ANT and Politics, John Law & Vicky Singleton


ANT and Politics, John Law & Vicky Singleton

Actor-network theory (ANT) comes from Science, Technology and Society (STS), a discipline that is
distinctive because it thinks theoretically through a rich tradition of qualitative case studies. This
means that while it is possible to define ANT in a series of abstract bullet points, attempts to do so
miss most of the point. In this respect it is like symbolic interactionism. Words aren’t enough. You
need to practise it. For this reason in what follows we work empirically, drawing on an ANT inflected
ethnography of Norwegian salmon farming. For related reasons we also work dialogically. We do
this because in ANT theory isn’t reified, separate or abstract. It doesn’t pre-exist, waiting to be
applied. Instead it is created, recreated, explored and tinkered with in particular research practices.
Perhaps ANT is best understood as a sensibility, a set of empirical interferences in the world, a
worldly practice or a craft. At any rate, our hope is that ‘talking’ about it will help to make it lively.

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