Actor Network Theory

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Created date

July 12, 2018

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Critical Commentary

According to the entry on ANT on stswiki.org:

"Actor-network theory, often abbreviated as ANT, is a distinctive approach to social theory and research which originated in the field of science and technology studies. Although it is best known for its controversial insistence on the agency of nonhumans, ANT is also associated with forceful critiques of conventional and critical sociology.

Developed by two leading French STS scholars, Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, British sociologist John Law, and others, it can more technically be described as a 'material-semiotic' method. This means that it maps relations that are simultaneously material (between things) and 'semiotic' (between concepts). It assumes that many relations are both material and 'semiotic' (for instance the interactions in a bank involve both people and their ideas, and computers. Together these form a single network).

ANT tries to explain how material-semiotic networks come together to act as a whole. In the ANT approach, for instance, a bank is both a network and an actor that hangs together, and for certain purposes acts as a single entity. As a part of this it may look at explicit strategies for relating different elements together into a network so that they form an apparently coherent whole."

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Photo taken by Hined Rafeh and Alli Morgan

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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street
Troy, NY
12180
United States