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Critical Realism for Health and Illness ResearchA Practical Introduction$
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Priscilla Alderson

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781447354550

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447354550.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Structure and agency: making connections

Structure and agency: making connections

Chapter:
(p.65) 3 Structure and agency: making connections
Source:
Critical Realism for Health and Illness Research
Author(s):

Priscilla Alderson

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447354550.003.0004

This chapter continues to summarise different theories and methods in mainstream health and illness research in order to compare them to critical realism and show what it might add. Positivist, interpretive and postmodern approaches to human agency within structures are considered. There are also sections on: six features of critical realism; structure, agency and culture; four types of social structures; a comparison of realist evaluation and critical realism theories of structure and agency; the structure-agency dialectic, and Archer’s theory of internal conversations. The detailed examples of applying critical realist concepts are of prison leavers with mental health problems, and nurses working on traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Throughout, the chapter critically considers problems posed for health researchers, to see how critical realist research theories of structure and agency can serve their work.

Keywords:   Social structure, Agency, Culture, Internal conversations, Realist evaluation, Ethnomethodology, Moral accounts, Actor network theory, Morphostasis, Morphogenesis

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