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Agency-Structure Integration

One of the most important developments in recent European social theory has been the move toward an integration of agency and structure theories and theorists. This development parallels the rise of interest found in (generally) American sociology in the micro-macro integration. There are, however, important differences to be noted.

Agency, although it generally refers to microlevel actors, can also refer to macrolevel collectives that act. In other words, any social being, whether an individual or a collective, can be considered to have agency. Similarly, structure, although it usually refers to macrolevel structures, can also refer to microlevel phenomena, such as human interaction. Thus, the definition of both structure and agency can refer to either micro- or macro-level phenomena.

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