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Actor-Network Theory

Actor-network theory (ANT) examines the relatedness and interaction of diverse entities in so-called actor-networks. It develops new basic concepts for a sociology of translation and hybrid associations relevant to all subfields of sociology, which may also be employed to understand matters of public relations. This entry first elucidates ANT’s basic ideas and discusses its development. It then discusses criticisms of the theory and implications of the theory for public relations.

Beginning in the early 1980s, ANT was especially shaped by authors such as Madeleine Akrich, Michel Callon, Bruno Latour, and John Law, who were associated with the École nationale supérieure des mines, a leading engineering school in Paris. They worked within the sociological subfield of science and technology studies (STS), concerned initially with ethnographic investigation of ...

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