead, philosophies. Giddens makes a similar mistake when he tries to revise the social problem of ‘how to maintain social solidarity in conjunction with the individual autonomy fostered by industrial societies’ (2004: 34). Groarke (2004) puts forward the idea that Giddens social theory is in fact a reworking of Durkheimian ideas on morals and solidarity. This reworking in practice only deepens the sense that Giddens sociological project is one of order.

 

It is through our realisation that we cannot go beyond Marx’s ideas on the relations of production, those relations which form our conversation with other agents and society itself, that we see that there is a confrontational element to the social world that has not been resolved. When an agent realises his external reality he then in turn internalises this reality only to later re-externalise it back into the social world, or, as Sartre puts it;

 

“…everything is objective. The individual interiorizes his social determinations: he interiorizes the relations of production, the family of his childhood, the contemporary institutions, and he then re-exteriorizes these in acts and options which necessarily refer us back to them.” (1974: 35)

 

It is through the externalities of everyday action that we affect others and reconstitute our own existence. This is not a duality of structure because the social order is given to us without choice. The relationship agents have with the social world is varied and dependent on individual levels of consciousness and knowledgeability. However, viewed through the ideas of Marx and Sartre, the social relationship agents enter into (independent of their will) (Hoffman 1975) does not become and end-all theory but an open-ended theory of praxis. Agents have the freedom to view Marx’s reality and act within their own particular conditions in either a compliant or a noncompliant way:  This is fundamentally a crisis in the legitimacy of the present social order. It is Giddens giving of prominence of practical consciousness as a device that maintains the ‘predictability of routine’ (2004: 50) over discursive consciousness that implies the re-structuring of societies as they are as a certainty. With the debasing of the inevitability of order the agent becomes aware that the social order they live in is not inevitable. In a sense Giddens is merely reflecting back the reality he sees in front of him; his field of expertise, as a social theorist, is modern day society. Where Giddens social theory fails is in its wholehearted acceptance of what he sees around him and the ever present need to explain the legitimacy of the order within his field of investigations.



 

Bibliography

 

Giddens, A. (1995) Modernity and Self­-Identity, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd (first published 1991)

 

Giddens, A. (2004) The Constitution of Society, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd (first published 1984)

 

Grourke, S. (2004) Autonomy and Tradition, Critical Review of International and Political Philosophy

 

Hoffman, J. (1975) Marxism and the Theory of Praxis, London: Lawrence & Wishart

 

Laing, R.D. and D.G. Cooper ‘eds’ (1979) Reason & Violence, Norwich: Fletcher & Son. (first published 1964)

 

Marx, K. (2000)  Das Kapital, USA: Regnery Publishing, Inc.

 

McIntosh, I. ‘eds’ (2002) Classical Sociological Theory, Edinburgh: Edinburgh   University Press (first published 1997)

 

Priest, S. ‘eds’ (2001) Jean-Paul Sartre: Basic Writings, Abingdon Oxon: Routledge

 

Sartre, J-P. (1974) Between Existentialism and Marxism, London: NLB (first published in 1972)

 

Sartre, J-P. (1960) Critique of Dialectical Reason, http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/critic/sartre1.htm

 

Leave a comment