Coming to Terms with the Complementarity of Agent and Structure
Author: THEO P.C.M. JOCHOMS and MARK R. RUTGERS
Published in PAQ, Vol. 29 No. 4
This article questions how to conceptualize the relation
between different ontologies in the social sciences. Giddens
Structuration Theory is analyzed as an example of an unifying theory
linking ©agent© and ©structure© ontologies. The concept of interaction is
used to pinpoint Giddens notion of the complementarity of these two.
The resulting abstract unification does, however, not result in a unified
social analysis. Rather it implies that we need to ©bracket© the one or the
other approach in empirical observation. This raises the question: What
is complementarity? In this article it is argued the notion of
complementarity as developed in quantum theory (Q-complementarity)
applies to the case at hand. Q-complementarity does not refer to the
possible simultaneous attribution of characteristics, but establishes the
validity of both attributes for describing reality depending on the
circumstances of observation.
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