Reflexivity (social theory)  

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Reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional; with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a situation that does not render both functions causes and effects. In sociology, reflexivity therefore comes to mean an act of self-reference where examination or action 'bends back on', refers to, and affects the entity instigating the action or examination. In this sense it usually refers to the capacity of an individual agent to recognize forces of socialization and alter his or her place in the social structure.

An example is the interaction between beliefs and observations in a marketplace. If traders believe that prices will fall, they will sell - thus creating some downward pressure on prices relative to demand. Whereas if they believe prices will rise, they will buy - thereby playing a role in driving prices up. Reflexivity is related to the concept of feedback and positive feedback.

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