In recent times, archaeology has seen continuously growing interest from neighboring disciplines desiring to capitalize on archaeology's experience with the evaluation of material culture. In order to be able to answer the questions now posed to our field of research, we have to be conscious of our methods and their epistemological potential. On the basis of a characterization of archaeological sources, this article focuses on four relevant fields of inquiry with regard to the archaeological analysis of an object, that is, its materiality, archaeological context, spatial distribution, meanings, and power. Moreover, I suggest that an integration of aspects of Bruno Latour's Actor-Network Theory will enable archaeologists to gain further insights into the complex entanglement of humans and objects in the past.
Lost in Things: An Archaeologist's Perspective on the Epistemological Potential of Objects
Philipp W. Stockhammer
How Should Historians Talk about Spatial Agency?
article uses insights from material culture studies and actor-network theory to discuss ways of re-framing agency as an assemblage of human and non-human affects. Agency can thus be defined not in terms of first causes and definitive outcomes, but instead
Lest We Forget (Matter)
Posthumanism, Memory, and Exclusion
Bruno Latour’s “Socratic dialogue” in Reassembling the Social ( 2005 ) is a useful means of orienting one’s self and one’s work. This is where the clearest articulation of the purpose of Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is made: “it’s a theory, and a
A materialist critique of brute materialities, flat infrastructures, fuzzy property, and complexified cities
poetics of infrastructure ”. Annual Review of Anthropology 42 : 327 – 343 Latour , Bruno . 2005 . Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory . Oxford : Oxford University Press . Latour , Bruno . 2006 . Paris: Invisible
The Science-Politics of Climate Change in China: Development, Equity, and Responsibility
China has argued that developed countries should take the lead in international climate change mitigation, while developing countries should be allowed to realize their economic development and implement voluntary measures. This position may seem purely political. However, this article shows that Chinese science also contributes to constructing the perspectives of development, equity, and responsibility. Chinese climate models, emission graphs, and graphs of future emissions are presented to show that these scientific inscriptions contain and coproduce these values in conjunction with political inscriptions. The findings demonstrate that scientific inscriptions are essential to stabilize the Chinese climate network, and that political practice cannot separate scientific facts from political contestation over climate and development.
Gatherings of Mobility and Immobility
Itinerant “Criminal Tribes” and Their Containment by the Salvation Army in Colonial South India
In retelling the history of “criminal tribe” settlements managed by the Salvation Army in Madras Presidency (colonial India) from 1911, I argue that neither the mobility–immobility relationship nor the compositional heterogeneity of (im)mobility practices can be adequately captured by relational dialecticism espoused by leading mobilities scholars. Rather than emerging as an opposition through dialectics, the relationship between (relative) mobility and containment may be characterized by overlapping hybridity and difference. This differential hybridity becomes apparent in two ways if mobility and containment are viewed as immanent gatherings of humans and nonhumans. First, the same entities may participate in gatherings of mobility and of containment, while producing different effects in each gathering. Here, nonhumans enter a gathering, and constitute (im)mobility practices, as actors that make history irreducibly differently from other actors that they may be entangled with. Second, modern technologies and amodern “institutions” may be indiscriminately drawn together in all gatherings.
Beyond indefinite extension
About Bruno Latour and urban space
This paper explores the internal architecture of actor‐network theory as much as it explores the way it understands the architecture and geography of the social universe. Moving back and forth between urban studies, sociology and metaphysics, it especially deals with Bruno Latour's problematic relationship with infinite regress.
Picking up the relay baton
Translating traditions in apartheid and democratic South Africa
Andrea M. Lang
This article reflects the particular construction of 'Culture' by a network of ethnographers, bureaucrats, politicians, and traditional leaders in South Africa. It analyzes the impact of this specific understanding of Culture during the apartheid years and in the new democratic dispensation using actor network theory (ANT) as developed by Callon and Latour. The essay also explores the establishment of the network in colonial times, examines its working method during the apartheid years, and queries the reasons for its survival and restrengthening after the dismantling of apartheid. Furthermore, the article deals with the popularization of the network's Culture credo and discusses some consequences of this special understanding of Culture and of how the government should preserve it.
Performing the Border
Cartographic Enactments of the German-Polish Border among German and Polish High-school Pupils
On the basis of fieldwork conducted in the two towns Görlitz and Zgorzelec, situated directly on the German-Polish border, this article explores how different versions of the border are enacted among Polish and German high-school pupils. As is usually the case with borders, the German-Polish border has a multiple, even ambivalent character. Inspired by the performative approach within actor-network theory, this article aims to qualify the concept of the multiple border, where multiplicity is understood as heterogeneous practices and patterns of absences and presences that constitute the border. The data, based on ethnographic fieldwork, consist of 'cartographies', maps made by the pupils, followed up by 'walking conversations' in the two towns on the border. The analysis shows that the border is not only enacted differently; also it is suggested that the performances all deal with and constitute an ambivalent border.
Tracing the Making of Public Art as Part of Regeneration Practice
A pragmatist study of art in regeneration, this article contributes a nuanced understanding of how art works as an ingredient of regeneration practice. To ameliorate post-industrial decline, commissioning art has become part of the work of the planner. In planning studies art is usually accounted for as completed artworks in relation to socio-economic agendas. But what of the effects produced in their making? Inspired by Actor-Network Theory, by tracing associations between human and non-human actors I reveal art as part of the translation process of regeneration. Drawing on a one-year ethnography of a regeneration office in North East England, I describe how art mediates collaboration with and in planning practice as a catalyst for professionals to re-consider their professional remit anew.