Can we change society? Do we have ‘social agency’?

So how do we change things? Our lives and our society? We learnt last week how there are social structures all around us, determining so much of what we do. How can we resist them, or change them? Don’t we have agency? Sure we do. Classic interactionist sociologists such as Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman, or dramaturgists such as Erving Goffman helped us understand that social life is improvised. We aren’t robots. Our lives aren’t totally determined by the big ‘social structures’ in our lives – gender, class, race etc. We joke, and laugh, and burp, and dance; we start music subcultures or pop-up cafes in old factories, carparks, or online; we cross-dress and come out as gay politicians and church ministers; we run marathons at 60, 70 and 80, or ski with a disability; we successfully manage companies as women and successfully raise children as men, we drop out of the capitalist market and make and swap our own clothes and food;we buy ethical products, and we build amazing tiny houses because the big ones have become too expensive. We improvise and play around every time we interact with others, and this gives us agency. We can change ourselves. We can change others. We can change society.

But it takes time.

Our interactions can free us, but they can also reinforce what is already there. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu observed that even our improvised habits are structured by society, and form a system of conscious and unconscious prescribed actions he called a habitus. How to say hello, whether to burp, or when to observe the etiquette of sitting at a table or driving a car; we collectively shape, reinforce and build these habitus through repeated interactions with each other. They eventually become the norms and even institutions (or structures) of our society. However, Bourdieu stresses the collectively improvised origins of these structures means that they are always at least a little bit flexible, and they can change over time.

It’s like a river flowing through a desert. A billion water droplets have no choice but to flow through the pre-existing path of the riverbed. However, over time, some of those droplets will spill this way and that, carve out new rivulets and channels, and eventually change the entire path of the river altogether. We can change society, and help each others to change it, a little bit every day – but only a little bit.

And it is important that we think and reflect on what we do. Unlike water, we have the capacity to be aware of where we flow as a human river, and to try and alter the path deliberately, adjusting for the influences and fluctuations in the social structures around us. The British sociologist Anthony Giddens describes this as reflexivity, or taking account of how society affects us in trying to change it (and ourselves), rather than ignoring or disregarding its influence. He is optimistic that this gives us the greatest agency in leading our lives and changing society.

What do you think? How much agency do you have? Can you change yourself? Can you change society?

#S103UOW16 #Tut4

Posted in SOC103 - Introduction to Sociology, Tutorial 4, UOW.

57 Comments on Can we change society? Do we have ‘social agency’?

Lara Edmonds said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe individuals do possess limitations when change is required and one cannot truly ‘change themselves’. However I do believe individuals have the capacity to reinvent and develop themselves. Thus structures do uphold limitations on social agency. Agency is not possible due to the limitations structures impose- legally, ethically, culturally, ethically etc. Macinis & Plummer (2012) believe ‘every society changes continuously, intentionally or not, and at varying speeds. Social change often generates controversy.’ I agree with this statement in regards to change occurring on a societal and individual sense. For example older generations lack of ability to adapt to new technologies. The outcome of the change was different time periods of adaption and societal controversy. Therefore due to the evidence that not all structures in society have adapted to technology (technology being just one example), society can change also to an extent, but not as a whole.

Lyn Southwell said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Through social interaction we creatively construct reality using our ability to adapt in an instant, improvising an appropriate response depending on the audience, the environment and our experience. In my life I have witnessed many social changes and believe that with a determined mind and good health you can change your individual socio-economic status if you try hard enough and are willing to forgo some luxuries to do so. An active participant in our society who uses a sociological perspective can reassess old assumptions, see opportunities and restrictions that shape our lives and be an upwardly mobile citizen and become proactive in community issues and changes in society.

Raquel Fanke said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Changing society is something that requires individual's to decide, and to communicate this desire. It is an individual decision that also relies on the individual decisions of many others, therefore making it harder to be able to change society. Changing society can be limited as throughout our history there have been many occasions where certain groups of people are degraded. Social structures can be a barrier towards social change, as individuals are reducing their interaction with others, therefore limiting the amount of change possible.

