In this thought-provoking and engaging book, Mike Michael brings us a powerful overview of Actor-Network Theory. Covering a breadth of topics, Michael demonstrates how ANT has become a major theoretical framework, influencing scholarly work across a range of fields. Critical and playful, this book fills a notable gap in the literature as Michael expertly explicates the theory and demonstrates how its key concepts can be applied. Comparing and contrasting ANT with other social scientific perspectives, Michael provides a robust and reflexive account of its analytic and empirical promise. A perfect companion for any student of Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, Geography, Management & Organisation Studies, Media & Communication, and Cultural Studies.

‘Classical’ Actor-Network Theory

Introduction

In this chapter, we outline actor-network theory in its initial – ‘classical’ – iterations. In some ways this is not such a difficult task. There are a series of generally recognized ‘key texts’ that have been central in delineating the ‘core’ features of ANT. Having said that, and as noted in the previous chapter, ANT has been anything but static – its original advocates, as well as later spokespersons, have responded to a series of criticisms, and engaged in new empirical studies, that have nuanced and broadened ANT. The upshot is that drawing a line around ‘classical’ ANT is perhaps more difficult than might at first appear. In any case, there are enough divergences to suggest there will be no universal ...

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