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Choices Women MakeAgency in Domestic Violence, Assisted Reproduction, and Sex Work$
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Carisa R. Showden

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816655953

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816655953.001.0001

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Conceiving Agency

Conceiving Agency

Autonomy, Freedom, and the Creation of the Embodied Subject

(p.1) Chapter 1 Conceiving Agency
Choices Women Make

Carisa R. Showden

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter discusses the interplay between agency theory, freedom, autonomy and normative competence in addressing women’s agency. Agency, like freedom, carries with it specific choices with corresponding actions; but, like autonomy, it goes through a life-long process because it varies at different stages of a person’s life. In particular, women all have the potential for agency by being a member of the society. For instance, how women resist those structures, practices, and images that contribute to gender-based oppression. For a woman to become an effective agent, she needs to practice normative competence. Normative competence suggests that an individual should be able to engage oneself in an ethical relationship with morality or social norms; for instance, a woman must disregard the normative notions of being feminine and being masculine.

Keywords:   agency theory, freedom, autonomy, normative competence, women’s agency, gender-based oppression

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