Psychological Research in the Multidisciplinary Discourse of Agency: Problems and Prospects

Keywords: agency, self-activity, proactivity, indicators of agency, theory of de-structuration (neo-structuration), activity theory approach


It is shown that the cause of the systemic difficulties experienced by the international mainstream of psychology in developing the problem of agency as a human ability to initiate a change in the environment is that the latter is a phenomenon that has not previously been the focus of attention for international psychology, and thus, for the analysis of which the old methodological optics of the Western-centric mainstream, which took shape in the second half of the 20th century and which is based on the theoretical model of the “universal” human, endowed with “universal” human qualities, is not applicable. 

In the light of the theory of de-structuration (neo-structuration), focusing on qualitative and radical changes in the social world over the past decades, more promising approaches to understanding contemporary human personality are those grounding on considering personality as a culturally dependent and changeable entity, primarily the subjekt-activity approach which is developing in the Russian discourse and in the international science is not enough known. We consider the subjekt-activity approach not as one of those constituting the global mainstream, but as an alternative to the mainstream for theoretical and methodological grounds.

The prospects of developing the problem of agency from the standpoint of the subjekt-activity approach, both in terms of the theory and methodology of psychology, and in terms of practical applications, are substantiated. The relevance of practical applications of the subjekt-activity approach in the field of education is determined by the logic of social macro-processes. As a constructive approach to the development of the problem of agency in psychology, we propose to abandon the two dispositions that dominate in the mainstream: a) the search for the “center of agency” as a separate component and substructure of the psyche, which implements certain functions, skills, etc., - shifting to considering agency as a systemic and integral attribute of the individual, individually specific and developing during the lifetime (a “higher” psychic function); b) the search for the foundations of agency in the sphere of cognition and reflection - changing the focus of research to motivational and volitional sphere.


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How to Cite
MironenkoIrina A. 2024. “Psychological Research in the Multidisciplinary Discourse of Agency: Problems and Prospects”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 1 (April).
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