Actor-Network Theory: Gilles Deleuze, a French philosopher, says that creation makes configurations. This is similar to the British philosopher Alfred N. Whitehead, who said that creation is making things (see, e.g., Cloots 2001). The study of creativity, then, can be thought of as the study of how new relationships or connections are made between things to make new things or bodies – in the broadest sense of these words.
“A creator is not someone who works for pleasure. Instead, he or she needs to be creative.” A creator only does what he needs to do (p. 135). It is also important because the creator can speak in the name of their work. In other words, the arrangements that he or she makes end up tying him or her up and making him or her a subject.
The study of creativity, then, is not just about watching people come up with new ideas, like new products, new advertising campaigns, or new popular songs. It is also about looking at how people work together to develop new ideas. It is more about studying how people interact and with artifacts regularly. They make new configurations and become acting subjects as a result. Like William James (1912), many philosophers have this kind of view of the world.
Actor-network theory is prevalent in sociology because it helps people understand how people work together.
Actor-Network Theory (ANT)
Actor-network theory (ANT), also known as enrolment theory, the sociology of translation, or the sociology of innovation, is one of the main ways sociologists have used this kind of approach. Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar first put it together in their 1979 book, Laboratory Life. This book and Latour’s Science in Action, which came out in 1987, are the most commonly used ANT terms.
Ethnography is a method used to study everyday life. The theory is based on emic categories and the people who use them to think about their learning.
Features from ethnomethodology (like Garfinkel 1967) and its firm belief that the material dimension of practice is a part of the practice itself are a part of ethnomethodology. This is the major innovation of ethnomethodology.
If you think about science and technology studies (STS), you might think of ANT as an approach. This might be why the theory is interested in “sociotechnical process,” which is to say, “the intertwined social-technical processes.” As Howard Becker did in the field of art, Latour and Woolgar have made a strong case for this (Becker 1974, 1982),
Making things is not a one-person job, and inventions are not made by the inventor alone. Instead, they are the result of the stabilization of the relationships between the interests of many people and nonhumans. Translate: The invention works because it can read and understand the “wants” of the people who use it. For example, Bijker (1995) talks about the bicycle, which can get around.
The way it is now is because it can be used to show both Victorian morals (especially how women could ride them while still being discreet) and safety and speed concerns.
The theory then started to move away from STS as a whole. It started claiming a more comprehensive range of applications, claiming that it was a different way to do sociology because the work of STS was different.
Science is not very different from other social activities, and it does not like either one.
Social or technical determinism (for example, see Latour 2002 and MacKenzie 2008 for examples of how ANT can be used in the study of law and finance).
The fact that ANT has become more well-known can be partly blamed because people are more aware of it.
Rising use of science in society Human sciences literature talks about things like the rise of collaborative knowledge, the transition to a knowledge-based society, and collective sociotechnical processes (a quick search for these terms in Google’s search engine will show you what they are about). ANT helps move these debates in a new direction by pointing out that what is at stake is not just a single process in the world.
Arts, sciences, or business, but that knowledge and technological artifacts significantly impact the way society and collective action work because of the relationship they set up.
The Hybrid Character of Action
They have been careful not to embrace dualism, for example, by putting technology’s role in the world against the idea that technology is just a tool society can use (such concerns have deep roots, see, e.g., Heidegger 1977). According to Benjamin Jowett’s translation of Plato’s words, be sure to avoid extremes and choose the middle. For people who believe in ANT, this may call for a theoretical model that can explain how things work.
exploration of the hazy lines of these intermediate areas
Hybridity is one of the essential ideas in ANT. This word refers to the fact that social and action result from complex interactions and never come from pure domains like nature or culture. This means that well-known and established models, like those used by McLuhan 1965, White 1962, Innis 1950, 2008, Gehlen 1980, and Latour’s 1993, remarks in We have never been modern, are not good at explaining or even showing these configurations. People can see hybridity in action if they follow the theory’s motto, “to follow the actors themselves” (Latour 2005). This lets new words and models come up, which is why ANT is essential.
