The Routledge Companion to Actor-Network Theory  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Actor-Network Theory

ISBN 9781138084728
Published June 24, 2019 by Routledge
458 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This companion explores ANT as an intellectual practice, tracking its movements and engagements with a wide range of other academic and activist projects. Showcasing the work of a diverse set of ‘second generation’ ANT scholars from around the world, it highlights the exciting depth and breadth of contemporary ANT and its future possibilities.

The companion has 38 chapters, each answering a key question about ANT and its capacities. Early chapters explore ANT as an intellectual practice and highlight ANT’s dialogues with other fields and key theorists. Others open critical, provocative discussions of its limitations. Later sections explore how ANT has been developed in a range of social scientific fields and how it has been used to explore a wide range of scales and sites. Chapters in the final section discuss ANT’s involvement in ‘real world’ endeavours such as disability and environmental activism, and even running a Chilean hospital. Each chapter contains an overview of relevant work and introduces original examples and ideas from the authors’ recent research. The chapters orient readers in rich, complex fields and can be read in any order or combination. Throughout the volume, authors mobilise ANT to explore and account for a range of exciting case studies: from wheelchair activism to parliamentary decision-making; from racial profiling to energy consumption monitoring; from queer sex to Korean cities. A comprehensive introduction by the editors explores the significance of ANT more broadly and provides an overview of the volume.

The Routledge Companion to Actor-Network Theory will be an inspiring and lively companion to academics and advanced undergraduates and postgraduates from across many disciplines across the social sciences, including Sociology, Geography, Politics and Urban Studies, Environmental Studies and STS, and anyone wishing to engage with ANT, to understand what it has already been used to do and to imagine what it might do in the future.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of contributors


Actor-network theory as a companion: an inquiry into intellectual practices

Ignacio Farias, Anders Blok and Celia Roberts

Sect ion 1 - Some elements of the ANT paradigm(s)

Ignacio Farías, Anders Blok and Celia Roberts

1 What if ANT wouldn’t pursue agnosticism but care?

Daniel López-Gómez

2 How to make ANT concepts more real?

Adrian Mackenzie

3 Is ANT’s radical empiricism ethnographic?

Brit Ross Winthereik

4 Can ANT compare with anthropology?

Atsuro Morita

5 How to write after performativity?

José Ossandón

6 Is ANT a critique of capital?

Fabian Muniesa

7 How to use ANT in inventive ways so that its critique will not run out of steam?

Michael Guggenheim

Sect ion 2 - Engaging dialogues with key intellectual companions

Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías and Celia Roberts

8 Is actant-rhizome ontology a more appropriate term for ANT?

Casper Bruun Jensen

9 What can ANT still learn from semiotics?

Alvise Mattozzi

10 What did we forget about ANT’s roots in anthropology of writing?

Jérôme D. Pontille

11 As ANT is getting undone, can Pragmatism help us re-do it?

Noortje Marres

12 Why does ANT need Haraway for thinking about (gendered) bodies?

Ericka Johnson

13 How does thinking with dementing bodies and A. N. Whitehead reassemble central propositions of ANT?

Michael Schillmeier

14 What is the relevance of Isabelle Stengers’ philosophy to ANT?

Martin Savransky

Sect ion 3 - Trading zones of ANT: problematisations and ambivalences

Ignacio Farías, Anders Blok and Celia Roberts

15 What can go wrong when people become interested in the non-human?

Nigel Clark

16 What possibilities would a queer actor-network theory generate?

Kane Race

17 Is ANT capable of tracing spaces of affect?

Derek P. McCormack

18 How to care for our accounts?

Sonja Jerak-Zuiderent

19 Is ANT an artistic practice?

Francis Halsall

20 How to stage a convergence between ANT and Southern sociologies?

Marcelo C. Rosa

21 What might ANT learn from Chinese medicine about difference?

Wen-Yuan Lin

Sect ion 4 - Translating ANT beyond science and technology

Celia Roberts, Anders Blok and Ignacio Farías

22 What about race?

Amade M’charek and Irene van Oorschot

23 What might we learn from ANT for studying healthcare issues in the majority world, and what might ANT learn in turn?

Uli Beisel

24 What is the value of ANT research into economic valuation devices?

Liliana Doganova

25 How does ANT help us to rethink the city and its promises?

Alexa Färber

26 How to study the construction of subjectivity with ANT?

Arthur Arruda Leal Ferreira

27 Why do maintenance and repair matter?

David J. Denis

Sect ion 5 - The sites and scales of ANT

Anders Blok, Ignacio Farías and Celia Roberts

28 Are parliaments still privileged sites for studying politics and liberal democracy?

Endre Dányi

29 How does an ANT approach help us rethink the notion of site?

Albena Yaneva and Brett Mommersteeg

30 How does the South Korean city of Kyŏngju help ANT think place and scale?

Robert Oppenheim

31 How can ANT trace slow-moving environmental harms as they become eventful political disruptions?

Kregg Hetherington

32 Is ANT equally good in dealing with local, national and global natures?

Kristin Asdal

33 What happens to ANT, and its emphasis on the socio-material grounding of the social, in digital sociology?

Carolin Gerlitz and Esther Weltevrede

Sect ion 6 - The uses of ANT for public–professional engagement

Celia Roberts, Anders Blok and Ignacio Farías

34 Can ANT be a form of activism?

Tomás Sánchez Criado and Israel Rodríguez-Giralt

35 How has ANT been helpful for public anthropologists after the 3.11 disaster in Japan?

Shuhei Kimura and Kohei Inose

36 How to move beyond the dialogism of the ‘Parliament of Things’ and the ‘Hybrid Forum’ when rethinking participatory experiments with ANT

Emma Cardwell and Claire Waterton

37 How well does ANT equip designers for socio-material speculations?

Alex Wilkie

38 How to run a hospital with ANT?

Yuri Carvajal Bañados


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Anders Blok is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen. He is the co-author (with Torben E. Jensen) of Bruno Latour: Hybrid Thoughts in a Hybrid World (Routledge 2011) and the co-editor (with Ignacio Farías) of Urban Cosmopolitics: Agencements, Assemblies, Atmospheres (Routledge 2016).

Ignacio Farías is Professor of Urban Anthropology at the Humboldt University Berlin. He is the co-editor of Urban Assemblages: How Actor-Network Theory Changes Urban Studies (Routledge 2009, with Thomas Bender), Technical Democracy as a Challenge for Urban Studies (2016, with Anders Blok) and Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies & Displacements (Routledge 2015, with Alex Wilkie).

Celia Roberts is a Professor in the School of Sociology, Australian National University. She is the co-author, with Adrian Mackenzie and Maggie Mort, of Living Data: Making Sense of Health Biosensors (2019) and the author of Puberty in Crisis: The Sociology of Early Sexual Development (2016).