Actor-Network Theory and Social Practice

Actor-Network Theory and Social Practice

Orlova I.B.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Prof., Head of the Department, Higher School of Modern Social Sciences (faculty), Lomonosov State University, Moscow, Russia

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Orlova I.B. Actor-Network Theory and Social Practice. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 7. P. 128-137


The article deals with some aspects of the actor-network theory (ANT) focusing on “reassembling the social”. Sociality “reassembles” as a result of the interaction of human and “nonhuman”, things, material objects and technologies interpreted as actors. The author analyzes the elimination of the “human – non-human”, “living – non-living” oppositions, which is a distinctive feature of a new ANT methodology of social research. The article considers the turn to the material or “Latour revolution” as the transformation of the ontological concept of the social world and the status of a person in it. An individual is equated to “non-humans”, artifacts and technological inventions. The theoretical points of the actor-network theory are transferred to the actual practice of the modern digital reality where technology is overemphasized and interpersonal relations appear to undergo drastic transformation. Things, material objects tend to replace human beings. They start dealing with an increasing number of problems that used to be tackled by people. Consequently, the active implementation of technologies is to make a person useless and economically unprofitable. Special consideration is given to some of the consequences generated by the emerging trend implying changing attitudes to the social world: transition from anthropocentrism to technocentrism.

actor-network theory; reassembling the social; elimination of the oppositions “humans – non-humans”; technocentrism; social practice


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Content No 7, 2020