week 4) Actor-Networked Theory

Today, I will be talking about how series of “assemblages” (Deleuze, Guattari and DeLanda) create something new and one way of doing this is through the Actor-Network Theory by a French thinker Bruno Latour.

According to the Wikipedia, the ANT can be described as a “material-semiotic” method; which means that it creates relations that is “simultaneously material (between things) and semiotic (between concepts). Also, from one of the reading, it explains that the “ANT describes human and nonhuman “actants” (the preferred term of ANT writers, since “actor” is mostly used to talk about the roles of humans) with the same language, and grants them equal amount of agency within “webs” or “actor-networks”. (Banks, 2011)

As this video mentions, ANT theory is based on this 3 principles, which are agnosticism, generalized symmetry and free association. This video describes that there are no distinction between technological, natural and social.

I personally think that one of the examples of assemblages that we can find today is the Social Network Service such as Facebook or tweeter. The components that create the SNS are combined with numerous actants such as the web, the Internet provider, technological support, the computer, electricity, most mainly the users, the SNS headquarters, advertisers and sponsors and also the data. All these elements are combined and shown as a single object, such as the Facebook page or Tweeter page on online.

However, one of the readings mentions that this theory is facing some criticism by Sandra Harding, by excluding some basic social factors such as race, gender and social class…etc. Even though the theory is not perfect and have some flaws, I personally believe that it is a good theory to analyze and explain the assemblages of publishing, since it allowed us to think in a way that what creates a specific object of publishing that we might think it as a single platform.

Banks, David (2011) ‘A Brief Summary of Actor-Network Theory’, Cyborgology, November 2, <http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/12/02/a-brief-summary-of-actor-network-theory/>

‘Actor Network Theory’, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor-network_theory>

delukie (2009) ’Actor-Network Theory in Plain English’, Youtube.com,

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