Murdoch J, 1997, "Inhuman/nonhuman/human: actor-network theory and the prospects for a nondualistic and symmetrical perspective on nature and society" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 15(6) 731 – 756
Download citation data in RIS format
Inhuman/nonhuman/human: actor-network theory and the prospects for a nondualistic and symmetrical perspective on nature and society
Received 1 July 1996; in revised form 26 November 1996
Abstract. Recently human geographers and sociologists have begun to focus onthe prospects for theories without dualisms. As a result of research ontechnology, animals, and the environment, it has become evident that ahuman-centred perspective, which continually positions humans as the onlysignificant actors, cannot adequately take into account the various nonhumans which make up our world and upon which we depend. In large part the human-centredness of much social science derives from asharp divide, a dualism, between nature and society and between the workof natural and human scientists. In this paper I consider one attemptto transgress this divide and assess the prospects for theories of thiskind. The focus here is upon actor-network theory (ANT), an approach developed by Michel Callon, Bruno Latour, and John Law within social studies ofscience. I first outline the social studies which form the backgroundto the development of ANT and then go on to elaborate the main contoursof the approach, with particular emphasis on its transgression of thenature - society distinction. I conclude witha critical assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and attempt to showhow it might be usefully combined with other, more traditional, socialscientific concerns.
Full-text PDF size: 4563 Kb
Your computer (IP address: 22.214.171.124) has not been recognised as being on a network authorised to view the full text or references of this article. This content is part of our deep back archive. If you are a member of a university library that has a subscription to the journal, please contact your serials librarian (subscriptions information).