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Differences between actor network theory and social construction sociology essay

What do you think are the primary strengths and weaknesses of each theory? As technology invades our lives in ways that are ever more pervasive, it is important to have a methodical framework for which to examine the complex relationship between society and technology. In this essay, a definition of SCOT is offered that situates it in opposition to technological determinist theory.

SCOT vs ANT: A comparison of theories

The essay concludes by drawing comparisons between how the two theories are similar and how they differ. The theory that is more valuable to a researcher, however, will differ depending on the type of question being asked. Key concepts such as, but not limited to: Despite this strength, SCOT is certainly not without its weaknesses.

  1. To be instructive in an inquiry concerning current organisational transformations, one has to supplement it with a grasp of the interplay between IT and organisations in more detail.
  2. By stepwise increasing the weight of the knob, the desired behaviour was finally achieved. Both theories use actors in their research methods; however how these actors are defined is where the two theories begin to diverge.
  3. This chapter motivates for, outlines and illustrates one such vehicle, namely actor-network theory ANT. You end up with the whole world in your lap every time.
  4. The motivation for outlining ANT in relation to the development and establishment of information infrastructure is the need to critically asses the descriptions of this issue provided by traditional management literature.

By employing the concept of network, ANT aims to systematically map how technologies emerge and evolve based on the influence of a range of actors. For this reason, it can be argued that this approach may not be as valuable when the agency of human motive demands more consideration in the answers being sought. Both theories use actors in their research methods; however how these actors are defined is where the two theories begin to diverge.

Both theories have their merits and as each approach has become more refined, it is ultimately the question being asked that determines which theory will provide the most insight.

SCOT was defined as an STS theory that goes against technological determinist thinking and holds that society shapes technological advancement.

ANT theory sought to rectify this by employing a network concept to describe how society shapes the design of technology. While ANT vocabulary can arguably provide a broader scope for research, some argue that this is achieved without a consideration of ethics. The question of which theory holds more value to a researcher depends then on the types of answers being sought.

The Associations between Technologies and Societies: The Utility of Actor-Network Theory.

Science, Technology and Society, 21 2129-148. Learning from the social construction of environmental indicators: From the retrospective to the pro-active use of SCOT in technology development. Building and Environment, 45 1135-142. Theorising big IT programmes in healthcare: The ordering of things: The Sociological Review, 53 S1163-167.

A professional dancer goes back to school to transition into a new career

The social construction of technology: Soziale welt, 47 4369-381. A Reappraisal of Technological Frames. Sociological Research Online, 14 24. The Effects of Technology and Innovation on Society.

  1. Inscriptions invite us to talk about how the various kinds of materials — artefacts, work routines, legal documents, prevailing norms and habits, written manuals, institutional and organisational arrangements and procedures — attempt to inscribe patterns of use which may or may not succeed. Sociological Research Online, 14 2 , 4.
  2. It provides a language to describe how, where and to which extent technology influences human behaviour. Balancing the tight-rope between, on the one hand, an objectivistic stance where artefacts determine the use and, on the other hand, a subjectivistic stance holding that an artefact is always interpreted and appropriated flexibly, the notion of an inscription may be used to describe how concrete anticipations and restrictions of future patterns of use are involved in the development and use of a technology.
  3. The term inscription might sound somewhat deterministic by suggesting that action is inscribed, grafted or hard-wired into an artefact. Employing ANT still requires a researcher to make critical judgements about how to delineate the context of study from the backdrop.
  4. As an information system IS consists of a large number of modules and inter-connections, it may be approached with a varying degree of granularity. Major changes which seriously interfere with the momentum are, according to Hughes, only conceivable in extraordinary instances.