Give Structure Its Due: Political Agency and the Vietnam Commitment Decisions

The constructivist turn in the study of world politics provides new impetus to studies of the political deliberations of human agents. The co-constitution of agents and structures implies the non-acceptability of accounts that fail to consider the interpretations human agents provide to structural conditions. But neither can we accept the reverse. Studies of the interpretations of political agents should adequately account for the structural constraints on those interpretations. This paper illustrates how easily agency studies can underestimate structural constraints by reference to a most serious and scholarly account of agency in the Vietnam War commitment decisions, Yuen Foong Khong's AnalogiesatWar:Korea,MunichDienBienPhuandtheVietnamDecisionsof1965. The argumentative burden resides with those who offer accounts that hold or imply that agents acted from non-structural motives
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s1468109901000214
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 49,066
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Animals, Agency and Resistance.Bob Carter & Nickie Charles - 2013 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43 (3):322-340.
First-Personal Aspects of Agency.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):1-16.
Questioning Contingency in Social Life: Roles, Agreement and Agency.Stephen Kemp & John Holmwood - 2012 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 42 (4):403-424.
Discourse and Human Agency.Roland Bleiker - 2003 - Contemporary Political Theory 2 (1):25-47.
Understanding Human Agency.Erasmus Mayr - 2011 - Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
27 ( #355,811 of 2,311,217 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #753,181 of 2,311,217 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature