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52 Examples of Human Agency

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Human agency is the capacity of individuals to shape their own life and to influence the social world. This is an important element of sociology where some sociological perspectives such as conflict theory present the masses as having very little agency whereby they are hapless victims of power structures and the "elite." The following are common examples of human agency.
Acquiring and mastering skills
Acquiring experience such as work experience
Activism
Agent of change – pushing change forward
Building relationships
Challenging assumptions
Challenging norms
Choosing a career
Choosing a job
Collaborating
Cooperating
Debates in social media
Donating to charity
Engaging in competition
Engaging in debate
Exercising rights and freedoms
Forming theories
Getting an education
Improving performance
Improving your lifestyle
Influencing at work
Influencing strategy, decisions and policy
Initiating change
Inventing new value
Leading
Making friends
Personal choices
Political donations
Producing media
Promoting a cause
Promoting an idea
Promotions at work
Protests
Public speaking
Purchasing choices
Pursuing hobbies and interests
Pursuing personal growth
Research projects
Resisting change
Rising in social hierarchies
Risk taking
Saving and investing
Seeking formal authority
Seeking management positions
Seeking social inclusion and connectedness
Seeking social status
Starting a business
Starting a family
Supporting others
Volunteering
Voting
Working to build income and wealth
Conflict theory and related academic approaches such as postmodernism present the masses as having little or no agency and the "elite" as having near total agency. Other sociological perspectives such as rational choice theory present society as a struggle or competition where everyone potentially influences things.
Overview: Human Agency
Type
Definition
The capacity of individuals to shape their own life and to influence the social world.
Related Concepts
Next read: Examples of Sociological Perspectives

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