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Actor Network Theory



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  • 2. Latour  French sociologist of science  Influential theorist in STS  Developer of ANT  Influenced by Harold Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology , generative semiotics of Griemas and maverick sociology of Gabriel Tarde.  Latour, Bruno (1991), ‘Technology is society made durable’
  • 3. Tatnall & Gilding Arthur Tatnall Anthony Gilding  Associate professor at the  Doctor of Philosophy in the University of Victoria, Faculty of Education Graduate School of  Co-author to ‘Actor Business Network theory and Information Systems Research
  • 4. Bardini  French sociologist  Authored papers and books on innovation , sociology of technology & hypermedia  Author of ‘Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing, a book about Douglas Engelbart's career and the rise and fall of the Augumentation Research Centre at Standford Research Institute.  Bardini, Thierry (2000) ‘Inventing the virtual user’
  • 5. Actor Network Theory Innovation =/= SOCIAL CONTEXT =/=TECHNICAL CONTENT BUT: Innovation=SOCIO-TECHNICAL
  • 6. Principles of ANT  Agnosticism: analytical impartiality is required when examining actors involved  Generalised Symmetry: explains the conflicting viewpoints from a neutral standpoint.  Free Association: abandoning any distinction between the social and natural phenomenon (Ritzer Encyclopedia)
  • 7. Breaking it down Actor Network  Interconnected system of things  Not a single point or people object/entity, but a  “becomes durable partly due to simplified network the durability of the bonds that hold it together”  Consisting of a network of  “Networks are always unreliable other actors influencing its and can become unstable. The existence. E.g Newton’s entry of new actors, desertion of theory of gravitation. existing actors and changes in alliances can cause black boxes of networked actors to be opened and their contents reconsidered” Tatnall & Gilding
  • 8. Concepts in ANT  Translation/transformation- “the means by which one entity gives a role onto others”  “translation involves all the strategies through which an actor identifies other actors and arranges them in relation to eachother”
  • 9. Moments in Translation  Problematisation  Interessement  Enrolment  Mobilisation of allies www.en.wiki.org/wiki/Actor-Network_Theory
  • 10. Dimensions of Translation Association Substitution  Akin to linguist’s syntagm (  Akin to paradigm analysis of syntax or (generally accepted surface structure as perspective) opposed to paradigm)
  • 11. Criticism  Amoral (Bjiker) not a necessity  Equality of all actors: power struggle within network  ANT case studies are often highly descriptive and, not providing explanations  6 Degrees of separation
  • 12. Questions  “Actor-Network theory has been used to investigate the success of a number of technical innovations and in particular, to describe a number of heroic failures.” (Tatnall & Gilding) Identify a failed innovation and its actors.  Despite the fact ANT tells us that the separation of the two elements (social & technical) is the right way to approach innovation, would you consider the ANT a better approach if not vague?
  • 13. Linkies  http://www.sagepub.com/upm- data/5222_Ritzer__Entries_beginning_with_A__%5 B1%5D.pdf  http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc_data/ant_df f.html  http://www.learning-theories.com/actor-network- theory-ant.html  http://www.istheory.yorku.ca/actornetworktheory.ht m  www.heterogeneities.net/publications/Law- ANTandMaterialSemiotics.pdf+origins+of+actor+net work+theory&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor-Network_Theory