Motivations of ANT

The foundations of ANT can be traced back to the central issue that had made Latour and co. think of an ANT like construct. What is significant in the whole process is the idea that there is a clear role of influence between the micro context and the wider macro environment that may inter alia be composed of the industry, society, or even organisation. Latour (1999) observed that whilst carrying out research a common problem is in the simplification of interpretive socio-scientific research that is seen to inexorably alternate between actor and system, agency and structure. Latour (1999) claimed that the use of ANT was to deal with a couple of fundamental dissatisfactions. The first dissatisfaction concerns the micro level where scientists are usually engaged in face-to-face interactions, field data collection, estimating the output of algorithms, etc. However, soon there comes a time when the researcher realises that a connection needs to be made with the macro world. As the latter, has undoubtedly contributed to the creation of the obtaining conditions within the local or micro domain. This may be categorised as an inadequacy that results from the understanding that a greater attention needs to be allocated to wider dimensions of the macro environment that might not be directly connected but nevertheless important.

The second dissatisfaction is a compulsion of the opposite kind whereby after having explored the intricacies of the macro domain using pattern recognition within ubiquitous concepts like society, values, norms, structure, etc. an overwhelming need is normal to be felt to retrace and get back to micro analysis. Such an inadequacy may urge scientists to go back and examine the specific. This goes on ad infinitum. The emergent body of literature (Mitra 2001) that is gradually becoming more familiar to researchers as the actor network approach connects through a trajectory these countervailing realities. Latour (1999) says that the objective of ANT was not to overcome these dissatisfactions or solve the problem as it were but `to follow them elsewhere and try to explore the very conditions that makes these two disappointments possible' (pp. 17).


Mitra, A. (2001) `An interpretation of the organisational context of geographic information system use in British Local Government', Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Birmingham, UK

Latour, B. (1999) `On Recalling ANT', in John Law and John Hassard edited (1999) Actor Network Theory and After, Blackwell, pp. 15-25

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