2. AFFECT THEORY:
Popularised by Melissa Grigg and Gregory
Seigworth in a book titled ‘’The Affect Theory
Some say affect theory is just Critical theory by
3. • Affect theory is an approach to culture, history, and politics
that focuses on nonlinguistic forces, or affects. Affects
make us what we are, but they are neither under our
“conscious” control nor even necessarily within our
awareness—and they can only sometimes be captured in
• Affect theory is a branch of psychoanalysis that attempts to
organize affects into discrete categories and connect each
one with its typical response. So, for example, the affect of
joy is observed through the reaction of smiling.
• “Affect theory, or the critical study of feelings, enables the
academic examination of emotional responses to real-
world occurrences and structures that affect people,”
explains Cvetkovich. Personal — or felt — experience is
foundational to understanding how people traverse the
world as both individuals and as publics.
4. • In Sociology, we are interested in finding out the
ways in which science and technology influence
us, that is what is the level of affect they have on
• For example: developments in AI, and
Transhumanism… will they have a net gain or
disadavantage for us?
5. • We are also interested in determining the level
of affect that nature has on us.
• In what ways does nature affect us?
8. Principles of Actor Network Theory
• It is a good idea not to take it for granted that there is a
macrosocial system on the one hand, and bits and
pieces of derivative microsocial detail on the other.
• Instead we should start with a clean slate. For instance,
we might start with interaction and assume that
interaction is all that there is.
• Then we might ask how some kinds of interactions
more or less succeed in stabilising and reproducing
themselves: … to generate the effects such as power,
fame, size, scope or organisation
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9. ANT & Technology
• For Latour, technology is now integral to our
understanding of human society; to the extent that
human ‘nature’ is fundamentally dependent upon
• We have developed and shaped technology; but now,
technology is shaping us.
• Technology now shapes, controls and influences our
• We are now all part of a technologically inter-connected,
heterogeneous and complex system.
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11. ANT & Technology
• ANT sets out to describe a complex society of humans
and, importantly non-humans, as equal actors tied
together into networks (established to achieve particular
aims or goals).
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12. ANT: Vocabulary & Principles
• Actors: are "entities that do things"; this is very
different to a more conventional sociological definition of
actors as "social entities"
• Importantly for ANT, there is no distinction to be made
between humans and non-humans, embodied or
disembodied skills, impersonation or 'machination'.
• A further sub-division within this concept: an actor is an
actant endowed with a character
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13. ANT: Actor / Actant
• EXAMPLE: A coin-shaped piece of metal can be
understood as an actant; once the actant (or potential
actor) is appropriately inscribed and placed into an
active ‘exchange’ process, it then becomes an actor
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14. ANT: Network
• Besides ‘actor’, network is the second central concept
associated with the theory.
• The term network can be understood as a: "group of
unspecified relationships among entities of which the
nature itself is undetermined." (Callon, 1993, p.263).
• Networks consist of people and ‘things’.
• ANT suggests that from within the system of networks,
Black Boxes can be identified.
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15. ANT: Black Box
• Black box is a metaphor that is able to contain (or
represent) a complex category (or label)
• A set of complex commands/actions that can be
substituted by a ‘box’, because it is generally regular and
stable in its functions (Wiener, 1948).
• Using the ‘finance’ connection (as above) – the term,
‘the economy’ can be understood as a black box:
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16. ANT: Black Box
• We can all relate to (or have our own conception of)
‘our’ economy [the SA economy].
• Yet, if we start to try to think about ways in which the
economy works (its complexity of systems, sub-systems
and networks) – it ceases to be a clear, distinct and
separate social element.
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17. ANT: Intermediaries
• Intermediaries are the language of the network.
• Through intermediaries actors communicate with one
another and that is the way actors translate their
intentions into other actors
• Heterogeneous & dynamic networks
• Advantages & limitations of ANT?
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19. ANT: Limitations & critique
• “There are four things that do not work
with actor-network theory; the word actor,
the word network, the word theory and the
hyphen! Four nails in the coffin.”
• See the
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