In We Have Never Been Modern, Latour’s 1993 manifesto for “symmetrical anthropology,” he says he does not want to split into two groups (see especially p. 105). He says that there should be no difference in how people explain things when they talk about nature and culture or technology and culture. So, we should admit that other things happen.
Are not both human subjects and nonhuman objects, but rather quasi-subjects or quasi-objects, hybrids of mixed ontologies, like a mix of both.
If actor-network theory had just one big thing to say, it would think of the actor as part of a network. “When one acts, others follow,” says Latour in 1996. (p. 237). not all actions are thought of in the same way.
It does not come from the subject’s will or desire but rather from different ontologies’ hybrid association of things. Humans and nonhumans work together to achieve programs of action that cannot be reduced to the intentions or designs of either party. This is how ANT sees action (Latour 2005).
According to the three principles that the ANT is based on, it is essential to give equal attention to both human and nonhuman factors that make up a group (Callon 1986).
- Agnosticism means treating humans and nonhumans the same.
- Generalized symmetry The use of neutral words and abstracts explains things that do not agree, so no one factor is given extra attention.
- There are no general rules about how technology and society should be separated.
It does not matter which party is behind the associations because they are not all. They are all tools or executives for that party. On the other hand, nonhumans cannot just be thought of as “intermediaries.” They cannot just be thought of as translating what their human users want. They are more like what Latour (2005) calls “mediators.” In other words, for the object to carry the impulse it gets, it has to change it or return to a concept we already talked about, translate it into something else, or do something else with the impulse.
Michel Callon (1986) came up with the term “sociology of translation” in his groundbreaking study of a failed attempt to domesticate scallops. He wanted to show that for any project to be successful, the parties involved must understand each other’s plans of action or risk being challenged as a spokesperson (see, for example, BenoitBarne’ 2009).
Building a Society by Moving Action Through Time and Space
This view has significant consequences because it lets things enter the social world. ANT does not think of nonhumans as just a backdrop to the social or as a more or less restrictive “context.” Instead, ANT thinks of technical objects as participants in the formation of collectives. We are not like apes because our society is more complicated than theirs: primatologists have shown that sociability means having a lot of complicated interactions in apes.
Simians live in a “state of nature,” while humans live in “today’s society.” Latour says that complex and complicated are two different things to show what is different. While apes have no choice but to deal with any interactions that happen and must keep rebuilding their social order through them, humans have the option to treat interactions sequentially and fold the previous one into the next as a black box thanks to technical objects. This makes human societies more complicated. Items like artifacts make it possible for people to do what they want to
Interactions are surrounded by a circle, stabilized, and then moved to other interactions.
This is why, for example, when I get my driver’s license from the Department of Transportation, I do not have to show all over again that I can drive.
Again, each time I meet a police officer, I show them that I can and can drive. Because I have a driver’s license, my interaction with the Department of Transportation examiner is blacked out, and that is taken for granted. As a result, the event between the police officer and me went as planned, too.
Dislocation is what Cooren (2004; 2004; Cooren & Fairhurst 2004, 2009) refers to when he talks about interactions: events happen in other places and at other times, but they are shown to us now through documents and other objects.
For Creativity: Implication
This means that studying creativity and innovation in a new way will be very different. ANT was mainly developed at the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation (Center for the Sociology of Innovation) in Paris, where Michel Latour worked until 2007 and where other essential ANT scholars, such as Antoine Hennion and Madeleine Akrich, are still working. Michel Callon recently retired; outside the CSI, we can name John Law, Annemarie Mol, Peter-Paul Verbeek, and many others. An essential part of Antoine Hennion’s work on music amateurs, as it should now be clear, is that creativity is not alone process (a point also made, differently, by Becker 1974; Becker 1982; see also Deleuze 1998, for some nuance).
