An initial response to Herndl and Licona’s piece

Herndl & Licona reconceptualize the term “agency”, “authority” from the perspectives of post- structuralism.  

Herndl & Licona trace the evolution of the term “agency” from the lens of culture study to the post-modern vision and argue that the “agency exists at the intersection of a network of semiotic, material and intentional elements and relational practices. (P137)” When we cease thinking of the agent as the origin of the agency, we can move the agency to the agent. Then “the postmodern subject becomes an agent when she occupies the agentive intersection of the semiotic and the material through a rhetorical performance.”(141)

Herndl & Licona use the example of the emergence of feminist to articulate the relationship between agency and authority. Agency is the outcome of wresting between the notion of subject (relational practice) and the power dynamics (power of authority). Both agency and authority are generated by material practice (P145), whereby to a certain degree, authority and agency overlaps and complements each other.

Actually until now what I got from this piece are some fragments and some initial impression and I need time to string these fragments together. I think the key to understanding this piece is to distinguish and connect the author function and the agent function. As far as I understanding this piece, I think author function related to the authority, who have possess the dynamic power and the agent function lies only on the interaction between consciousness of the subject, authority and the context. Herndl & Licona extend the context to a larger scale, which compasses the conjunction of society and argue the “mobility across space and time is an important part of authoritative acts, agentive opportunities and relational practices.”(P146)Since the social space changes through time, we can return the agency to the rhetoric notion of Karios.



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