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What Is Agency?1

What Is Agency?1 This article aims (1) to analytically disaggregate agency into its several component elements (though these are interrelated empirically), (2) to demonstrate the ways in which these agentic dimensions interpenetrate with forms of structure, and (3) to point out the implications of such a conception of agency for empirical research. The authors conceptualize agency as a temporally embedded process of social engagement, informed by the past (in its iterational or habitual aspect) but also oriented toward the future (as a projective capacity to imagine alternative possibilities) and toward the present (as a practicalevaluative capacity to contextualize past habits and future projects within the contingencies of the moment). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Sociology University of Chicago Press

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Publisher
University of Chicago Press
Copyright
Permission to reprint a book review in this section may be obtained only from the review's author.
ISSN
0002-9602
eISSN
1537-5390
DOI
10.1086/231294
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article aims (1) to analytically disaggregate agency into its several component elements (though these are interrelated empirically), (2) to demonstrate the ways in which these agentic dimensions interpenetrate with forms of structure, and (3) to point out the implications of such a conception of agency for empirical research. The authors conceptualize agency as a temporally embedded process of social engagement, informed by the past (in its iterational or habitual aspect) but also oriented toward the future (as a projective capacity to imagine alternative possibilities) and toward the present (as a practicalevaluative capacity to contextualize past habits and future projects within the contingencies of the moment).

Journal

American Journal of SociologyUniversity of Chicago Press

Published: Jan 1, 1998

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