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Material or Metaphorical? - An Inquiry into the Spatialities of Actor-Network Theory

Jakobsen, Peter LU (2017) SGEM08 20171
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
Since Actor-Network Theory emerged in the mid-1980s, the approach has transcended disciplinary boundaries and has similarly gained prominence within geography. Moreover, also the main proponents of the approach have endeavoured in linking Actor-Network Theory to geographical lines of inquiry and sought to develop a spatial vocabulary that matches its distinctive thought system. However, few attempts have been made to critically examine the spatial concepts developed within the approach and a systematic examination of these concepts seems to be fundamentally missing. A lack of such an examination may then lead to the expansion of the approach deprived of the consideration of its possible limitations and implications. The purpose of the... (More)
Since Actor-Network Theory emerged in the mid-1980s, the approach has transcended disciplinary boundaries and has similarly gained prominence within geography. Moreover, also the main proponents of the approach have endeavoured in linking Actor-Network Theory to geographical lines of inquiry and sought to develop a spatial vocabulary that matches its distinctive thought system. However, few attempts have been made to critically examine the spatial concepts developed within the approach and a systematic examination of these concepts seems to be fundamentally missing. A lack of such an examination may then lead to the expansion of the approach deprived of the consideration of its possible limitations and implications. The purpose of the present work, then, is to provide such an examination. This will be accomplished by a systematic literature study on the works of four main proponents of Actor-Network Theory, who suggests that the approach radically changes our view on space and the spatial. In this light, the present work seeks to position Actor-Network Theory’s spatial conceptions in relation to realist conceptions of space and from this vantage point examine the possible limitations and implications their import entails for geography. On the basis of a systematic literature study of four of the main proponents, I argue that the concepts developed within the approach are intrinsically metaphorical and that their spatial conceptions juxtapose space with network formation, for in a second move to undercut any absolute and relative conceptions of space. Furthermore, I argue that not only is the spatial conceptions of Actor-Network Theory constituted by spatial metaphors, but that the import of Actor-Network Theory to geography may entail problematical constraints upon geographical lines of inquiry. (Less)
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author
Jakobsen, Peter LU
supervisor
organization
course
SGEM08 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
actor-network theory
language
English
id
8912853
date added to LUP
2017-06-12 14:17:59
date last changed
2017-06-12 14:17:59
@misc{8912853,
  abstract     = {Since Actor-Network Theory emerged in the mid-1980s, the approach has transcended disciplinary boundaries and has similarly gained prominence within geography. Moreover, also the main proponents of the approach have endeavoured in linking Actor-Network Theory to geographical lines of inquiry and sought to develop a spatial vocabulary that matches its distinctive thought system. However, few attempts have been made to critically examine the spatial concepts developed within the approach and a systematic examination of these concepts seems to be fundamentally missing. A lack of such an examination may then lead to the expansion of the approach deprived of the consideration of its possible limitations and implications. The purpose of the present work, then, is to provide such an examination. This will be accomplished by a systematic literature study on the works of four main proponents of Actor-Network Theory, who suggests that the approach radically changes our view on space and the spatial. In this light, the present work seeks to position Actor-Network Theory’s spatial conceptions in relation to realist conceptions of space and from this vantage point examine the possible limitations and implications their import entails for geography. On the basis of a systematic literature study of four of the main proponents, I argue that the concepts developed within the approach are intrinsically metaphorical and that their spatial conceptions juxtapose space with network formation, for in a second move to undercut any absolute and relative conceptions of space. Furthermore, I argue that not only is the spatial conceptions of Actor-Network Theory constituted by spatial metaphors, but that the import of Actor-Network Theory to geography may entail problematical constraints upon geographical lines of inquiry.},
  author       = {Jakobsen, Peter},
  keyword      = {actor-network theory},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Material or Metaphorical? - An Inquiry into the Spatialities of Actor-Network Theory},
  year         = {2017},
}