Structure vs. Agency Debate Essay

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This essay proposes to critically discuss the conflict between the two opposing student groups towards the end of the film “The Wave” in light of the structure agency debate. While this conflict can be analyzed under several themes such as historical background, the critical theme which will be analyzed is the affect of structure and agency in shaping social groups. The structure – agency debate question is to what extent people (social groups) are determined by social forces (structure) and to what extent do individuals choose their fate or life path (agency). There are many social forces at work in shaping both identity and society. Structure and agency are viewed as major social forces at work in shaping society. Through the course of this critique, arguments for and against will be put forward and evaluated with particular reference to the movie “The Wave”. In this essay I hope to demonstrate how both structure and agency work together in shaping social groups or individuals.

In order to analyze structure and agency we need to examine the various social concepts of society. According to Giddens we need to examine our actions and our existence by taking a wider perspective of what we as what is normal, inevitable, good or true may not be so and that the norms specified by us are strongly influenced by historical context and social forces (Giddens, 2006). We need to cultivate the imagination by using sociological imagination. Giddens claims that although we are influenced by the social context in which we live, our behavior is not specifically determined by those contexts. We are thinking as individuals who play an important role in creating our own individuality. Giddens believes that “our activities both structure our social world and at the same time are structured by them” (Giddens, 2006:8). In the movie “The Wave” we see how a girl is influenced initially by the energy of the social group but how agency interacted to retain her individuality. This is seen...

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