Actor Network Theory
Sandy Szilage, United States, Member
Actor-Network Theory (ANT) emphasizes and considers all surrounding factors of technological achievements, based on the premise that no one acts alone. Its objective is not to explain why a network exists, but how the infrastructure is created; how it can fail, etc.
This theory incorporates the principle of generalized symmetry; that is, human and non-human (e.g. artifacts, organization structures) elements should be integrated into the same conceptual framework and assigned equal amount of agency, in order to obtain a detailed description of the concrete mechanisms that work to hold the network together, and at the same time allowing an impartial treatment of the network actors.
Some criticisms against ANT include:
1. The absurdity of assigning agency to non-actors.
2. ANT is amoral.
3. Because the theory assumes all actors are equal within the network, nothing can be done to prevent power imbalances.
4. ANT leads to useless descriptions that seem pointless.