Structure, Agency, and..Energy?!

technology changes structures in ways completely unanticipated and unwanted

“Man becomes, as it were, the sex organs of the machine world, as the bee of the plant world, enabling it to fecundate and to evolve ever new forms. The machine world reciprocates man’s love by expediting his wishes and desires, namely, in providing him with wealth.” – Marshall McLuhan, 1964

“The technology is the independent variable, the social system the dependent variable. Social systems are therefore determined by systems of technology; as the latter change, so do the former.” – Leslie White, 1949

The role between the structure of cultural systems and the agency of the actors within them has received a great deal of attention in the anthropological literature since the 1990s. Although we know that most people are constrained by the structure imposed upon them, it is true that from time to time people do manage to change the structure they are in Continue reading “Structure, Agency, and..Energy?!”