Structure and Agency

1549 Words7 Pages
Structure and agency are two theoretical terms used to explain the capacity at which we as people are able to be individuals, and to what extent those influences limit our individuality. Structure refers to the ways in which a society is organized. Agency refers to the behaviors and actions of the individuals within the social structure. Agency is limited by the structure due to cultural barriers and inequalities within the structure. In this essay, I will present an overview of why critical theorists are concerned with those inequalities, and I will further identify the problems within the system contributing to the unequal access to the public sphere, relating specifically to class and gender inequalities. Society is highly stratified when considering social classes i.e. - upper class, middle class, lower class, and working class citizens. That being said, not everyone has the same access to the superstructure; thus creating tension. The largest problem when considering structure and agency is the constant struggle and negotiation of power inequality. Among the asymmetry of power are two major disparities; class and gender. Thinking as a critical theorist, one must consider the individual’s participation in the public sphere; “The word means a false view of the world that is in the interests of the powerful citizens in order to keep the subordinate classes oppressed” (Habermas, 10). Though the public sphere is virtually a democratic sphere where ideas can circulate and opinions are formed there are certain restrictions when referring to lower classes and women and thus how their agencies as individuals are limited. The public sphere has been falsely represented as a virtual place where one can share and debate opinions; ... ... middle of paper ... ...ies of the bourgeois class remain dominant, the male counterpart also continues to sustain their dominant status in our media driven hegemonic society. Works Cited Habermas, Jurgen. (1997) The public sphere: Introduction. Roberts, J.,Crossley, N. (2004) New Perspectives on the Public Sphere: Introduction. Australia: Blackwell. Golding, P & Murdock, G. (2000) Culture, Communications and Political Economy. Elaborated in Habermas,J (1989) The Structural Transformatin of the Public Sphere. Cambridge: Polity Press. Casey, B., et al. (2002) Televison Studies:The Key Concepts: Gender. New York:Routledge. O’Shaughnessy, M., Stadler, J. (2009)Media and Society: An introduction. Dominant Ideology and Hegemony. London: Oxford. Baran, Stanley & Davis, Dennis. (2009) Introduction to Mass Communication Theory: Critical Theory . Massachusetts: Cengage Learning
Open Document