Renee Andrade said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Whether we can change society is solely dependent on whether society is fulfilling the requirements that individuals desire, it is much harder to make a change in society because of conflicting morals of each individual. We can change society- not completely, but we can still educated and enforce ideas. In my opinion, change for society is limited by social structures. But in saying that, it is easier to change ourselves because we know what we want and what we believe in, these things might be influenced by social agencies, its still able to happen. Changing ourselves often leads to a change in society, they are intertwined. #SOC1033 #TUT4 #WED8:30

Anushi Jayawardena said : Guest Report 3 years ago

The dynamics of the structure of society changes accordingly with the actions of those in it. Society is constantly changing, yet it is a slow process as society needs to adapt to the ways in which the people change. This slow change is possible because of ‘social agency’, all humans are capable of making their own decision; however this change can only be done by society as a whole, an individual cannot change the dynamics of society. A change in social structure occurs when people deviate from the norm. The way in which one acts is determined by how they view themselves and how they think others perceive them. Humans are innately spontaneous beings, but society forces us to think about our actions and the consequences of them. Our thought processes are formed by societal structures which shape our ways of thinking. Hence as the Pierre Burdieu theory suggests, even though we believe that our decisions and our actions are our choice they are often simply a reflection of what society and its structures have taught humans. Therefore, if society controls our actions, how much control do we have over society? This is a question which cannot be answered as each one determines the other, and the change of society is a slow process. #SO103 #tut4 #tue1130

Koranith Rusakul said : Guest Report 3 years ago

We can change society but it will take a long time and not just only one people can change it. In my opinion, social agency is beginning of social structure. Everyone has social agency for example, cloths that you wear but this depend on will you be confidence and comfortable enough to do on your way. When you try to change society people will think that you are strange and weird such as Punk group who don't follow society trend and ideas. Social agency usually exist on celebrity and powerful people because they have a power to persuade people without people see them as a strange but for normal people, you can change society but it takes long to get people to accepts and follows #SOC103 #Tut4 #thu1730

Cassandra Grosso said : Guest Report 3 years ago

The ideology of structure vs Agency is increasingly interesting when you consider that we belong to numerous different social structures and institutions. For instance, we all have multiple combinations of social positioning such as: our socio-economic position, our cultural background and the different institutions we belong to all contributes to our evident individualised nature. If I look in a more personal context, I can understand that I am apart of the middle socio-economic class, with a catholic religion, a mix of Australian/Italian culture, and currently enrolled in University of Wollongong after being raised in a rural area. I am a combination of all of these different structures and institutions, which makes me inherently different to others in each of said social structures. This leads me to believe that we are more individualised/ have more 'Agency' than we truly realise. The link below provides and exceptional insightful piece by Stephen Billet named 'Relational Interdependence on Between Social and Individual Agency' which examines the correlation between the individual and society. This sheds light on a completely different aspect of such a debate. #SOC103 #Tut4 #Thu1730

Lara Acevedo said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I agree Helena,100 %,many people have self determination.And social constraints can hinder,but we have agency that drives some to look outside the box .At 46 ,an Aboriginal women and a sole parent. Society would say I dont have much of a chance to have a career and be sucessful.But my agency is self determination and giving my children what I did not have .

Emily said : Guest Report 3 years ago

#soc103UOW16 #Wed1730 #tut4

Jennifer Ridge said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Anyone has the ability to change society – however in some societies across the world, social structures limit individuals to create change, or to even have a voice. Living in the Australian society, almost everyone has an equal voice – giving us social agency. Social agency is also shown by each person’s behaviour, interaction, dress code and our lives in general – Australian’ have great social agency compared to others around the world. However, having social agency is only a small part in being able to change society and their structures. One must realise there have the confidence to speak out from the crowd and to defend their beliefs. To do this one resist the structures and norms created by society, and have the confidence to speak out. However, this is easier for us in our society than it is for others in developing countries, who have a limited voice, or none at all. Within my macro society, we have the power to resist, because we have freedom. Being able to change society all comes down to how brave someone is, and how far they are willing to go to create change. #SOC103UOW #tut4 #fri1530

Meredith said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Society does follow a river path however, similar to the river there will be small rivulets that stray from the main river. In the end though these small paths dry up. Personally I think society is what it is. I have no desire to change myself or the rest of society. As long as I live my life to the fullest and how I want to, that's all that matters. The small river of people branching out will eventually dry up and become non existent. Just because I am "going with the flow" doesn't mean I am the same as everybody else it simply means I choose not to make waves and start a new path that will inevitably dry up and cease to exist.

