Agency, Structure, and Social Chance as Cross-Disciplinary Concepts



It is appropriate that social scientists should develop explicit conceptualisations of agency, structure and social chance, these being three major dimensions of social and political life. The agency–structure debate, which refers to theoretical and ontological issues that tend not to be explicitly discussed by political scientists, is an important interdisciplinary starting point for conceptual and empirical work involving collaboration between political scientists and sociologists. Following a theoretical review of agency, structure and chance, it is argued that empirical research concerned with the study of politics and policy – indeed, social scientific research on any topic – should employ an ontology and methodology that focuses on the dynamics of interaction between agency, structure and social chance.