The relationship between agency and structure

the relationship between agency and structure

ABSTRACT. The relationship between structure and agency is one of the many unresolved core enigmas in social sciences and social theory. the intent of. Giddens see the relationship between structure and agency as the duality of structure, whereby individuals reflexively produce and reproduce their social life . Free Essay: Structure and agency are two theoretical terms used to explain the capacity at As Habermas puts it “the relationship of the individual to the state has The distinction between both is inherent in the development of sociology.

In spite of the continuing unequal position of women even in many Western countries Maynard Three Approaches in the Structure-Agency Debate In the previous section, the concepts of structure and agency were defined and explained by means of several examples. Before discussing the case study about globalisation, 4 it might be beneficial to indicate the main positions in the structure-agency debate.

Agency and Social Structure - Oxford Scholarship

This part discusses three main positions1, the structuralist, the intentionalist and the strategic-relational approaches in order to provide a theoretical base for the case study in the following section.

Structuralism The standpoint which prioritizes structure-based explanations has been adopted by many political scientists such as Althusser McAnulla According to Althusser, interactive relationship between relatively autonomous structures of politics, economy and ideology administers the societal reality McAnulla Hence, the results of political actions can be understood with reference to the intentional acts of the actors Hay The main focal point of explication is the person or group McAnulla Structure, which has a subordinate position when compared to agency, can only emerge as a product or consequence of personal acts McAnulla The strategic-relational approach One of the dialectical approaches is the strategic-relational approach.

Rather than dealing with the theoretically abstract aspects of structure and agency, this approach takes an important step towards transcending the dualism of structure and agency by focusing on the interaction between structure and agency in the real setting of political and social interactive relation Hay From this point of view, the emphasis should be on the real interaction between strategic action and a strategically selective context Hay However, due to the limits of the article, only three approaches are focused.

More clearly, the context is strategically selective, since it prefers particular strategies among many strategies Hay Globalisation in the Light of the Structure-Agency Debate After discussing the meaning and importance of the structure-agency debate in the first part of this paper, defining the two concepts with examples in the second part and presenting the main approaches in the third part; the globalisation issue will be analysed with reference to the structure and agency debate in this part.

the relationship between agency and structure

The globalisation issue was chosen as a case study in this article, since the state symbolizes agent and the global arena symbolizes structure. Thereby, the discussion about the position of state in response to the global challenge will be an agency-structure debate. The connection between state apparatus and globalisation has been emphasized by many disciplines in the social sciences throughout the last decade Hobson and Ramesh Developments such as economic networks at the global level, the position of national economies in response to these global economic networks, the political collaboration and unification of European states and the emergence of governance opportunities have all raised debates about the fate of the nation state Sorensen The debate has been taking place between two opposing discourse: According to the structuralist understanding of globalisation, states are forced to surrender to the restrictive logic of the global structure which has been shaped by the 6 capitalist economical order of the globe Hobson and Ramesh The proponents of globalisation argument indicate that increasing global trade and unification of manufacturing beyond national borders forced states to apply economic implementations which serve to the interests of investment Thomson, Horsman and Marshall Incidences and resolutions which are beyond the territorial field of the states affect them more than before Sorensen At the other side of the two extremes, the agent-centrist interpretation of globalisation challenges the assumptions of structuralism Hobson and Ramesh According to this view, states monopolize the violence apparatus, and design the procedures for the actions of other agencies such as citizens, companies and institutions Sorensen The opponents of the state-centric view also indicate that the new form of state-market relationship cannot be an indication of the erosion of state power on economy, since the development of the companies and the market occurs with the consent of states Sorensen Seeking Compromise However, both the structuralist and the agent-centrist approaches to the globalisation debate present an unbalanced view of the correlation between the global structure of the world and individual states Hobson and Ramesh A synthesis of these two opposing sides is required in order to advance a sufficient theory for explaining the connection between state and globalisation Hobson and Ramesh The main deficiency of the two extremes is that they compel the preference of one single winner between structure and agency Hobson and Ramesh As Hobson and Ramesh On the one hand, the boundaries of state power are revealed by 7 new global challenges such as global warming, fowl plague and AIDS Smith On the other hand, Gill It might be beneficial to analyse the issue of migration to the UK in order to correlate the strategic-relational approach to the globalisation debate.