Ben Nelson @bgumnelson said : Guest Report 3 years ago

We are all 'unique' and have the ability to create change, however the monotony of day to day life set by social structures will stop this from occurring. There has always been, and always will be those amongst societies that are committed and determined for change, and alike there will be individuals who are too caught up in work and social structures to bend the norms and create it. We all have the potential for change, and it is possible to alter the 'flow' of human society on a large scale, however humans are busy, and lazy by nature and thus we will remain bound by social structures. #S103uow16 #tut4 #thu1130

Madoc Fielding said : Guest Report 3 years ago

"How much agency do you have?" Our ability for 'reflexivity' suggests that we have a great amount of social agency. Being able to evaluate ourselves, including our place within our immediate society, enables us to pinpoint the aspects of our individual lives that cause us discomfort or distraction. With motivation, we can challenge and change these aspects in order to create a better, more tailored lifestyle. The observation of this personal growth by others in similar society can spur the change onto becoming a societal norm over time. If successful, the structures of society accommodate the change and the habitus of the cohort will fit to match. It is usually forgotten that we as individuals are apart of the society in which we live. #s103uow16 #tut4 #thu1130

Jake Leavers said : Guest Report 3 years ago

We not only have the ability to change society, we ARE changing society. Society is an evolving entity, able to be influenced by the smallest of changes in attitude, understanding of another's situation and beliefs and understanding of the world around us. As individuals we do have the ability to change society, by voicing our opinions, we can change what other believe to be true, which in turn over time can have a flow on affect to even more people, eventually making a change to how the entire society around us believes things. We can definitely change ourselves, we as humans are constantly learning and expanding our knowledge, which changes the way we think and feel about certain things. #SOC103UOW16 # Tut4 # Wed1930

Hannah Kostoski said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I think that agency comes from awareness, compassion and the need for it. A person's choices are often/usually a reflection of social structure and their position in society, however objective thinking and motivation allow individuals to at least attempt to make a change. Mass social change is possible. I think that personally I do have the opportunity to contribute to agency. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Wed1330

Emily Stevenson said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe each and every person possesses an extraordinary amount of agency, it’s just how awakened they are to society around them, and whether or not they’re inspired enough to use it. Some people prefer to go with the flow of society. These are not the people who make change. I believe, as an individual, I change daily, and life and all of its experiences can shape who I become. However, I feel I have less regular change in society, and more so change in decades. As a young white woman, who isn’t “rolling in money” but isn’t living on the streets either, I am categorized. Put in a box in society that both empowers and limits me. Living in a beautiful, safe and secure country, but also still treated unequally as a woman (it’s just not always as obvious these days). So, can I change society? Little by little, yes. By seeing the world in every possible perspective. By understanding the people in it a little more every day. By being open. Accepting. Determined. Curious. Everyone has social agency, it’s just whether or not you choose to use it.

Carly Russell-White said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Individuals can change themselves which in turn changes society. Everyone has free will and the right to make their own choices. Though we still consciously and subconsciously conform with society and its cultural norms that are engrained into our everyday lives. In saying this, individuals do have agency to some extent. We can deliberately transform one’s life style and beliefs over time, encouraging others to do so. This slowly evolves society into different directions and notions of social structure. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Fri1530

Anthony Do or @AnthonyDostar said : Guest Report 3 years ago

As the famous philosopher Kean-Jacques Rousseau once declared "man is born free and everywhere he is in chains". Although we are born free, our personal beliefs and attitudes will always and inevitably be influenced by our environmental factors such as our family and our society which will affect whether or not we will carry out social agency. Thus, our capability of having social agency is limited by the social norms and structure imposed on us by our society. However, if we were to change society and exercise our social agency, we must be prepared to defy the social norms regardless of how we may appear others when doing so. Since our chances of exercising social agency is dependent upon what factors we would like to be changed and because not everyone is sitting on the same boat in terms of opinion, it is extremely difficult to make a difference within society. However as innately relationally born beings, we have the capacity to change ourselves and others through education, thus facilitating a collectively righteous and on-the-same-boat mindset and also society's propensity of exercising our social agency. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Wed830

Lara Acevedo said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Agree ! we have choice,some use it some conform.

