Agents, Structures and International Relations: Politics as Ontology

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Cambridge University Press, 2006年10月12日
The agent-structure problem is a much discussed issue in the field of international relations. In his comprehensive 2006 analysis of this problem, Colin Wight deconstructs the accounts of structure and agency embedded within differing IR theories and, on the basis of this analysis, explores the implications of ontology - the metaphysical study of existence and reality. Wight argues that there are many gaps in IR theory that can only be understood by focusing on the ontological differences that construct the theoretical landscape. By integrating the treatment of the agent-structure problem in IR theory with that in social theory, Wight makes a positive contribution to the problem as an issue of concern to the wider human sciences. At the most fundamental level politics is concerned with competing visions of how the world is and how it should be, thus politics is ontology.

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a science without positivism?
14
Positivism
15
to the development of a fundamentally different account of science
23
The habitus intersubjectivity rules places roles duties rights
50
from
62
3 The agentstructure problem in IR
90
reductionist or not?
91
agents or structures
99
Structure as relations of difference that constitute
131
Structure as rules and resources
137
When we scratch the surface of what we are told
155
some final comments
174
5 Agency
177
Agential stories
180
Epistemology
231
the
243

The agentstructure levelsofanalysis and
102
4 Structure
121
two traditions and five models
123
Structure as lawlike regularities that govern
129
Methodology
257
Social causation as an ontologically grounded
272
Methodology and the agentstructure relationship
279
8 Conclusion
290

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第 65 頁 - When reference is made in a sociological context to a 'state,' a 'nation,' a 'corporation,' a 'family,' or an 'army corps,' or to similar collectivities, what is meant is, on the contrary, only a certain kind of development of actual or possible social actions of individual persons.
第 133 頁 - Everything that has been said up to this point boils down to this: in language there are only differences. Even more important: a difference generally implies positive terms between which the difference is set up; but in language there are only differences without positive terms.
第 98 頁 - Whenever certain elements combine and thereby produce, by the fact of their combination, new phenomena, it is plain that these new phenomena reside not in the original elements but in the totality formed by their union.
第 134 頁 - The function of this center was not only to orient, balance, and organize the structure - one cannot in fact conceive of an unorganized structure - but above all to make sure that the organizing principle of the structure would limit what we might call the play of the structure.
第 69 頁 - According to the notion of the duality of structure, the structural properties of social systems are both medium and outcome of the practices they recursively organize.
第 66 頁 - Consequently, every time that a social phenomenon is directly explained by a psychological phenomenon, we may be sure that the explanation is false.
第 134 頁 - Nevertheless, up to the event which I wish to mark out and define, structure - or rather the structurality of structure - although it has always been at work, has always been neutralized or reduced, and this by a process of giving it a center or of referring it to a point of presence, a fixed origin.
第 53 頁 - ... conceptions of what they are doing in their activity ; (3) social structures, unlike natural structures, may be only relatively enduring (so that the tendencies they ground may not be universal in the sense of space-time...
第 238 頁 - For there is a massive central core of human thinking which has no history — or none recorded in histories of thought; there are categories and concepts which, in their most fundamental character, change not at all.

關於作者 (2006)

Colin Wight is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield.

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