STRUCTURE and AGENCY • STRUCTURE: Institutions, such as religion, the state, and the economy, and factors such as sex, gender, age, class, nationality, ethnicity, etc., which influence the opportunities that individuals have. • AGENCY: The capacity of individuals to act independently and make free choices. • THE ISSUE: Are we free to choose how to think, believe, act, and behave, or do structural forces dominate us?
ANTHONY GIDDENS’ STRUCTURATION THEORY • Individuals are not entirely free to make choices, and their knowledge is limited. • However, human agency impacts social structure in ways that lead to change. • Structure provides common frames of meaning that enable agency. • Agency and structure cannot be analyze separately as the causality of change runs from both directions.
PIERRE BOURDIEU’S THEORY OF PRACTICE • Structure and agency are not monolithic or dichotomous, but they engage in ever evolving and transformative dialectical processes. • An agent is embedded in a social field in which social, cultural, and economic capital impact ever changing sets of roles, relationships, and expectations. • Habitus--a habitual way of being and becoming--forms over time as the agent negotiates their field, and internalizes roles, relationships, and expectations. • Structure is internalized as habitus, while--at the same time--the agent externalizes actions that impact roles, relations, and expectation in the social field.
ERVING GOFFMAN’S MODEL OF IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT • Meeting social expectations by managing the impression you have on others. • This involves “performing” identities that will have favorable outcomes for you in the context of the social interaction you are in. This process involves combinations of concealment, exaggeration, fabrications, etc. • Acting strong and reliant to be perceived as a leader. • Acting weak and needy to get assistance from others. • Emphasizing your honesty through body language while taking a test. • Making decisions about what clothes, accessories, hairstyles, etc., to wear in given social situations.
DRAMATURGY • Interpretive/symbolic interactionists analyze individuals and social interactions as involving a series of theatrical performances. • AUDIENCE: The observers. • ROLES: The actors. • SCRIPT: Communication. • PROPS: Objects that convey actors’ identities and relations of power. • Social environments have FRONT STAGES where actors maintain their impressions, and BACK STAGES, where they have some freedom from maintaining impression management – can be more casual and “let their hair down.”
CLIFFORD GEERTZ • Film operates as a model “for” as well as a model “of” reality in a process that naturalizes film sound and images. • In other words, social, and cultural worlds articulate media. • Individuals are embedded in and impact these articulatory processes.
ARTICULATIONS:AN ACTOR PLAYING, FOR EXAMPLE, A TEACHER STUDIES TEACHERS ATSCHOOL TO RESEARCH THEIR ROLE. TEACHERS, INTURN, VIEW THEFILM ABOUTTEACHERS ANDMODEL THEIRPROFESSIONON SOME ASPECTSOF ACTOR’S PERFORMANCE. ANTHROPOLOGISTS CAN HONE THEIR SKILLS OF OBSERVATION BY ANALYZING ARTICULATED PERFORMANCES IN THE MEDIA AND IN “REAL” LIFE.
STUART HALL’S THEORY OF THE POLITICS OF REPRESENTATION • Based in neo Marxism, Hall is one of the founders of the British School of Cultural Studies. • Power consistently strives to fix meaning to support its agenda. • Individuals receive meaning, but remake it minute by minute. • Meaning is constantly changing. • Meaning cannot be fixed. • It is imperative to critically interrogate the meanings of media representations.