Talk:Structuration theory

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Former good article Structuration theory was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 11, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
May 21, 2012 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article

Formal request for feedback[edit]

Looking for feedback on accuracy, readability, comprehensiveness, and any suggestions or comments on changes that have been made or ways the article could be improved! Mjscheer (talk) 19:21, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Request for feedback outside of the formal RFF above[edit]

Hello! My name is MJ. Recently, I have made some large-scale changes to the Structuration page: reformatting the entire page by taking out entire sections (i.e., "Basic assumptions"), integrating new sections ("Criticisms and additions to structuration theory" and "Methodology"), and rewriting most of the content. I did not intend to remove anything that previous authors considered critical to the theory, though I may have done so unintentionally. I am a new editor in Wikipedia, and I hope to inspire a discussion about what could be done to improve the clarity, comprehensiveness, and/or usefulness of the content and structure of the page. As you can see, I have made a formal request for feedback, but I have also read much about the inefficiency/ineffectiveness associated with the a RFF (no offense, any administrators!). I wanted to give anyone who wants to comment on the article a chance to do so easily. I've been very inspired by the dialogues that I have seen on Wikipedia thus far and hope that other (more experienced! or not experienced at all! either way!) editors will engage in discussion about the content of the page either through the RFF above or through the discussion space provided below. Thanks for your time and suggestions! Mjscheer (talk) 06:02, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Hello again MJ. You're right, you often have to poke people. It can take years before they come along, especially on a specialised topic. As I said before I think it's a great rewrite. I'd like to see some mention of the feminist critique (see eg ISBN 052126197X), and undoubtedly others will find endless things to improve, link, format, standardise, and so on, but I don't really have much more to add. It covers the ground well. One thing I can't help thinking though, the wider obvious context with structure and agency in Habermas and Bourdieu is possibly undermentioned in the article, IMO. It might be out of scope, but then I don't really have the time right now to do much about it. Good luck. -- zzuuzz (talk) 11:14, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback, zzuuzz. You've been really helpful, and extremely nice. I don't have any experience with the feminist critique of structuration theory, but thank you for bringing it to my attention! I hope to get to it at some point. As for Habermas & Bourdieu, those are really great ideas and I put some links in the article. Thanks again! Mjscheer (talk) 16:38, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, MJ! Very good overview of Giddens. I've upped the class of the article to "B" for Sociology. The language is a bit tough to wade through in places. I'd be happy to do a bit of copy editing to clarify some language; I have no substantive comments at the moment. Meclee (talk) 14:35, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your encouraging words, Meclee! By any chance, do you remember what the article was rated before? I agree the language is pretty gnarly. I've done the best I can for now! As a sidenote, relating to the GA discussion below, I've fixed the citations, added some clarifying language, and expanded the scope a little bit. Thanks for your help! Mjscheer (talk) 16:38, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
MJ, The article was previously rated 'start class'. Thank you for the additional work. I will now recommend the article for GA status. Best wishes. Meclee (talk) 23:26, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

I wanted to major in philosophy but can't really handle college right now. I've completed about 3 or 4 semesters do far. That being said, for someone that hasn't really taken a philosophy class but has an interest in it, it's very difficult for me to read this. There needs to either blue links to other pages for theories or philosophical terms, or the ability to understand terms by reading between the lines. I still have no idea what I was reading about. I think that this is probably a very interesting topic, and your professor probably understood everything you said, but encyclopedias need to be understood by the masses. Let me know if you need to know more of what I'm having trouble understanding. Thepoodlechef (talk) 19:29, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Structuration/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Meclee (talk · contribs) 16:19, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Place on hold. Supplied initial copy edit. However, several direct quotations appear in the article, which are in need of page numbers added to the citation. Meclee (talk) 16:19, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Support: Removing hold as article has been revised to address issues. Will wait another 7 days for any additional comments before assigning 'GA' status. Changed WikiProject Sociology assessment to GA-class. Meclee (talk) 23:48, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Ok, there is something weird here. Where is the review? And Meclee, are you the nominator? If so, you cannot be the reviewer. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 18:45, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
No, I am not the nominator; the article was nominated by User:Mjscheer, as instructed for a student project. I should have made it more clear that, with the exception of the page numbers for quotes as noted above, I found the article passes Wikipedia:Good_article_criteria. The page number issue having been addressed by User:Mjscheer, I added my support for GA status. Meclee (talk) 19:08, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
  • This article is filled concepts that are unfamiliar to the general reader and are not explained . The lede is not understandable to the general reader and is filled with jargon and technical concepts.
  • The section: Criticisms and additions to Giddens's structuration theory degenerates into a series of list
  • The article is confusing. It needs to be simplified and rendered into language the general reader can understand, with adequate explanations of jargon and links to explanatory terms. Wikipedia is not for academic papers. Below is the template for the GA criteria. Please evaluate this article using them. Thanks!MathewTownsend (talk) 22:59, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Personally I found the lead readable, but I am a grad student in sociology, and already familiar with Giddens. How an average high school student would deal with it... I am afraid you are right that they would not be able to understand much from it. The lead would benefit from expansion with much of it explained in a more simple language that a lay person, without any social science background, would understand. PS. One more comment: "John B. Thompson" section should be renamed to something else, it is a bit jarring in the article to have sections named after content, and then one suddenly named after a person. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk to me 02:39, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

