Structure and Agency in understanding work and leisure - Essay Example

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As an introduction to the social subjects of work and leisure, it is of utmost importance to recognize the perpetual debates that have been on the rise in the recent decades. The most captivating of them all, has been the debate on the impacts of agency or structure of work or leisure in offering a shape to human behavior…
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Structure and Agency in understanding work and leisure
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Download file to see previous pages Consequently, structure plays a major role in limiting the number of choices as well as the opportunities available to an individual. This debate on the role of structure and agency in the context of work or leisure would be likened to the debate on, “Nature and nurture.”
The debates attempts to question what forms the basis of an individual’s identity. On one hand, the debate suggests that it is the individual’s nature (physiology), while on the other hand, the debate proposes socialization (nurture), as the basic ingredient for making an individual’s identity (Hodkinson, Gert & David, 2008). In contrast therefore, the debate on the structure against agency, may be interpreted as one expressing the role of socialization and autonomy in the process of determining if an individual is to make basic decisions autonomously or succumb to the influence of social structure (Loader, 1998). Part one of this paper therefore, attempts to compare and contrast the concepts of structure and agency through the use of examples that demonstrates their role in understanding work or leisure (Adams, 2006).
The concepts of agency in sociology have been employed to answer a plethora of questions that aim at seeking clarity on the components of the social world (Hodkinson, Gert & David, 2008). Various sociological scholars have made successfully convincing assertions that structure and agency influence a societal hierarchy and other components of existence of individual lives. Furthermore, social theorists have also made conclusive statements through extensive social research activities, that not only the social structure that influences human behavior, but also the agency (Adams, 2006). Applying the concepts of structure and agency in understanding of work or leisure as vital components of societal existence, each concept presents a different idea of work or leisure in the society (Hodkinson, Gert & David, 2008). To begin with the agency, which offers a full comprehension of its provisions as one that grants an individual the free will to make decisions, a wider spectrum of knowledge of both work and leisure comes over (Adams, 2006). Since the ideas of both work and leisure are based on an individual’s choice, agency offers the freedom of choice that is requisite for an enjoyable session during such activities (Hodkinson, Gert & David, 2008). Many people who take part in various work and leisure activities require absolute freedom to effectively make choices of what to do in order to produce the best results. In a nutshell, the meaning of leisure or work, based on the concept of agency, would be understood as an activity that which is purely influenced by an individual’s perception and attitudes (Loader, 1998). However, the perceptions and attitudes are often subject to influence from the general environmental and cultural factors (Adams, 2006). Based on such individual perceptions and attitudes influenced majorly by environmental and cultural factors, work and leisure show multiplicity of meaning (Mowl & John, 1995). Leisure, for instance, would be understood as a collection of activities which are aimed at providing a relaxing environment for the mind (Loader, 1998). People often require such relaxing environments to provide breaks after vigorous activities over a given period of time. In ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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