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Understanding Agency : Social Theory and Responsible Action - S. Barry Barnes

Understanding Agency

Social Theory and Responsible Action

Hardcover

Published: 1st November 1999
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`Barne's work is remarkable in its attempt to transcend previously held dualisms like causal versus voluntaristic explanations, and to advance a model of social action that can contribute to a possible resolution of the problematic relation between 'structure' and 'agency'' - Debasis Giri, Contributions to Indian Sociology



In this penetrating and assured book, one of the leading commentators in the field argues that social theory is moving in the wrong direction in its reflections on human freedom and autonomy. It has borrowed notions of 'agency' and 'choice' from everyday discourse, but increasingly it puts a misconceived individualistic gloss upon them. Against this, Barnes unequivocally identifies human beings as social agents in a profound sense, and emphasises the vital importance of their sociability. Notions of 'agency', 'freedom' and 'choice' have to be understood by reference to their role in communicative interaction; they are key components of the discourse through which human beings identify each other, and have effects upon each other, as social agents.





These are central themes in all the social sciences. And Understanding Agency addresses them in a more focused way than any other book. It is a refreshingly different look at social theory that will be widely debated. Barnes' account is a model of well-informed and wide-ranging analysis.

`Barne's work is remarkable in its attempt to transcend previously held dualisms like causal versus voluntaristic explanations, and to advance a model of social action that can contribute to a possible resolution of the problematic relation between 'structure' and 'agency'' - Debasis Giri, Contributions to Indian Sociology

Materials And Arguments
Everyday Discourse
'Choice' and 'Agency' in Social Theory
A Brief Digression on Attribution
On Individualism in Social Theory
Transcending Individualism
Speculations And Evaluations
'Agency' and 'Responsibility' in Sociological Theory
Agency, Responsibility and New Human Biotechnologies
Rational Agents in Differentiated Societies
On the Fine Line between State and Status
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780761963677
ISBN-10: 0761963677
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: 1st November 1999
Publisher: SAGE Publications Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.45