Lara Acevedo said : Guest Report 3 years ago

We all have agency,the choice to do what we want when we want !!But we conform to social norms and values.This is due to expectation from social structure's.Agency can be taken from us, financially, bio medically or physically.But I feel we have self determination also.I think we can change ourselves and change society.It does not happen over night however .The quote ," If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." sums it up! .It is what motivates us and keeps society moving along.If no one had agency we would still be writing on stone,and living in caves.Guess this still happens somwhere in the world by choice but .

Jasmine Coleiro @jasmineelc said : Guest Report 3 years ago

The amount of agency an individual has is depended on the influences around them and how they are brought up and perceive the world. I agree to an extent with Berger and Luckman, we aren't robots. Us as humans have the capability to think independently and create our own societal norms. However our society is so used to routine and conformity because it's predictable. It's easy for individuals to follow societal norms and conform as they believe its the only way to feel accepted and also have a sense of companionship with others. I believe that we do have a little bit of social agency, even though we may be influenced by social structures. All individuals are unique and are able to make their own choices which makes them independent. Societal norms and social structures can not be changed by one person. There needs to be a collective amount of individuals to make change over a long period of time to see results in societal norms. I do believe that society is capable to change over time, because 50 years ago society was a lot different to what it is now. Id imagine in 50 years time in the future would be completely different as well. #tut4 #tues830

Alannah Talevski said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe our level of free will and social agency is determined by several factors such as our socioeconomic status, culture and age. For example, a 14 year old girl in India with strong cultural traditions will have limits on what she can do, and her influence upon the rest of society is also impacted. However, if you were to contrast this with a famous American teenager from a tv show, their example is more likely to be followed, giving them greater power to change society. Overall, I don't think we can entirely change society. That would require everyone to have the same beliefs and morals which is undoubtedly difficult to achieve. But I do believe that one individual can have the same level of influence on society as a group of 100 individuals. Through discovering themselves, they change, grow and learn. This is a vital experience to any human. We can only have some ability to change society if we set the example we wish for everyone to recreate. Like Ghandi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Tue1230

Leisa Shields said : Guest Report 3 years ago

#Tut4 #Tues1130A

Leisa Shields said : Guest Report 3 years ago

As individuals I believe we do not have the single capacity to make social change, we can influence change and have the social agency to make decisions that can prosper change. As a society to make a change, we need to be united to change the norms that exist. Society is influenced by the actions taken by us individuals and the decisions we make everyday. Despite the social structures that delegate how our society runs, these can be altered with enough power and fight for agency from individuals in different components of our society.

Matilda Harriman said : Guest Report 3 years ago

As individuals we are brought up to fit into social structures and taught how to establish a common ground for the ever changing norms, thus verifying ‘social agency’. Although, I believe that I am capable of changing myself over time with the confidence and support from other individuals doing the same. If each human being thinks and acts on the idea, then I also believe we can change society. Society is constantly altering and this all happens with one person’s decision. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Thu1530

Lachlan Pennisi said : Guest Report 3 years ago

In order to initiate change, we must as both individuals and as a collective society be provided with a series of events/situations which would warrant a necessity for change from our pre-established social structures and social norms. Our acts of deterrence or level of social agency is dependent upon our perceptions of our current social environment and its potential positive/negative effects it has on our lifestyles. The likelihood of an event which would implement this need for social revolution which would subsequently lead to this desired change is inconceivable and would render individual attempts of social agency futile. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Fri1530 @PennisiLachlan

Chris Sargent @Chris_Sargent_ said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe that we have the power to change ourselves, but for an individual to change an entire society is rare. Throughout history there have been many examples of people changing their societies both for good, and for bad for example, Nelson Mandela, Hitler and Martin Luther King. All of these people were individuals that played a huge part in changing their societies, however in everyday life it is the actions of many individuals going against the social norms and social structures we experience daily. #S103UOW16 #Tue1230b #Tut4

