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Distributed Agency - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Distributed Agency

N. J. Enfield and Paul Kockelman


This book presents an interdisciplinary inroad into the latest thinking about the distributed nature of agency: what it’s like, what are its conditions of possibility, and what are its consequences. The book’s 26 chapters are written by a wide range of scholars, from anthropology, biology, cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, geography, law, economics, and sociology. While each chapter takes up different materials using different methods, they all chart relations between the key elements of agency: intentionality, causality, flexibility, and accountability. Each chapter seek ... More

Keywords: agency, distributed cognition, interaction, intentionality, accountability, causality, action

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780190457204
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190457204.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

N. J. Enfield, editor
Professor and Chair of Linguistics, University of Sydney, Australia

Paul Kockelman, editor
Professor, Yale University

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Part One Agency as Flexible and Accountable Causality

Chapter 3 Gnomic Agency

Paul Kockelman

Chapter 4 Semiotic Agency

Paul Kockelman

Part Two Agency of Institutions and Infrastructure

Part Three Language and Agency

Chapter 9 Social Agency and Grammar

Giovanni Rossi and Jörg Zinken

Part Four Economy and Agency

Part Five Distributing Agency within Selves and Species

Part Six Social Bonding Through Embodied Agency

Part Seven Agency and Infancy

Part Eight The Agency of Materiality

Part Nine The Place of Agency

Part Ten From Cooperation to Deception and Disruption