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Actor Network Theory. Law 2009. Why does it matter?. Who is using it: It is trendy and you will , probably encounter it Bruno Latour was the Keynote at CHI ‘13 Our job: to ask, What work does it do for us?. Historians Information scientists Business Schools! Anthropologists.

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Actor Network Theory


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    1. Actor Network Theory Law 2009

    2. Why does it matter? • Who is using it: • It is trendy and you will, probably encounter it • Bruno Latour was the Keynote at CHI ‘13 • Our job: to ask, What work does it do for us? Historians Information scientists Business Schools! Anthropologists

    3. Law 2009: A series of examples Monet 1885 Monet 1872 Renoir 1876 Pissarro 1901

    4. How do we describe: • The world? • Our research? • “What happens” and “why?”

    5. The ideas we are about to look at are about rejecting various ways of explaining things. Result: new methods, new metaphors and deliberately avoiding modes of thought that are taken for granted.

    6. Basic timeline • - Science socially constructed • - Rejects conventional explanations • - Things are socially and materially co-created • - Rejects social-centric SSK • - Things are multiple, contested • - Rejects functionalist ANT

    7. A toolkit • Semiotic: How? > Why? • ↓ strong agents • ↑ multiple material and co-incidental causes • Levels many kinds of divisions • Scale: macro v. micro • Type: • Human v. non-human as agents • Rejects sociological frameworks of all kinds • Social v. technical: actually both co-constituted

    8. Criticisms of ‘ANT 1990’ • Overly-focused on how things function • Disregarded ideas that could not be fit into it For other feminist critiques c.f. Haraway, Star

    9. New ‘material semiotics’ • Multiple contested realities • Different logics for different people or times • Performativity, ‘enactment’ of constructed ideas that are taken as natural in other disciplines • How do collections of people and stuff produce this? • Unstable! • “Construction” no longer useful, because nothing is the stable agent defining the rest • Things produced by collections of stuff: realities, knowledges, “goods”

    10. Bottom line • Latour says that he rejects ‘ANT’ as a name, except for the fact that one proceeds slowly from the ground-most view

    11. Grounded Theory Uruqhart 2010

    12. Why does it matter? Q. Has a PI ever told you, as a research assistant, what to look for in the data? Q. Did that have any impact on what you saw? Q. Are there any risks to that approach? Q. Before we move on, why might that be a good way to do research anyway?

    13. How does it work? • Empirical • What is empiricism? • Tools • Qualitative coding “the discovery of theory from data – systematically obtained and analyzed in social research’ (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, p. 1)” “Done together as much as possible”

    14. Criticisms • Grounded theory = positivist? • What is positivism? • How is ‘positivist’ be a criticism to some? • Grounded theory = subjective? Uruqhart: disagreement grounded theory is agnostic Strauss and Corbin 1990 = Rules!! Glaser disagreed with this revision: “If you torture the data long enough, it will give up! . . . Forcing by preconception constantly derails it from relevance” (1992, p. 123).

    15. Bottom line • Grounded theory is a way to build theories • It is adapted by researchers, often not adhering to the formal procedures set out in 1967

    16. Discussion Question #1 Do grounded theory and actor-network theory seem to have anything in common?

    17. Discussion Question #2 Compare/contrast pieces of these approaches with the methods that Jevin presented: • Multiple working theories • ….what are these? • Strong Inference - …what is it?

    18. Discussion Question #3 Would you say Katie Davis used grounded theory in her work? Why or why not?

    19. Discussion Question #4 What part of either theory could you see using in your own work?