GA Review form[edit]

GA review-see WP:WIAGA for criteria (and here for what they are not)

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose: clear and concise, correct spelling and grammar:
    B. Complies with MoS for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation:
Mindful of the difficulty of this topic (for truly convoluted language, read Giddens in the original) and previous comments regarding the density of the language, after several passes by various editors to revise language, I find the article to be "reasonably well written". Having said that, some of the explanation of Gidden's theory in the lede might be better moved to later in the article, with a more simplified introduction to the topic. Meclee (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
  1. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. Provides references to all sources:
    B. Provides in-line citations from reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
With the addition of page numbers for quotations, I find the article to be factual accurate and verifiable. Meclee (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
  1. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Main aspects are addressed:
    B. Remains focused:
The main aspects of structuration theory appear to be well addressed. Some of the presented criticisms might be further developed; but the focus in that area is adequate for a GA class article.
  1. Does it follow the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
The article gives both Giddens' own claims about his work and representative critiques of his work, so meets NPOV. Meclee (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
  1. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
Fortunately, no edit wars, here. Meclee (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
  1. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
No appropriate images available. Meclee (talk) 01:51, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
  1. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:
Pass - with further lede editing mentioned above. Meclee (talk) 01:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)
Pass - revisions made; listed as GA. Meclee (talk) 22:08, 11 April 2012 (UTC)


I'm attempting the requested copyedit. The language is indeed "truly convoluted" as the GA reviewer noticed. Saying that it is less bad than the original gives it too much credit. Consider:

Giddens observed that in social analysis, the term structure referred generally to "rules and resources" and more specifically to "the structuring properties allowing the 'binding' of time-space in social systems, the properties which make it possible for discernibly similar social practices to exist across varying spans of time and space and which lend them "systemic" form."[1]:p.17 Agents—groups or individuals—draw upon these structures to perform social actions through embedded memory, called memory traces. Memory traces are thus the means through which social actions are carried out. Structure is also, however, the result of these social practices.

Defining terms through other terms that themselves have to be quoted (implying some special meaning) defeats the purpose. Definitions have to use normal language, otherwise the whole thing becomes a matter of nested Russian dolls. Here we have "structure", "rules and resources", "structuring properties", "binding", "systemic", "structures", embedded memory (which I do not quote, but also cannot interpret) "memory traces" and social practices (unintelligible.) If the use of these terms is unavoidable, their use should be footnoted, so that the reader has a hope at finding out what they are intended to mean.

I can copyedit only by willfully ignoring the meaning of these sentences and only trying to simplify their form (not structure!).

Lfstevens (talk) 19:19, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Specific comments/issues[edit]

  1. I left comments in the text also, in cases in which I wanted clarification/information, but didn't see a resulting discussion.
  2. The Routinization section reads as though Bettelheim (routines are durable) contradicts Goffman (routines have to be "worked at", but they are presented as though they agree.
  3. The term "reproduction" is used to describe the persistence of systems over time. Why not use the latter word?
  4. The article quotes him as saying ""The degree of "systemness" is very variable. ...I take it to be one of the main features of structuration theory that the extension and 'closure' of societies across space and time is regarded as problematic." The reader needs to know what is meant by "closure". Closing down as in the end of a society? Some form of independence or disconnectedness from the outside?
  5. "Reflexive monitoring is a commonplace, yet utterly essential, characteristic of agency, and refers to the ability of agents to pursue their wants and desires through monitoring the flow of their actions as well as the settings and contexts in which those actions occur." If something is commonplace, the implication is that it happens commonly, but not universally. I went with essential. Also in what sense is it reflexive? As in what the doctor checks when he bonks your knee? As in Reflexivity (social theory)? As in self-related elements in a set? Later it becomes "coordinate ongoing projects, goals, and contexts". Need help.
  6. Agents subsequently "rationalize," or evaluate, the success of those efforts. Rationalization and evaluation are not the same things in common understanding. Why quote one but not the other? What do they mean here? "Through action, agents can produce structures; thrugh reflexive monitoring and rationalization, they can transform them." How can rationalization transform a structure? Doesn't rationalization mean finding a post hoc explanation for an action?
  7. "Agents, while bounded in structure..." what does this mean?
  8. "Giddens recognizes actors as having knowledge that is reflexive and situated in context, and that habitual, widespread use of knowledgeability makes structures become institutionalized." What is reflexive knowledge?
  9. "it is always possible for agents to either act or refuse to do so". The word "refuse" implies choice. I said "agents can always choose whether to act." If choice is not correct, refuse is not right. So it could say "agents can always either act or not."
  10. What does "Places the ontology of structuration more in "situ" than on an abstract level" mean?
  11. What is "methodological bracketing"?
  12. What does "scale" mean in "Focusing on the meso-level at the temporal and spatial scale." Is there some greater or lesser scale?
  13. Words fail: "the connected concepts of a horizon of action"?
  14. "She primarily examines structural frameworks and the action within the limits allowed by those conditions." The conditions aren't listed.
  15. "She maintains that structure precedes agency". Temporally? Logically?
  16. What does syntagmatic mean here? The other uses in WP related to linguistics, and use it as an umbrella term for units of language at different scales. I linked to Syntagmatic analysis.
  17. "Parker advocates for a theoretical reclamation historical sociology and macro-structures using concrete historical cases, because such a model better explains the creation and transformation of social structures such as institutions and rules, cultural traditions, patterns of regular behaviour, and distributions of power and inequality." OK, but what is that reclamation?
  18. What is the difference between an actor and an agent? As in "It is necessary to outline the broader social system to be able to analyze agents, actors, and rules within that system."
  19. Is the model of structures and agents meaningful only in a social context?
  20. Many quotations still have no page #s.

