Structural-Functionalism And Practice Theory

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In this paper I am going to present a debate between two approaches developed in the course of the 90s: structural-functionalism and practice theory. What I am trying to grasp is whether these two approaches are similar and/or different, but especially understanding how they both address the study of socio-cultural systems as a whole on one hand, and the study of individual subjectivities on the other. From the names and brief descriptions of these two approaches one is drove to think that structural-functionalism, which focuses on the study of the structures in society understood as the continuing arrangements of persons in relationships defined or controlled by institutions (Radcliffe-Brown 2013:182), is concerned most on studying socio-cultural system as a whole, while practice theory, which focuses on people’s capacity to make and transform the world in which they live, is more about the study of individual subjectivities. But the relation of these two approaches is actually more complicated than that. Let’s see why. 1. The Study of Socio-Cultural Systems as a Whole 1.1 According to Structural-Functionalism Structural-Functionalism was developed in the early twentieth century and Radcliffe-Brown is considered its founding father. He sought to develop a theory distant from the diachronic description typical of evolutionism, understood as an account of changes in societies in the course of history. In order to do so he promoted a synchronic description “in which the
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