September 23, 2012

understanding agency

While writing our papers on the agency paradox I have finally come to a better understanding of what agency is now compared to how we first described it in the beginning as one practical definition that agency is the condition or state of being that includes power.  Thanks to both of Campbell’s essays and Barton’s essay I finally understand that agency cannot be just one thing because it changes every time do to what situation arises sometimes changing in one situation to fit the needs of everything.  Like how Campbell describes agency as “1) communal and participatory, hence, both constituted and constrained by externals that are material and symbolic; 2) is ‘invented’ by authors who are points of articulation; 3) emerges in artistry or craft; 4) is effected through form; and 5) is perverse, that is, inherently, protean, ambiguous, open to reversal.” (Campbell, 2) Recognizing now that agency can be all of these different things I can better understand what the agency is in Barton’s essay, the ads themselves, and Campbell’s feminist essay the agency for those women that wanted equality is perhaps their feminist style, a craft learning skill.

I say this because at the time it was a new way to speak that hadn’t been done before and it was a way for them to effectively being about their ideas and style. Even going back to the first week of school with the mishka singing dog video I would believe that youtube would be the agency and mishka is the agent. However, this is where the multiple definitions of agency throws me. With this I mean that since you can have more than one meaning of the word or multiple agencies all together I start getting confused. My mind doesn’t seem to work in a way that comprehends that it is ever changing unless someone points out what the multiple agencies or even agents are for that matter.  I like the idea that something has one true definition, which is probably why I always liked math so much, so when you start saying that there is more than one thing that belongs to a definition I start to get confused.

I know that I started off this writing saying that I understand what agency is and for the moat part I do. When going over the readings or cases in class I can clearly understand what is going on all though it may take a while to fully comprehend the situation. It’s once I get out of class, though, that I start to get confused on what is what, not so much with the essays that we did in class; it’s the that we read out of class that confuse me, at least until we discuss them.

1 comment:

Rdexheimer said...

Interesting, even though I'm doing the other SCDs, I feel similarly that agency is in many ways a relative concept. We can't simply ask ourselves "What is agency?" but we have to say "What is agency with respect to X." Whether we define agency as a power or a capacity, agency must nonetheless be exercised over some subject or some thing. I will still openly admit that my views on agency are not entirely settled. While I definitely feel that I've come to appreciate agency as a multifaceted concept, I think that it still has even more depth to be explored.

One interesting aspect of agency is that it seems to be a reciprocative relationship. Rhetoricians do not merely exercise agency over their audiences, but audiences also seem to project their own agency onto works (Ecoporn). Really I think this question of agency could make a very interesting premise for a seminar class.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.