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Exploring the organizational proliferation of new technologies: an affective actor-network theory

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Organization Studies
Issue number3
Volume41
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)345-363
Publication statusPublished
Early online date12/01/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In this paper we explore the role of affective encounters between human and non-human bodies in the proliferation of new technologies within and across work organizations. Our exploration challenges not only the long-standing rationalism within studies of technological innovation but the anthropocentrism of burgeoning studies of technology, innovation and affect. Responding to these proclivities, we propose and elaborate an affective Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as an alternative analytical approach by cross-fertilizing ANT concepts with Deleuze’s reading of the affective philosophy of Spinoza. Our approach is elaborated further with the technological innovation of zero-carbon homes in the United Kingdom. Affective ANT is proposed to explain the profound role of affects in the circulation of technologies and of technologies in the circulation of affects. This theory contributes by challenging: studies of affect, innovation and technology to examine the significance of relational human affects in the proliferation of new technologies; organizational studies to consider the interplay of human and technical affects; and Deleuzo-Spinozian organizational studies to conceptualize how affects are organized to serve managerial interests and agendas, such as technological innovation.