Акторно-сетевая теория: незавершенная сборка
This article outlines the context of two Logos issues, “Anti-Latour,” “UAVs, Elevators, Scallops, Zimbabwe Bush Pump,” and “New Ontologies.” These three issues issues are based on the idea of an atlas meant to map out the intellectual landscape of actor-network theory (ANT) and flat ontologies. Over the course of a few decades of its existence, ANT has evolved from a singular approach in science and technology studies into a transdisciplinary family of theories joined together by a set of basic properties, partial connections, and common references. This article maps out the trajectories of ANT development and reception. Bruno Latour is discussed as one of the main assemblage points of the approach. A one of the founders of the approach, he took part in many of its transformations, as well as in a collective closure and relaunch of the project. However, “Latour” is sometimes a name designating a particular intellectual, sometimes denotes the Paris school of ANT, and is sometimes a reference to a network of research projects, or even the whole actor-network approach. His name conceals differences between these four senses and provides permanent shifts from one to another. Latour’s changeability draws the attention of critics and readers, generating new interpretations of his work. One classic example is the polemic between Bruno Latour and David Bloor, a leader of the Edinburgh school of sociology of scientific knowledge. Their clash is an important event that largely defined which theoretical style would dominate in the field of science and technology studies.
The expansion of ANT across various disciplinary boundaries is discussed in the article through Graham Harman’s proposal to rethink Latour theory in philosophy, connecting the actor-network approach with flat ontologies. This topic is discussed in the third issue (Vol. 27 # 3 2017). This article offers a short description of flat ontologies and highlights the specificity of ANT reception. It finishes with a discussion of the empirical application of the theory, accompanied by commentary on the transformations of vocabulary and of the approach itself.