Katrina Azzopardi said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe that there are so many people who can't live thier lives freely because they feel the need to "stick to social agency". People like to fit in somewhere and so they manipulate themselves to fit into these structures and stereotypes we call "agency". As individuals we do have the capacity to break away from these norms but we choose not to because they bring us a sense of calm and familiarity. Society is forever changing and so therefore social norms and social agency will also change

Alex Harrison said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe as individuals we do have the potential and ability to change the social structures of society. We do have limitations placed upon us, meaning that it can be quite difficult to enforce change on a larger scale, but this shouldn't stop us from wanting to make small changes and to see the impact that that will create later on in society. For example, age, gender, race, class, sexual orientation in the past would define what we were able to achieve. But as we can see today, people both individually and with like minded people slowly created change. Social structures do have ongoing influences upon us, but together we can aim towards the same goals, then our intended outcome is bound to start taking shape in the future. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Tues1130

kyle williams said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Everyone has a level of social agency, the ability to whether or not an individual can make change relies on the capacity of an individual to free themselves from structures or other factors aside and make a free choice, the structures in which we formulate in can limit our views and have the ability to hinder an individual. I believe my ability to make free choices is high due to my social structures being supportive strong and open to the ideals that change is inevitable and a part of growing, in terms of changing a society I believe to be an extreme challenge that can possibly done over a long period of time, enough time to counteract each specific individuals level of agency , ability to change and willingness to change. #S103UOW16 #TUT4 #tue930

Eamon Flint-Peterson said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Changing society is definitely possible with notable differences in society compared to 1 year through to hundreds of years in the past. As an individual it is hard to change society, however if an individual forms a following or group with shared belief in an idea they have greater chance of changing society. Social norms are "norms" for a reason, they are what is considered normal in society and most people naturally follow them in either fear of being different or because it is easier to do so than to challenge them. Every individual has social agency and the ability to do things differently in doing so changing not only their own lives but also society and perhaps even social norms. within the past 100 years both women and men have changed views in society of going to the beach as strange and uncommon. Swimwear was once considered to be too revealing and now society has activities at the beach in swimwear as a popular activity throughout summer. This is just one example of how social change has occurred as the actions and views of few have led society into following suit and completely changing the views of how revealing clothing can be and also where to spend time throughout a hot day. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #tue1130

Charlee Michel said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Social structures determine how we can pursue our social agency. Unfortunately some structures govern our lives without question, and therefore individuals only have so much room to make a change in a particular subject within society. Although it is through the social agency in which we have the capacity to change something, that we can use our own minds and beliefs to alter the society around us. I believe that this brings in an element of ones sociological imagination, where by the way in which we see society around us as individuals helps us to determine what aspects we CAN change along with what aspects we WANT to change or NEED to change. The problem we face today is having enough social agency to be heard in order to make a change. Like the river analogy, majority of society are those droplets that have no choice but to go with the flow, while only a small amount of droplets are the ones who can make the new channels, even then these channels will never be as powerful as the original river - meaning individuals with enough agency to make a change will never have enough power to alter the main makeup of society. But it is also evident, as pointed out that little changes don’t go unnoticed, e.g. the move towards a vegan society where animal cruelty is eliminated is just one way in which a particular group in society are using their agency to change the way we consume food, but then again this group is still not big enough to change the majority of society. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Fri1030

Dylan Peppernell @DylanPepper6 said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Agency is as powerful as the individual, but that individuals power can either be suppressed or enhanced by societal structure. For example, a house-wife preaching for marriage equality may not have as much power as a state premier to get the law passed, but in turn for that premier to recognise the need for change, they have to hear their society - which is comprised of individuals. So despite differences such as gender, race, age or class, individuals have the power to be heard and call for change to meet their collective needs and the more individuals means the more power. So yes, we can change society and an individuals agency grows in strength with the amount of individuals striving towards the same goal, whether it be to for or against societal structures. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Tue1530

