Here's one side of the coin, from my piece:
It's a question of structure vs. agency. Beginning with founding figures like Durkheim, Marx, and Weber, social science has been attempting to figure out the relationship between individuals and their environments. The big leap that these early sociologists made was to claim that our messy human world was organized by social structures, forces larger than any individual. These broad arrangements -- think of capitalism, the family, or gender -- constantly shape and guide collective behavior.
Architecture is a good example of this tension. Building design, all the homes, cubicles, elevators, and driveways, affect us in a million ways. We can understand a great deal about US society by simply looking at its infrastructure, its freeways and power lines and asphalt and three car garages. Our homes and environments control the kinds of people we can become.
But what about individual agency? Structures may exist in the background, but the actor in every story is the individual making decisions. Society is best understood, not through invisible structures determining our actions, but through individual choices. Our democratic system, our economic system, and our environmental outcomes are predicated on individual choice. But that doesn't stop our environments from shaping us like play-doh.