How Do Ideas Of Structure And Agency Enable Us To Understand The Degree Of Freedom People Enjoy In Our Society

2035 words - 9 pages

How do ideas of structure and agency enable us to understand the degree of freedom people enjoy in our society

Freedom as in the ability, right and power to think, act or say what one wishes is the thing that humanity shares and will strive towards having, the right to make one’s own decisions and govern one’s own life. Through history there has been example of this struggle for freedom has been splashed across its pages, whether it be the freedom to advance in your think like those members of the enlightenment movement of the 18th and 19th century, or the right of governing oneself or choosing representation to govern over yourself. This right was seen as the prerogative of all men, it ...view middle of the document...

A person may have the urge or desire to do something but be unable to not because of physical impediment or something as trivial as not having the money to do so but due to sociological and psychological obstruction. Locke’s ‘sovereign individual’(1690) would be the used to highlight what is expressed as freewill; the common understanding of sovereign is monarchy and rule however, sovereignty and in this case ‘sovereign individual’ means to process the power the rule one’s own life. Sovereign individual is the individual having the ultimate power over the individual.

Agency in context to freewill goes deeper in what may limit the individuals freewill though not necessarily their freedom, yes we have the power over our lives however many other factors may influence a decision whether rational or not in the doing what we want to do. It is not just simply a yes or no scenario; much more thought must go into the decision. Why is this?

Culture, rational thinking and deviance can be used to answer this question. What a person desires may conflict with these issues and although we may want something our consciousness would kick into gear and suppress these urges and desire; in doing so limiting our freewill. This is best described by Sigmund Freud description of the ego and superego. As founder of psychoanalysis his theory a “practical effort is required to tame sexual and aggressive instincts. Freud suggested that these instincts are never tamed but ‘repressed’ and driven into our subconscious. Thus they are kept in limbo by the superego as the internalized knowledge of demands and pressures exerted by the group” (Z. Bauman & T. May 2001 P: 23). Doing what may seem natural to us requires some effort and practice and we do it because of the pressure we receive from our social group and network.

In society, there are rules and behaviour that are expected in each social group. Rules are laws that govern, advise and dictate, what is the accepted and proper conduct within a group and in turn shows what is considered deviant. These rules are set depending on culture and a consensus with that social group. Norm and value of a social group, could limit a person’s freedom and choice in certain situation. For instance religion whether it is Islam or Christianity or any other belief or faith, each denomination and group has its own set of rule and within those groups, subgroups with its own rules. A clear example is the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism, where Protestantism has some difficulty expecting the holy trinity Catholicism does not expect or allow divorce and abortion.

Even in peer groups and a collective of teenage child can it be found that, the minority will adapt and conform with the majority is a desire to belong and be expected by the group, in using this explain it show more predominately how membership in a group may limit freedom and choice, after all almost everyone is well aware of the pressure experienced during...

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