Sarah Fletcher said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Society can be changed as we have witnessed it over the decades, but this change comes about with time and when like minded individuals come together to initiate this. We all have the power to change society but its how willing we are to break away from the "norm", as many of us have the fear of becoming alienated from social and peer groups. To an extent social structures determine a major part of how we interact and behave in many situations, all influenced by what type of community you were raised in. If individuals did not challenge and break away from social structures, most of us would not be as understanding an open minded as we many of us may be, these people who are brave enough to do this give the rest of us courage and the confidence to follow. It only takes one magnificent mind to lead a domino affect. So in saying this, yes we can form and sculpt society and change social structures it just comes down to passion and fearlessness. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Wed830

Cirwun Brittain said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Yes I believe we can change society. I think all individuals have the chance to change society with their thoughts, minds and actions and if you put everything in you can cause change with the help of other individuals which turn into groups of people wanting change. Social structures determine our behaviours and lifestyle and how we live. Yes we do have social agency. We have the ability to change as individuals to make your own free choices the same as society, you have the chance to change it based on social class, religion, gender and culture as just some examples. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Wed1730

Cirwun Brittain said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Yes I believe we can change society. I think all individuals have the chance to change society with their thoughts, minds and actions and if you put everything in you can cause change with the help of other individuals which turn into groups of people wanting change. Social structures determine our behaviours and lifestyle and how we live. Yes we do have social agency. We have the ability to change as individuals to make your own free choices the same as society, you have the chance to change it based on social class, religion, gender and culture as just some examples.

Abby dominello @97abbydom said : Guest Report 3 years ago

As well learnt that social Structures determine what be do, our behaviours and life style to a certain extent, can we change them ? of course we can, maybe not completely but we can slightly modify society by simply educating peoples ideas on what society actually is and influencing them to learn more, the more people know the more people are aware and thats when changes will happen. We are in charge of our actions, we just have to be more conscious of what we do and reflect on our actions. Simple actions like walking and coughing aren't influenced by these so called 'structures' its thing that are stated like buying a smaller house cause the big ones are too expensive this decision is influenced by the economy structure and is out of your control you can't change the price of the house but you can strive to be able to afford that house and make changes in your life style. e.g saving or tweaking work life.

Brett Hay said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Society itself is comprised of individuals, and as Erving Goffman and Pierre Bourdieu state that life is improvised, and even in those drastic changes from social norm, habits and tendencies are improvised and influenced by the society that we exist in. For the reason, society can change. Social change begins with one individual. Be the change you want to see in the world, and as relatable as the flow of river in the desert; people like droplets will change course every now and then, and over time each small change makes a difference. Little changes in how you treat yourself and others will eventually cause a ripple effect. By that, you will influence people indirectly. #SOC103UOW16 #Thurs1130 #tut4

Jessica Thomas @thomasj1914 said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Social structures present in society can restrict us to live our lives a certain way. This can be interpreted as a good and/or bad thing, as the social structures lay out a plan for us to follow. However, we can choose to resist and change this because we have free will. Despite the evidence of habitus, we (as individuals) can be aware of our actions and influences. If I so choose to change myself I could, but that would require a lot of will power as I would be going against what is viewed as ‘normal’ to me. I believe we have social agency, this can be shown through our day-to-day actions of how we choose behave, how we dress, how we interact and our general lifestyle. An individual’s life can in turn change some aspects of society. For example: Martin Luther King was one person who wished to resist the social norms of his society’s context and through his actions of resistance, other people rose up. Therefore, if we all continue following the norm of social patterns in society, the social structure won’t necessarily change. #S103UOW16 #Wed1530 #Tut4

Soha Mehrkhavari said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Society initially was constructed from our individual capacities, we developed the social structures, and we allowed the bureaucratic institutions to obtain power and control over our social lives. If we were able to achieve this through collectivism, why cant we use this same method to change or alter what we originally built. Each individual contributes different forms of social agency to the functions and structures within society, therefore we can be flexible, innovative, and optimistic towards bringing new change in how norms, morals, and values are accepted by society. #SOC103UOW16 #Tut4 #Wed1730

Helena Gliatis said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Our ability to create change and a sense of self that is non conformist and independent is based on how willing we are to challenge and resist the norms of society. I believe that society constructs the way we think and behave to an extent but we choose who we want to be and how we do things in the end. Depending on how brave a determined a individual is then they may be able to create change.

