chapter
Introduction
Pages 12

This chapter presents an investigation into agency and its position within feminist projects. It explores key feminist attempts to re-vision agency to develop an effective agency from a feminist perspective given the critique of traditional conceptions of self-determination and autonomy, insights regarding multi-dimensionality outlined in anti-essentialist conceptions of identity, and renewed understandings of what it means to resist oppression and exercise agency in resistance to adverse socialization. In the western tradition of thought, agency is having the power and capacity to act as one chooses. Interestingly, in reconceiving agency many feminist thinkers have drawn on American psychologist Carol Gilligans work on moral development. Care-based agency and relational autonomy take account of human interdependency and value social relations in decision-making. They also support viewing agency in terms of the development and exercise of skill-based competencies, enabling people to enact their agency even in oppressive conditions. Poststructuralist revisionings highlight the way agency is affected by socially determined practices.