Techno15 16ANT 1 Essay

Submitted By Terry-Cho
Words: 621
Pages: 3


Actor-Network Theory (ANT)

• Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation de l’École
Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris
[Centre for the Sociology of Innovation [located at the]
Paris National Graduate School of Mining]
• Michel Callon, Bruno Latour, Madeleine Akrich, John
Law, Michael Lynch, Stephen Woolgar, Donna Haraway
• Began as model for the dynamics of science, then for:
– information systems analysis, medical science, cartography, disability, economics and market studies, organization and work, communication, gender, politics, the Arts, management studies, etc.

What is ANT, and what does it do?
• Explores how sociotechnical elements are assembled, and how large-scale social structures work through networks of stabilized materials

– Material resources are part of what make large-scale society possible and feasible
– No social relations but sociotechnical relations instead
– What is society? How is social order possible?
– Contribution of ANT to social theory: shows how technology and artifacts contribute to the patterning, the ordering of the social

The blackout of 2003…

• Work, industry, water supply, transportation, communication, leisure, and security

traffic lights, airports, railroads, gas stations cellular communication in TO: subway, streetcars, Stock Exchange, CBC’s studios in Ottawa: evacuation of Parliament Hill in Ontario: state of emergency… major events canceled tour boats in Niagara could not dock safely
Petro-Can refinery, and plant: shutdown and blown out emergency services, looting, fatalities security systems: border crossings, port landings, terrorism… An excerpt from The End of Suburbia: Oil
Depletion and the Collapse of the American
(15:40 – 18:10)

Actor, Actant
• Anything endowed with the ability to act: people, but also technical devices, material objects and natural phenomena. Humans and non-humans alike
– Hammer
– Coin (within our money-based economy)

Humans, non-humans… The same?
• Historically, the dividing line between people and machines, and between people and animals, is subject to negotiation and changes
• People are who they are because they are themselves a patterned network of diverse interacting materials

• Ties together two systems of associations:
– people: everyone involved in the design, construction, distribution, and use of an artifact. Sociogram (SCOT and
– things: the materials brought into place in order to connect the people. Technogram

The Manhattan Project
• Technogram…
– e.g nuclear missile: integrated system of component parts
(warhead, guidance control, propulsion), and part of a system of launch equipment and command and control

• Sociogram…
– employed more than 130,000 people…
– creation of multiple production and research sites and of several government