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Disassembling actor-network theory

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journal contribution
posted on 05.05.2015, 14:51 by Dave Elder-Vass
One of the strikingly iconoclastic features of actor-network theory is its juxtaposition of the claim to be a realist perspective with denials that supposedly natural phenomena existed before scientists “made them up”. This paper explains and criticises such arguments in the work of Bruno Latour. By combining referent and reference in the concept of assemblages, Latour provides a superficially viable way to reconcile these apparently incompatible claims. This paper will argue, however, that this conflation of referent and reference leads Latour’s ontology into difficulties that can only be resolved by abandoning it in favour of a more conventional – critical – realism.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Philosophy of the Social Sciences

Volume

45

Issue

1

Pages

100 - 121

Citation

ELDER-VASS, D., 2015. Disassembling actor-network theory. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 45 (1), pp.100-121.

Publisher

Sage (© The Author 2014)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date

2014-04-10

Notes

The final published version of this paper can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0048393114525858

ISSN

0048-3931

eISSN

1552-7441

Language

en