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
Posthumanism, Memory, and Exclusion
Philipp W. Stockhammer
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.
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.
Fieldwork with a Dog as Research Assistant
My research seeks out muted narratives that struggle to be heard in the contested city of Belfast. My dog is one of my ethnographic methods: dog-walking is rarely a direct journey from A to B and she can 'authenticate' my lingering presence in unfamiliar places; she is a gateway to dog-focused communal activities; and her categorisation of people is based on smell, not politics, religion or country of origin. When encountering random strangers with an attractive and friendly dog, her role is obvious: introduction enacted, anthropologist takes over. But does she simply mediate the encounter or does she shape what happens? The relationship between dog and person is reciprocal and the extent to which each actor responds to the other prolongs and moulds the encounter. Can she elicit stories that may not otherwise be told, do more than 'only connect'? This article draws on actor-network theory and cosmopolitanism.
Media, Actor-worlds, and Infrastructures
The article deals with the relationship between media and transportation infrastructures and analyzes their links to the concept of mobility. It examines the assumption that infrastructure systems themselves are mobile, in the sense that they develop and have to be maintained constantly. According to such a perspective, they are to be considered not primarily as “structures,“ but as specific processes of mobilization (infrastructuring) that constitute the basis for mobility in the sense of transport and movement. Drawing on historical knowledge of transportation, it will be shown that a broad understanding of traffic as exchange, communication, and transportation has narrowed in the twentieth century, whereby the originally implied idea of transport as transformation became suppressed. Recent approaches in mobility studies, Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) can be combined in a fruitful way to unfold the specific dynamics of infrastructure as a process of mobilization (Callon) and technical mediation (Latour).
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.
Setting a New Agenda
Nicholas J. Long and Henrietta L. Moore
It is time for a revitalized theory of human sociality. This theory recognizes that humans are always embedded in a dynamic matrix of relations with human, non-human, and inhuman others, but combines this recognition with attention to the distinctive capacities of human subjects. It thus builds on recent theories of actor-networks and affect, whilst going beyond their limitations.
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.
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.
A materialist critique of brute materialities, flat infrastructures, fuzzy property, and complexified cities
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