Reassembling the Social An Actor-Network-Theory – Bruno Latour

In the book Reassemblig the Social – An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, Bruno Latour (2005)describe a different forms for the sociologys approach.

Both of then occured in the last century. In the first approach, “the social sciences have disseminated their definition of society as effectively as utility companies deliver electricity and telephone services.”It was a defined field of knowledge.

The second “(…)claims that there is nothing specific to social order; that there is no social dimension of any sort, no ‘social context’, no distinct domain of reallity to which the label ‘social’ or ‘society’ could be attributed (…)and that ‘society’, far from being the context in which everything is framed, should rather be construed as one of the many connecting elements circulating inside tiny conduits.”(Latour, 2005: 4, 5).

Considering the social question a nineteenth innovation, the Latour proposes is a kind of reassemble whethers approaches criticizing the awkward term Actor-Network-Theory calling this better like ‘sociology of translation’, actant-rhyzome ontology’, ‘sociology of innovation’.

But this nwe approach have some thing important according the author, it culd be seen in a specific situation:

‘But in situations where innovations proliferate, where group boundaries are uncertain, when the range of entities to be taken into account fluctuates, the sociology of the social is no longer able to trace actor’s new associations. At this point, the last thing to do would be to limit in advance the shape, size, heterogeneity, and a combination of associations. The duties of the social scientist mutate accordingly: it is no longer enough to limit actors to the role of informers offering cases of some well-known types. You have to grant then back the ability to make up their own theories of what the social is made of. Your task is no longer to impose some order, to limit of the range of acceptable entities, to teach actors what they are, or to add some reflexivity to their blind practice. Using a slogan from ANT, you have ‘to follow the actors themselves’, that is try to catch up with their often wild informations in order to learn from then what the collective existence has become in their hands, which methods they have elaborated to make it fit together, which accounts could best define the new associations that they have been forced to stablish.'(Latour,2005:11-12).

LATOUR,Bruno.(2005)Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory.New York: Oxford University Press.


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