Proxy Agency

Proxy involves indirect control over those social conditions that affect everyday living. Bandura (2001) noted that "no one lias the thne, energy, and resources to master every realm of everyday life. Successful functioning necessarily involves a blend of reliance on proxy agency in some areas of functioning" (p. 13). hi modern American society, people would be nearly helpless if they relied solely on personal accomplishments to regulate then lives. Most people do not have the personal capability to repair an air conditioner, a camera, or an automobile. Through proxy agency, however, they can accomplish their goal by relying on other people to repair these objects. People attempt to change their daily lives by contacting then congressional representative or another potentially influential person; they acquire mentors to help them learn useful skills; they line a young neighbor to mow their grass; they rely on international news services to learn of recent events; they retahi lawyers to solve legal problems; and so on.

Proxy, however, has a downside. By relying too much on the competence and power of others, people may weaken their sense of personal and collective efficacy. One spouse may become dependent on the other to care for the household; late adolescent or early adult-age children may expect parents to take care of them; and citizens may learn to rely on their government to provide for the necessities of life.

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