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ANT and politics: working in and on the world

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Qualitative Sociology
Issue numbern/a
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)n/a
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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. Words aren’t enough. You need to practise it. For this reason this paper draws on an ANT-inflected ethnography of farming. For related reasons we also work dialogically, because in ANT theory doesn’t pre-exist, waiting to be applied. Instead it is created, recreated, explored and tinkered with in particular research practices. Hence we argue that ANT is best understood as a sensibility to features of the world that aren’t quite those of standard social science: to the heterogeneous materialities, relationalities and uncertainties of the practices that compose the world. And, as we have also tried to show, this is a sensibility that has political consequences. ANT works on the assumption that other worlds are possible, then it tries to articulate them. The hope is that if we can craft appropriate tools for articulation it will be possible to know and make space for different and better social arrangements.