This chapter lays the foundations for an actor perspective on development intervention and social change. It opens with a brief critical overview of the paradigmatic character of structural versus actor approaches, followed by a delineation of the theoretical and epistemological advantages of adopting an actor-oriented analysis. In the second half of the chapter I trace my own struggle with theory and practice during the course of my Latin American work in Peru and Mexico. And in the conclusion I return to the issue of paradigm change and the prospects for a revitalised sociology of development.2