Laura said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I think as humans we like to believe social agencies do not define us but to some extend we have no say. If you are 70 years of age, society will class you as an elderly person, whether you feel young or not. At some stage we are all classed, by choice or involuntarily. Other agencies such as gender roles etc. can be changed, have been changed, and I strongly believe they will continue to change as the opinions, values and moral of society continue to change. Despite a social norm existing, I agree in saying that these norms can be altered with time. It is not an individual effort however. One person's change in thinking can not change how society operates, but can encourage a chain reaction, and therefore actions will follow. #SOC103UOW16 #Tut4 #Wed1730

Ruth Emmanuel said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Societal norms are mostly man made constitutions, continually reinforced to create social order. Changing society is possible, but this can mostly be done through the social hierarchy. Social hierarchy is the ranking of individuals within the society according to their social influences. it is easy to think that one cannot impact change on society due to its overwhelming capacity and history, but the effectiveness of change can be determined through introduction- Who passes these changes and how they are reinforced. We all have agency, as this what creates the determination for change. #S327UOW16 #Tut4 #Tue1230

Ryan Martinez said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe a single person has as much agency as they allow themselves to have. If you are confident enough in your beliefs and views on particular circumstances and stand up for them while influencing others as well, your agency could have serious long term effects if maintained over time. One also has the ability to change themselves as well. We are not born as one definite thing. We age, we experience, we grow. With this constant change, different perspectives and thoughts grow within us, and whether or not we choose to act upon them and make them part of ourselves is dependent on that particular person. Society can be changed by a singular person and their belief, because chances are, you are not the only person to see that one thing that way you do, and if you find others who share this view, the chain effect will allow your idea and action to make a difference.

Rhonelle South said : Guest Report 3 years ago

As much as we improvise and slowly work at building our personal construct of ‘self’ (Mead), we are constantly being changed and shaped via our interactions with others, and by structures within society. The more economic, social and cultural capital I accumulate (Bourdieu) the greater influence I will have on imposing my personal and social agency. As I transition through the changing sequencing and phasing of my ‘life course’ (Macionis & Plummer p217) on the quest to achieve my socially constructed reality, my accumulated capital will afford me greater means to successfully construct my personal biography. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Bbay Rhonelle South Twitter@rs807.

Isabelle Horne said : Guest Report 3 years ago

From the day we are born we are manicured to fit into societies norm and preached with ideas of the way the world and society should be proving the evident social agency. Despite all this I do have the power to change myself, but will it really be that easy with society on my back questioning my change and trying to bring me back. I can also change society; it takes time but if one person listens they will tell another two, whom will then tell another four and so on. Society has changed drastically over the years and its all been sparked from an idea from an individual. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Fri1530 @isabelle_horne

Kayla Moody said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Within the western culture we are fortunate to be able to have freedom of speech, make our own marriage choices etc., however I believe that our social agency is also as if we are clones of one another, to fit into societies 'norm.' I believe unless the society is willing to make change effectively that it will happen over time as society is evolutionary and has changed over the years. I believe I could change myself based on changing morals and the way I let the environment around me impact on me. Therefore, I would have to think more about what is right for me rather than what somebody else says is normal and right. #tut2 #thurs1730

Cherise Lomas @CheriseLomas said : Guest Report 3 years ago

#S103UOW16 #tut4 #Fri0930

Cherise Lomas @CheriseLomas said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I really enjoyed this Blog it got me thinking, I believe as individuals we all have Agency we have the capacity to act independently and make our own choices, we live in a country that to an extent allows us to have a voice. Change is is not ineviatible it just in my opinion takes baby steps, just like the example of the river flowing through the desert, we all at one stage follow the same social structures for example social media, but it only takes one or two people to decide they want to make change happen and slowly that will progress, if people are like minded and have the same drive and passion change can in my eyes happen.

