Beyond agency

Sociological Theory 19 (1):24-40 (2001)
The reason why agency/structure and micro/macro debates remain unresolved is the bad essentialist habit of treating such pairs as opposite natural kinds. Once variation is allowed, agency and structure, or micro and macro, are temporary poles bracketing a continuum, with social entities moving along this continuum over time. Explaining these transformations from agency into structure, or micro into macro, and vice versa is the challenge for explanatory theory. This challenge is met by switching to a constructivist level of second-order observing. Then, agency and structure become variable devices or frames different observers might use to perform different sorts of cultural work.
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DOI 10.2307/223290
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