Technology is society made durable By Bruno Latour Presented by Clarence Choi
Bruno Latour - Born June 22, 1947, Beaune, France - A sociologist of science, anthropologist and an influential theorist in the field of Science and Technology Studies
Actor-Network Theory (ANT) Background:
First Invented in Paris in the early 1980s
Invented by Bruno Latour, Michel Callon and
others, which also includes John Law
An attempt to understand processes of
technological innovation and scientific knowledge-creation
Actor-Network Theory (ANT) In simple english:
Assumes that actors can be human or non-human.
It is a social theory having to do with relations and networks between the actors.
All actors are equal, an actor will not have a more
Significant power over the other.
Arrangement of actors within the network to
An object is only given meaning within a
network. - An epidemic e.g. swine flu
An action or objective is achieved through the influence
of different actors within a network - Driving a car - Coming to Sydney University
'Key' Example - Program=> Hotel manager wants the keys to be returned to the front desk - Anti Program <= Fickle minded customers takes the keys along with them - Program=> Attach a cumbersome weight to the key - Anti-Program <= Remove the weight - Program => Solder the key ring
1. Manager reminds the customers 2. Manager hangs a sign 3. Manager attaches a weight to the keys
The original meanings are changed, customers no
longer leave their room keys, instead they get rid of it. (through the arrangement of actors)
The network shapes the meanings of the actors.
The sign are just diagrams, the weight are just heavy
Decorative pieces attached to a key
Actor-Network Theory (ANT) Flaws and Controversy
ANT seems to be largely descriptive. To what extent
do we dissect the network? Its theory is at risk because it might degenerate into endless chains of associations.
It goes against the idea of heroism of technological
advancement. Newton's theory would not have succeded If not for others.
ANT is amoral because it assumes that all things are equal