Sunday, June 08, 2003

Reading:: Actor Network Theory and After

Originally posted: Sun, 08 Jun 2003 09:37:35

Actor Network Theory and After
by John Law (Editor), John Hassard (Editor)

In his contribution to the collection, Bruno Latour tells us that there are only four things wrong with the name "actor-network theory": the words "actor," "network," "theory," and the hyphen. He argues that it really should be called something like "actant-rhizome ontology."

Well, that should give you an idea of how the book is. Many of the essays, including Law's contributions, argue that actor-network theory is in the process of being reified as a Theory (with a capital T, like Truth) and a Method, when it was meant precisely as a challenge to Theories and Methods. Law in particular wants ANT to resist this tendency to be turned into Theory.

I don't have the book with me right now, so I won't try to trace through Law's and the others' arguments. I will say, though, that the book gives a lot of insight into what ANT is, how it's been applied, and how some of its earliest developers would like to see us proceed. And if memory serves, it has a nifty glossary.

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