Let it Fly High! On the Need for ANT with a Positivistic Inclination
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Nicolaus Copernicus University
Publication date: 2019-08-22
Polish Sociological Review 2019;207(3):255–270
Actor-Network Theory has proven to be highly successful, fulfilling much of its early theoretical and methodological promise. Proponents of ANT have argued, among other things, that an acceptance of the specific (techno-)social ontology which assumes consistent relativity of beings and anti-essentialism will enable us to address the aporia that are haunting sociology. The authors argue that, sociological applications of ANT (at least as regards the dominant understanding of the theory) result in a lowbrow methodology leading to a radical cognitive limitation of the discipline. The text finishes with an attempt to sketch an alternative version of ANT, one with a positivistic inclination opening the path for synthetic sociology.
The Authors wish to thank the participants of the STS seminar at the Faculty of Humanities Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, during which a draft of this text was discussed, as well as Tomasz Szlendak who also provided helpful comments.
The article was written within the research project: Aristocrats and Craftspeople: Sociological Analysis of Research Styles Dialectics. The project was funded by a grant from the National Science Centre Poland based on decision number DEC-2011/01/B/HS6/01290.