Agency and structure: Interpreting power relationships

  title={Agency and structure: Interpreting power relationships},
  author={Keith Dowding},
  journal={Journal of Power},
  pages={21 - 36}
  • K. Dowding
  • Published 26 March 2008
  • Philosophy
  • Journal of Power
Many of the debates over the ‘true’ nature of power relationships concern the importance given to agents or to structures in describing those relationships. Writers who discuss the power structure or system tend to concentrate upon structures; those who write about the power of agents or power relationships tend to concentrate upon actors. The agency‐structure relationship goes deep into many seemingly different issues in very different approaches to power. I argue that whilst the agency… 

Climate change and power: Isn't it all about politics?

Politics is crucial to understand collective and individual responses to climate change. However, power dynamics are difficult to formalize, quantify or grasp empirically. This, and perhaps the

Where Are the Institutions? The Limits of Vivien Schmidt's Constructivism

  • S. Bell
  • Economics
    British Journal of Political Science
  • 2012
I welcome the opportunity to respond to Vivien Schmidt’s thoughtful views on my article. This is an important debate about institutional theory and how we explain institutional change. Yet,

The Power of Ideas: The Ideational Shaping of the Structural Power of Business

It is now widely accepted that the classic arguments regarding the “structural power” of business are too “structuralist.” Subsequent research has focused on a widening array of independent variables

Power: Toward a Unifying Analytical Framework

An organic synthesis of the foundational paradigms of social sciences is proposed as a starting point for understanding power, which avoids key ontological and epistemological fallacies and methodological difficulties that have saddled existing definitions of power, thus facilitating a better understanding about power.

Power theories in political ecology

Power plays a key role in definitions of political ecology. Likewise, empirical studies within this field tend to provide detailed presentations of various uses of power, involving corporate and

Managing Resources in Community Schools: An Accountability Practice in Paradox

  • K. P. Khanal
  • Political Science
    Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology
  • 2019
Scholars have raised two contradictory issues of particular relevance to current debates of accountability in the utilization of resources for service delivery in public schools. First, that

Power, Capability and Ableness: The Fallacy of the Vehicle Fallacy

Sen's capabilities are reducible to individual power. Morriss's important distinction between ability and ableness is pertinent to the correct analysis of measuring capabilities. Morriss argues

The Prime Ministerialisation of the British Prime Minister

The presidentialisation of the prime minister thesis should be expunged from political science vocabulary. To the extent that the forces identified by those who pursue the thesis exist, they do not

Soft power: the evolution of a concept

  • J. Nye
  • Economics
    Journal of Political Power
  • 2021
ABSTRACT In this paper, I respond to the editors request that I look back on the concept of soft power that I first published in 1990. I describe my approach to power; explain the origins of the soft



Rational Choice and Political Power

Rational Choice and Political Power is a classic text republished with two new chapters. It critiques the three dimensions of power showing that we can explain everything the dimensions are

Power and Political Institutions

  • T. Moe
  • Economics
    Perspectives on Politics
  • 2005
Rational choice theory tends to view political institutions as structures of voluntary cooperation that resolve collective action problems and benefit all concerned. Yet the political process often

Three-Dimensional Power: A Discussion of Steven Lukes' Power: A Radical View

Lukes' third dimension of power exists where people are subject to domination and acquiesce in that domination. The intentional stance allows us to predict and explain others' behaviour in ways that

Morphogenesis versus structuration: on combining structure and action. 1982.

  • M. Archer
  • Sociology
    The British journal of sociology
  • 2010
The fundamental problem of linking human agency and social structure stalks through the history of sociological theory. Basically it concerns how to develop an adequate theoretical account which

Power: A Philosophical Analysis

When it first appeared, Power: A philosophical analysis was the first full-length attempt to analyse, in a philosophically rigorous way, what we mean when we talk about power. This revised second

The art of political manipulation

In twelve entertaining stories from history and current events, a noted political scientist and game theorist shows us how some of our heroes we as well as ordinary folk have manipulated their

The Intentional Stance.

How are we able to understand and anticipate each other in everyday life, in our daily interactions? Through the use of such "folk" concepts as belief, desire, intention, and expectation, asserts

The Authoritarian Personality, 50 Years Later: What Questions Are There for Political Psychology?

Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, and Sanford's The Authoritarian Personality is probably the most deeply flawed work of prominence in political psychology. The methodological, procedural, and

Manipulatory Politics

normally live with a failed theory in science by making suitable corrections and qualifications and there is a reasonable chance to reform or transcend it, most people at least in the Western World

The concept of power

What is “power”? Most people have an intuitive notion of what it means. But scientists have not yet formulated a statement of the concept of power that is rigorous enough to be of use in the