Aydasara Ortega Torres is a Faculty Member of Psychology and Statistics.
When delineating social phenomena, discussions around the comparative character of structure and agency weather time, even if some believe “it is a false dichotomy.”
“Structure matters because it shapes the context, but the individual agency of key actors also matters because they take individual action.”
Still one of the most evasive yet salient words in the lexicon of contemporary social science, the term structure has been found practically unfeasible to define. Partly for enabling what it identifies, prone to take for granted unyielding causal determinism.
What does happen to vanish in talks about structure is the constructiveness of agency, of human action. When and where the concept of structure highlights the tendency of patterns to be reproduced, even when actors are not aware of the patterns or do not wish to reproduce them.
“Whatever aspect of social life we designate as structure is posited as structuring some other aspect of social existence.”
That is, the characteristics of social existence designated as structures are likely to be reached and handled as prime, firm and unchangeable, like the joists of an edifice. Meanwhile, the events and processes they structure tend to be considered derivative and peripheral, like the shell of a skyscraper.
Yet some believe humanity is now more likely to recognize the need to reinvent or revamp some major systems.
“The myths are real. There was a war. And they're the last ones standing.”
The Uncharted World
© 2021 Aydasara Ortega Torres