Agency and Social Structure

First, as a consequence of factors such as international migration and cultural globalisation state borders have become easily passable Heywood After the May elections, a shift in migration policies emerged as a result of the intention of Conservative-led British government to decrease net migration swiftly OECD The inflows as a part of Tier 1 were limited to entries a year by the implementation of quota in ; however the entries based on entrepreneurship and investment were exempt from this quota OECD The migrants who were accepted within the scope of Tiers 1 and 2 were reduced to 21, after the implementation of the new regulations following April OECD In this article, two extremes, structuralism and intentionalism, and the strategic- relational approach which seeks a compromise between the two, have been discussed.

As the agent accommodates to his or her roles and relationships in the context of his or her position in the field, the agent internalizes relationships and expectations for operating in that domain. These internalized relationships and habitual expectations and relationships form, over time, the habitus. Bourdieu's work attempts to reconcile structure and agency, as external structures are internalized into the habitus while the actions of the agent externalize interactions between actors into the social relationships in the field.

Structure and agency - Wikipedia

Bourdieu's theory, therefore, is a dialectic between "externalizing the internal", and "internalizing the external". Berger and Luckmann[ edit ] James Coleman[ edit ] The sociologist James Samuel Coleman famously diagramed the link between macrosociological phenomena and individual behaviour in what is commonly referred to as Coleman's Boat. In this way, individual action is taken in reference to a macro-sociological structure, and that action by many individuals results in change to that macro-structure.

Anthony Giddens[ edit ] Contemporary sociology has generally aimed toward a reconciliation of structure and agency as concepts.

the relationship between agency and structure

Anthony Giddens has developed structuration theory in such works as The Constitution of Society The term reflexivity is used to refer to the ability of an agent to consciously alter his or her place in the social structure; thus globalization and the emergence of the 'post-traditional' society might be said to allow for "greater social reflexivity".

Social and political sciences are therefore important because social knowledge, as self-knowledge, is potentially emancipatory. As he states in his "Model of Productive Processing of Reality PPR ", personality "does not form independently from society any of its functions or dimensions but is continuously being shaped, in a concrete, historically conveyed life world, throughout the entire space of the life span".

The human being as an autonomous subject has the lifelong task to harmonize the processes of social integration and personal individualization. This task is mastered in specific steps that are typical for the respective age and the achieved developmental stage "developmental tasks".

The varieties of this resistance are negative capability.

the relationship between agency and structure

Unlike other theories of structure and agency, negative capability does not reduce the individual to a simple actor possessing only the dual capacity of compliance or rebellion, but rather sees him as able to partake in a variety of activities of self empowerment.

The TMSA has been further advocated and applied in other social science fields by additional authors, for example in economics by Tony Lawson and in sociology by Margaret Archer. Inthe Journal of Management Studies debated the merits of critical realism.

Agency-Structure Dualism - Critical Social Psychology (8/30)

This indicates that neither participants, nor social practices can be understood when looked at in isolation in fact, this undermines the very idea of trying to do sosince practice and structure is co-created by participants and since the participants can only be called so, if they participate in a social practice. Work in information systems by Mutch has emphasized Archer's Realist Social Theory [19] as well as Robert Archer's application in the field of education policy.

the relationship between agency and structure

However, this depends upon one's view of structure, which differs between Giddens and Archer. Hence if strata in social reality have different ontologies, then they must be viewed as a dualism.

Moreover, agents have causal power, and ultimate concerns which they try to fallibly put into practice.