Being a great political advisor, educator, and author of many books, Anthony Giddens has been a great treasure to sociology. His lectures and social theories have been a great contribution to the people from his period and the latter. His influential advice has been welcomed by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He has also written a lot of books explaining his theories for a better understanding.
Anthony Gidden’s Birth, Early life and Education
Anthony Giddens was born on 18th January 1938. He was born to a lower-middle-class family and was brought up in London. His interests in sociology and psychology made him complete his bachelor’s degree from the same streams. Then he finished his Master’s program and graduated from the London College of Economics. He also completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge.
Works and Other Achievements
Anthony Giddens began with teaching social psychology at the University of Leicester. That place was also a beginning for his own theories. Then he went to teach for the students of King’s College, Cambridge, as a sociology professor. Later, in 1985, he co-founded an international publisher called “Polity Press”. Through Polity Press, they published social science and humanities-related books. Then, he became the director of the London School of Economics while also being a professor.
He is also well known for his theory, Structuration. Structuration helps in understanding and learning the connection that an individual has towards the social system. Also, his view towards modern societies has been holistic and mind-blowing. He has prominently contributed to the field of sociology with 34 published books in more than 25 languages. His theories have always helped people in understanding how the society and social system works.
He has also been a part of the Advisory Council in the Institute for Public Policy Research. He has been awarded a peerage as Baron Giddens and is also a part of the House of Lords, which is the Parliament of the British. Anthony Giddens also holds a minimum of 12 degrees from various universities.
His theories have always been in a way that relates to more than a single branch of knowledge. It involves sociology, anthropology, archeology, psychology, philosophy, history, linguistics, social work, economics, and political science. He has introduced a lot of ideas and concepts to the field of sociology. Those theories still serve as a guide and help in analyzing oneself. Some of them are:
The Reflexive Project of Self and Reflexivity
Through the reflexive project, Giddens speaks of an individual who should understand their own identity as a reflexive project. It becomes an endeavor that one continuously works and reflects on. And by reflexivity, he concludes that the ideologies of an individual and a society are interconnected. Thus, it is a great move to continuously redefine or educate themselves with new things and information in accordance with each other’s reaction.
Globalization is a higher process. It is beyond economics. Globalization, simply, is the process of intensifying social relationships, world-wide. The social relationships must link with distant localities in a way that the happenings in the local are easily shaped by the distant events. And in return, distant events are also shaped by the local happenings. Further, Giddens considers globalization to be the natural consequence of modernization that ends up in the reconstruction of the global society.
Through this theory, Giddens explains that to understand how a society works, it is not just enough if one looks into the actions of the individuals or the societal forces, instead, the structure of both the individuals and the groups are to be followed. He argues that people in a society are not entirely making their own decisions while their knowledge is also limited. They are nothing but an agency that keeps reproducing and reforming the social structure that gradually brings about a change in society.
- The Third Way
The Third Way is Anthony Giddens’ political philosophy. It aims in redefining social democracy for an era that is after the cold war and post-globalization. He explains that the birth of concepts like “left” and “right” is the result of many factors but majorly because of the absence of a better alternative to capitalism. Through this Third Way, he provides a justification and a vast set of proposals that help the “progressive center-left” of British Politics.
After the traditional era, people started having a wide range of lifestyles to choose for themselves. Giddens also advises them to choose one and live according to that. It might sound like a luxurious term, but it applies to everyone in society. All they have to do is pick one from the readymade templates available and live accordingly. Lifestyle doesn’t just limit to the way of living, eating, dressing, or any other conspicuous consumption, it also one’s behavior, how they choose to believe certain things, and their attitude towards it.
- Modernity and Self-Identity
In modern society, where modernity is well developed and welcomed, self-identity becomes an issue that nobody can escape from. Even people who are away from being stressed and anxious about their own self might have been compelled or pushed into a place where they have to make choices about their identity. It might be their everyday lifestyle, like clothing, food that they consume, or even their personal relationships. What to do? who you are? and who to be? Are some of the questions that are frequently asked that everybody should have an answer to. And in this modern world, the mass media is likely to ask these questions again and again till they get an answer.
Anthony Giddens Books
As said before, Anthony Giddens has written nearly 34 books that have been a great contribution to the sociology field. And they are:
- Capitalism and Modern Social Theory (1971)
- Politics and Sociology in the Thought of Max Weber (1972)
- The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies (1973)
- Introduction to Sociology (1976)
- New Rules of Sociological Method (1976)
- Studies in Social and Political Theory (1977)
- Durkheim (1978)
- Central Problems in Social Theory (1979)
- A Contemporary Critique of Historical Materialism (1981)
- Sociology: A Brief But Critical Introduction (1982)
- Profiles and Critiques In Social Theory (1982)
- The Constitution of The Society (1984)
- The Nation-State and Violence (1985)
- Social Theory and Modern Sociology (1987)
- Social Theory Today (1987)
- The Consequences of Modernity (1990)
- Modernity and Self-Identity (1991)
- The Transformation of Intimacy (1992)
- Beyond Left and Right (1994)
- In Defence of Sociology (1996)
- The Third Way (1998)
- Runaway world (1999)
- The Third Way and Its Critics (2000)
- Essentials of Sociology (2001)
- Where Now For New Labour (2002)
- Sociology (2006)
- Over To You, Mr. Brown (2007)
- Europe in the Global Age (2007)
- The Politics of Climate Change (2009)
- Giddens Sociology (2010)
- Turbulent and Mighty Continent (2013)
- Essential Concepts in Sociology (2014)
Anthony Giddens has been an optimistic person when it comes to social structures and societal theories. He has very well explained the patterns that were followed, is being followed and will continue to follow, through his works and theories. His theories have been true and have helped in bringing some changes in society.