Human Studies

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 85–101

“My Attitude Made Me Do It”: Considering the Agency of Attitudes

Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-010-9137-x

Cite this article as:
van Vuuren, M. & Cooren, F. Hum Stud (2010) 33: 85. doi:10.1007/s10746-010-9137-x


In proposing a next step in loosening the restriction of action to humans, this paper explores what we call the agency of attitudes and especially the ethical and practical questions that such recognition should entail. In line with Actor-Network Theory, we suggest that attitudes, passions and emotions can be seen to have agency in a similar vein as tangible agents (e.g., technological devices, texts, machines). We illustrate this suggestion using an example of socialization towards pain experienced during sports. Finally, we propose that the awareness of attitude’s agency extends rather than reduces the ownership of choice of people, as it facilitates making “true decisions.”


Actor-network theoryAgencyAttitudesUndecidabilityResponsibility

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Behavioural ResearchUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Département de CommunicationUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada