Making History: Agency, Structure and Change in Social Theory: Agency, Structure and Change in Social Theory. by Alex Callinicos

Published by Cornell University Press, 1993, Hardback in Dust Wrapper. 1st Ed.

Condition: Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper with a small spot to the join of the upper panel. Previous owners’ inscription to the first blank and a small address sticker to the pastedown. Pages very gently age-tanned.

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From the cover: In recent years, the problem of historical change has come to assume central importance among English-speaking social scientists and historians. Much attention has been focused on how we relate institutions and institutional change to actions, and how we think of history as the outcome of this interaction. In Making History, Alex Callinicos takes a fresh look at both Marxist and non-Marxist positions in this debate, giving close attention to theworkofE. J. Hobsbawm, E. P. Thompson, G. A. Cohen, L. Althusser, A. Giddens, J. Elster, and J. Habermas, among others. His main concern is with the mechanisms through which human beings transform their societies, and, for better or worse, push history onwards.

Callinicos provides an even-handed and com¬prehensive synthesis that combines the highly fruitful theories of agency and language elab¬orated in Anglo-American analytical philosophy, Giddenss theorization of structuration, and the insights of game theory with the powerful explana¬tory framework of classical historical material¬ism. He argues that structural determinism (characteristic of the followers of Althusser), the methodological individualism of the rational-choice Marxists (such as Elster), and the various attempts to reconcile these extremes, are all untenable. In his view, structures do not simply contain or constrain us; they also serve as frame¬works that can enable human action. His aim is to demonstrate that human beings possess the power collectively to make history.

Making History is a timely, highly intelligent, and eminently readable book that deserves to be widely read. It will become an important focus for debates on Marxism, theoretical sociology, and philosophy.


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