Sociocultural affordances and enactment of agency: A transactional view

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This article argues that when attempting to extend the concept of affordances to encompass action possibilities characteristic of our sociocultural environments, a transactionally informed relational perspective—along the lines formulated by classical pragmatist thinkers (especially Dewey and Bentley but also Peirce and Mead)—proves useful. A transactional perspective helps to reveal the intimate conceptual connections between sociocultural affordances (SCAs) and agency: both are crucially about contextually defined goal-directed doings, and about learning to fluently master particular patterns of habits, skills, and sociocultural practices in culturally appropriate and socially feasible ways. The paper outlines first, critical issues in the conceptualization of SCAs; second, how the concept of SCAs also points towards a transactional conception of agency enactment; and third, how a transactional view helps to make sense of some of the apparently puzzling tensions and fringe areas between various conceptualizations of (sociocultural) affordances and agency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)491-512
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5144 Social psychology
  • 515 Psychology
  • agency
  • ecological psychology
  • pragmatism
  • sociocultural affordances
  • transactionalism

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