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ERIC Number: EJ865790
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-1367-6261
The Mysterious Case of the Pervasive Choice Biography: Ulrich Beck, Structure/Agency, and the Middling State of Theory in the Sociology of Youth
Woodman, Dan
Journal of Youth Studies, v12 n3 p243-256 Jun 2009
This paper explores the emergence of the concept of choice biography, as it is linked to the work of Ulrich Beck, in youth research. The concept has been called a current pervasive theoretical orthodoxy. However, this article argues that the concept is most often taken up to critique, and Beck used mostly as a foil, through arguing that he overemphasizes agency and neglects structural constraints, in establishing or occupying a middle-ground theoretical position between structure and agency. I propose that the relationship and balance between structure and agency is of little interest to Beck and aim to discourage forcing his work into this frame. Instead of focusing on a shift towards agency, and proposing the concept of choice biographies to understand the shift, Beck is making the more complicated claim that at the very moment, and through the same processes, that some of the constraints placed on people are breaking down, the predictability and security that would allow these new options to function as deliberate choices also weaken. More importantly, Beck asks the question of whether the concepts developed by twentieth-century sociology are up to the task of theorizing the contemporary world. (Contains 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A