"In social science, agency is defined as the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices.
By contrast, structure are those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, ability, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and their decisions. The influences from structure and agency are debated—it is unclear to what extent a person's actions are constrained by social systems.
One's agency is one's independent capability or ability to act on one's will. This ability is affected by the cognitive belief structure which one has formed through one's experiences, and the perceptions held by the society and the individual, of the structures and circumstances of the environment one is in and the position they are born into.
Disagreement on the extent of one's agency often causes conflict between parties, e.g. parents and children."
"Deaf people have always had a sense of their history as it was being passed down in stories told by generations of students walking in the hallways of their residential schools and by others who congregated in their clubs, ran associations, attended religious services, and played in sporting events.
With these activities, the deaf community exhibited hallmarks of agency — an effort to maintain their social, cultural, and political autonomy amid intense pressure to conform as hearing, speaking people."
BRIAN H. GREENWALD AND JOSEPH J. MURRAY, in: Sign Language Studies, Volume 17, Number 1, Fall 2016