Agency. In philosophy and sociology, Agency is a being’s faculty of free choice and independent action on its environnement. 20th century theories have explored how much human Agency is determined by Structure, ie classes, religion, gender, etc .

VR creators scratch their heads over a similar question when writing virtual fictions: How much agency should structured virtual worlds propose ?

Answers to that dilemma can be drawn from recent developments in the fields of philosophy and sociology.

An example is the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) which takes in account the relationships between subjects and objects, human and non-human, political and scientific giving each with an equal importance. A great example of ANT in a work of art can be seen in Paris Invisible City, a text and image book available as an online multimedia resource here.

Paris ville invisible. by Bruno Latour and Emilie Hermant (1998). La Découverte-Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond.