We’re back with our (Don’t) Ask a Sociologist series, where we try to answer seemingly simple questions from listeners! This week’s question is: What is “agency,” and how is it different from “structures”? These are two words we tend to throw around willy-nilly, so let’s break both down together! If you have your own question to ask, don’t be shy and send it to us. We’d love to try to answer it!
- We define agency as the ability of people to act on their own accord and independence
- Structure is the patterned systems of society that impact and assign the choices (or opportunities) available to individuals.
- Here’s a helpful article from 1998 by Mustafa Emirbayer and Ann Miche that answers the question, What Is Agency?
- Here’s that Devil Wears Prada scene Ellen was talking about!
- Curious about the illusion of choice in consumer brands? Look at this.