Distributed Agency

ISBN : 9780190457211

N. J. Enfield; Paul Kockelman
304 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Mar 2017
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Distributed Agency 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 25 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 seeks to explain how and why such relations are distributed-not just across individuals, but also across bodies and minds, people and things, spaces and times. To do this, the authors work through empirical studies of particular cases, while also offering reviews and syntheses of key ideas from the authors' respective research traditions. Our goals with this collection of essays are to assemble insights from new research on the anatomy of human agency, to address divergent framings of the issues from different disciplines, and to suggest directions for new debates and lines of research. We hope that it will be a resource for researchers working on allied topics, and for students learning about the elements of human-specific modes of shared action, from causality, intentionality, and personhood to ethics, punishment, and accountability.


i. Contributors
ii. Preface
Part One: Agency as Flexible and Accountable Causality
Chapter 1. Elements of Agency
N.J. Enfield
Chapter 2. Distribution of Agency
N.J. Enfield
Chapter 3. Gnomic Agency
Paul Kockelman
Chapter 4. Semiotic Agents
Paul Kockelman
Part Two: Agency of Institutions and Infrastructure
Chapter 5. Agency in State Agencies
Anya Bernstein
6. Upending Infrastructure in Revolutionary Egypt
Julia Elyachar
Part Three: Language and Agency
7. On Brain-to-Brain Interfaces, Distributed Agency and Language
Mark Dingemanse
8. Requesting as a Means for Negotiating Distributed Agency
Simeon Floyd
9. Social Agency and Grammar
Giovanni Rossi and Jorg Zinken
10. Distributed Agency and Action under the Radar of Accountability
Jack Sidnell
Part Four: Economy and Agency
11. Distributed Agency and Debt in the Durational Ethics of Responsibility
Jane I. Guyer
12. Money as Token and Money as Record in Distributed Accounts
Bill Maurer
Part Five: Distributing Agency within Selves and Species
13. Distribution of Agency across Body and Self
Ruth Parry
14. Distributed Agency in Ants
Patrizia D'ettore
Part Six: Social Bonding through Embodied Agency
15. Group Exercise and Social Bonding
Emma Cohen
16. Social Bonding Through Dance and 'Musiking'
Bronwyn Tarr

Part Seven: Agency and Infancy
17. Time Scales for Understanding the Agency of Infants and Caregivers
Joanna Raczaszek-Leonardi
18. Movement Synchrony, Joint Actions and Collective Agency in Infancy
Bahar Tuncgenc
Part Eight: The Agency of Materiality
19. The Agency of the Dead
Zoe Crossland
20. Distributed Agency in Play
Benjamin Smith
21. Contingency and the Semiotic Mediation of Distributed Agency
Eitan Wilf
Part Nine: The Place of Agency
22. Place and Extended Agency
Paul C. Adams
23. How Agency is Distributed through Installations
Saadi Lahlou
Part Ten: From Cooperation to Deception and Disruption
Chapter 24. Cooperation and Social Obligations
David P. Schweikard
Chapter 25. Deception as Exploitative Social Agency
Radu Umbres
Chapter 26. Disrupting Agents, Distributing Agency
Charles H. P. Zuckerman $ $ https://global.oup.com/academic/product/9780190457211 $ linguistics

About the author: 

N.J. Enfield is Professor and Chair of Linguistics at the University of Sydney, Australia.; Paul Kockelman teaches linguistic anthropology at Yale University.

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