First pass is complete.

  1. Why "modality" instead of "mode"
  2. I added the technical tag, because the text remains opaque. More examples?
  3. The term "reproduction" and the phrase "creation and reproduction" and variants appear throughout when it seems like a shorter phrase such as "evolution" or "change" might serve. The article should explain why it chooses the former. (Lack of inertial effects?)
  4. Are authoritative and allocative resources mere memory traces or are we talking guns?
  5. The structures and society page seems circular (legitmation is norms and norms is legitimation. Need a crisper presentation. I left it fearing I was missing something.
  6. The term "the duality of structure" seems to be itself reified. I reverted my change to "structure duality" not wanting to transgress, but I definitely prefer the more compact locution.

OK. That's it. Cheers!

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved. EdJohnston (talk) 16:15, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

StructurationStructuration theory – Title should clearly be "Structurational theory" (which is what Encyclopaedia Britannica calls it) but that is set up as a redirect so I cant do it myself. "Structuration" is just a dictionary word [1][2]. --Relisted. BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:10, 21 April 2014 (UTC) --Relisted. EdJohnston (talk) 15:36, 8 April 2014 (UTC)Penbat (talk) 19:28, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Comment - I have no problem with the move. I would point out that "Structurational theory" would be improper, as "structuration" does not modify "theory", so should not be made into an adjective. To be most grammatical, it should be "Theory of structuration" (a noun that is an object of a preposition) but that was given up in usage some time ago to avoid having thousands of index items starting with "Theory of". Some indices use "Structuration, Theory of" but most use the shorthand version of "noun Theory (also a noun). Meclee (talk) 23:29, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

  • Support Social theory of structuration or Structuration (social theory). This word "structuration" is one of many ambiguous, esoteric labels in social sciences that re confusing to general readers, even readers somewhat familiar with social theories. "Structuration theory" is not quite good enough, and has a grammar problem as er Meclee. Structurism is not a type of theory, but is something labelled as a social theory. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:39, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Most keen on "Structuration theory" which is also good enough for Encyclopaedia Britannica. Second choice is Structuration (social theory).--Penbat (talk) 20:02, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support Structuration theory. I'm pulling rank here - I have a graduate degree in sociology, and briefly worked in the field. Okay, I guess Wikipedia doesn't weigh that metric, but I also happen to have The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, which has an entry on "structuration" that reads, "Structuration theory is a social ontology, defining what sorts of things exist in the world..." Cheers! bd2412 T 02:54, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
    • @BD2412: - Forgive an off-point remark, but having read a few sociology texts, I'm pretty convinced the -ology suffix is getting used in the same sense it's used in things like Scientology. NickCT (talk) 19:15, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
      • It's the other way around. L. Ron Hubbard decided to create a legitimate-sounding neologism by combing the existing words, "science" and "ontology". bd2412 T 19:24, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
        • But that's my point. You hear the word "sociology" and you think to yourself, "Hey! That sounds legitimate. It's got 'ology' in it." Then you actually read the text books..... NickCT (talk) 19:57, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support, per nom. DA Sonnenfeld (talk) 10:15, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - Glancing at this from afar the term "structuration" rarely seems to appear without "theory" next it. Putting the two together seems in-line with WP:COMMONNAME. NickCT (talk) 19:15, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support - Structuration theory. I could "pull rank" in that I have a PhD in sociology and have taught it for 30 years. Instead, I'll just be very specific that I support re-naming to Structuration theory. Meclee (talk) 20:15, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I am agencylessly structured to respek teh authoritah of my co-editors pulling rank. (: walk victor falk talk 16:02, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference The constitution of society was invoked but never defined (see the help page).