Karissa Zantiotis said : Guest Report 3 years ago

As individuals we have always made decisions based upon our beliefs and values from the way we were brought up and taught. We are able to decide for ourselves what we believe is best and this is social agency. Although we all have social agency it does not mean we are able to change the society in which we live because it takes more than one person to make huge changes or differences. Each person has a unique opinion and unless you get everybody to have the same view and to try to implement that change it will be very difficult to make a difference within society. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #fri1030

Nathaniel Caires said : Guest Report 3 years ago

The question on whether can we change society is dependent on our personal view of what society is and whether or not we chose to defy the social norms. Our personal beliefs and attitudes contribute greatly on the effects of society and how we as individuals react to the pressures to "fit in", it makes it difficult to change society solely however we can change the views and perceptions of what society really is and how it influences our daily rituals. Social structure is significant in maintaining a somewhat guideline for us to follow, this particular guidance can be adapted to each individual therefore making it an appropriate fit for them. Opportunity to change society is dependent on what factors we feel need to be changed, it is unlikely that as individuals we can change society as a whole, however we can create an adaptation of what society is and shape what surrounds us. #S103UOW16 #Tut2 #wed10:30

Charlotte Abbott said : Guest Report 3 years ago

As human beings we have been brought up to make our own decisions on what we believe and how we think the world should run showing we do have a social agency. Through out the years we see a ever changing society, from how people dress depending on brands etc. We've seen how technology has advanced and change the way communities all over the world each other and the advancement in the way people work. All shows that with time people have the ability to not only shape ourselves but the society in which we live in. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #fri1030

Erin Halloran said : Guest Report 3 years ago

The idea or notion of agency is quite accommodating to the needs of the individual. We are all people who would prefer to be seen and treated unlike others, however a level of consciousness must be involved in determining exactly how unique we really are. Honesty with ones self must also be employed and at times this is very difficult. We need to take a step back and observe ourselves through another’s eyes or from another perspective. Often times I have felt individual or unique and as though I am contributing to a positive social change by being so. Now however upon reflection I can see that more often than not I was purely a representation of the part of society I had chosen to resonate with. This works in with the above-mentioned Pierre Burdieu theory and that even though we strive for our interactions to be of choice they are often simply reinforcing our society and its structures. So how much control do we have? This is a question I am unable to answer at this stage and I believe I may never be able to answer. As society will change so too will I, this does not mean that I do not have agency it simply means I am yet to understand how to make a real difference over time. Changing myself is ongoing but so is society in its changes- there is no constant. I look forward to further exploring exactly what this means for me personally and how much my environment and world has shaped who I am today. Maybe one day I will be able to reflect upon times where I initiated change that took an effect on society rather than the other way around. #S103UOW16 #Tut4

Samantha Granger @SamanthaGrang10 said : Guest Report 3 years ago

If the structures that maintain social order do not satisfy the needs of the community change occurs as the structure holding together society must meet the new needs of its people. It is in instances where the social structure is not meeting the needs of a person that deviance from social norms occurs and individuals embrace their ‘individuality’ until the very thing that makes them ‘unique’ in their society is embraced by the changing structure and social order is restored. #S103UOW16 #Tut4 #Wed630

Shannon Conner said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe as individuals we can change ourselves and then work together to change society. Although it would be hard to change the structure of society, slowly I think individuals could make a difference. And yes we do have social agency, we have the capability as individuals to make our own decisions.

Andrew Stevens SOC103 UOW Shoalhaven T2 said : Guest Report 3 years ago

I believe that I only have a small capacity to change social structure. (social agency). My progression in society is limited because of wealth, age, my social networks, being middle class and my education is currently limited. It is difficult to move out of the middle class. However, I intend to change things in a small way by having a non-racists attitude and believing in equality between male and female, and having a tolerant attitude and understanding towards all people.

Eliza said : Guest Report 3 years ago

Societies structure, it can limit what we percive to be possible but it can also dare us to defy the social norms and to be different. We can be successful business women but its alot harder to progress in an environment where men are seen to be superior and rise faster and take up the majority of the managerial roles. There is a glass ceiling, an unacknowledged barrier to advancement that affect womens and other minorities. Social structure is important in order for society to function, without structure there would be chaos. These are some of the limitations that social structure has placed on women.We can change society by means of education #S103UOW #tut #tues930

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