To that extent do you agree with the contention that individuals have no agency in shaping everyday geographies?
Human agency is a term used to describe whether or not people have the “freedom to act or whether their actions are constrained” (Johnston et al, 2010). When discussing this term in reference to everyday geographies it is important to note that they may be constrained by “structural forces” this is also known as structuration. Taking the two terms agency and structure into account I am going to discuss to what extent I think individuals have no agency in shaping everyday geographies and point out the connection and relationship between both terms.
In the past human agency was limited by a number of structural forces, it wasn’t until the late 1950’s and 1960’s that the introduction of “spatial science” gave people a “decision making agent”. The first example of the agency of an individual is regarding gender. Gender is a great example of ways in which the agency of an individual can be impacted or constrained by some form of structure. It was in the 1960’s, at the time of the feminist movement that this became most obvious. Before this time there were many attempts to change the agency of women to give them equal rights to men. It has been noted that feminist activist have been “instrumental in attempting to explain how patriarchal systems of power have tended to reinforce main dominance” (Daniels et al, 2008). Women at this time were placed in the home and were expected to perform certain roles e.g. washing, cleaning, cooking etc. “it is women who have been traditionally charged with making and maintaining the home” (Valentine, 1985) This shows how women were constrained in their agency as they didn’t have the option of going out to work and earning money, which was seen to be the male’s occupation, not to be taken over by women.
The scale in which this occurs ranges from local to national. Local examples of a women’s agency being constrained...