People who make popular music now work together as a “creative collective,” says Hennion (1983). They use methods, techniques, and devices “that act as real mediators of public taste while also completing a production job that must also be technical, financial, and commercial” to do this. In 1983, p. 160, he said:
For example, Hennion says that the song is not just about the music itself or how the music and lyrics are mixed. In the sense of a theatrical performance, it also has a character with a voice and an image, which cannot be limited to the artists’ work but cannot be limited to the song itself.
amateurs can only make it into a form of “construction.” Music makes it possible for people to “consensually self-abandon.” This means that techniques, settings, devices, and collective carriers make this active self-abandonment possible.
However, to talk about these, we have to stop asking, at least for now, about the things that make us move. People can no longer ask, “Who does this?” (Hennion and Gomart 1999, p. 221). An essential part of the relationship between ANT and creativity is that for action to be possible, you need to think about how things are put together. ANT does not look for action in people, whether they are humans or not. Action is never the result of a single person’s will but rather a group of people working together.
To understand how people and things made these arrangements, you have to look at how they make or stop specific actions. When people build a world where they can act, they are not just making a place where they can act but also making a world where they can act. Making new things possible is not just the work of a mind that wants to come up with new ideas. It is also the result of how we interact with other people and with the things around us.
People who mix their colors do more than prepare for something they already know how to do. They also find new ways to do things as new color blends come up and suggest new ways. Greimas’ narratology makes it possible to move from noticing how many different kinds of people there are in the world to taking action. Greimas, a French linguist, has significantly impacted ANT development. He gave it a unique analytical tool.
Greimas’s approach also suggests semiotics of action that can be used outside of the study of texts.
Proper. Greimas shows, for example, that as the “hero” moves through the stages of his or her quest, he or she gets more and more things, skills, and helpers that can be said to act as he or she acts. This is just one example (for a similar argument, see Eco 1965). For example, a poor peasant who is given the magic sword turns into the Knight of the Round Table. The Knight is part of a group of actors. The peasant with a magic sword can kill the dragon.
Neither the peasant, nor the sword, nor both of them can do the deed independently. He says that the way people do things can be explained and looked at in terms of conjunctions and disjunctions, as value (which can be money, a princess, and so on) moves around between people who do the things. Greimas uses the term actant to refer to a position in a story that does not matter who plays it or what kind of person it is. For example, being the hero’s helper can be played by a magician, a donkey, or a sword.
Expanding on the term, Latour says that it can be used as a synonym for sociology’s actor. The actant, then, is not so much a person or an object as it is a place in a network of relationships. That is why conjunctions and disjunctions change the people involved in the actions and give them different feelings about them.
According to Greimas, 1987, pp. 88–89, when John is added to wealth, it makes John rich: “John has a pot full of gold pieces” is the same as “John is rich.” This is very important to do.
Understanding the connection between having and being is essential, two concepts that “express the same logical function,” says Greimas (1987). This means that the transformative power or (re)configuration of having and being can be seen in this connection.
Understanding creativity does not require access to individual minds. Instead, it looks at the practices through which relationships are made (through a series of conjunctions and disjunctions), which make up the world in which we act, and the world in which individuals are made. This means that ANT can help with creativity because it is an outsider to psychology. This world, which is made up of different things, allows or impedes specific actions and suggests new ways to act or even new relationships. It is then by following “actors themselves,” but not just humans, and observing the artifacts, machines, computers, whiteboards, and other things (or “actants”) that make up our daily work and lives.
Environments in which we can see how creativity is used.
This, according to ANT, calls for an ethnographic method, one that comes from ethnomethodology, because it is in the small details of what people do that relationship can be seen. For example, it can be found in many places.
This is an example of how pedologists (people who study soils) organize samples in a compartment box. Latour says that this way, they can keep their work on the ground in Amazonia and the lab in France going smoothly (Latour 1999a).
Boxes that look simple may fool people who do not know what they do. Those boxes assign each sample to a specific site, and it is thanks to them that the results of the analyses can then be used.
plotted on a map, or As Deleuze says, “Creativity is making configurations.” If we want to see a creative moment or a special event, we cannot just follow the actors and wait for them to be creative. Instead, we should think of the work of creativity as going on all the time because actants keep coming together to make new assemblages, like social groups, groups, and project teams.
The same could be said for songs, paintings, or sculptures.