From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In the social sciences, agency refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, "Structure" refers to those factors (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, customs, etc) which seem to limit the individual by a pre-organized perception from the social structure itself that vastly determines and influences the opportunities that individuals have.
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. Disagreement on the extent of one's agency often causes conflict between parties, e.g. parents and children.