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When is a Network not a Network?

February 2, 2010

When it is a real network…I have been using Actor Network Theory (aka ANT, not to be confused with ANTS, the very interesting p2p project) in my research (I’d recommend this and this if you are interested) and yet the ‘networks’ of ANT are not necessarily networks at all, but are networks in the other sense of the word, as in a real network, but are in intangible associations of human (and non-human) activity, . Here’s a brief discussion of the difference:

One of the weaknesses of a Latourian sense of the world as Networking is that though such sociological analytic takes its traction from the fashion in which actual networks have been coming to dominate our communications and industry, it is not really the Internet or other literal networks Latour and ANTS are talking about. Indeed, everything is to be explained by the transformations of networks, and it may be that literal networks are some of the things that are least explainable in such terms.

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