An approach for integrating actor-network theory and social network analysis: Analyzing science as collective action
Keita Sugihara (Nanzan University)
Paper short abstract:
Paper long abstract:
Science is a form of collective action engaged in by scientists. The purpose of this paper is to show how the integration of actor-network theory (ANT) and social network analysis (SNA) can facilitate a fruitful understanding of science as collective action. First, I review ANT and SNA. According to Freeman, research that examines links among objects of study is called structural. In social science, the structural approach that is based on the study of interaction among social actors is called SNA. SNA is defined by the following features: (1) SNA is motivated by a structural institution based on ties linking social actors, (2) it is grounded in systematic empirical data, (3) it draws heavily on graphic imagery, and (4) it relies on the use of mathematical and/or computational models. Beyond the commitment to these four features, modern social network analysts recognize that a wide range of empirical phenomena can be explored in terms of their structural patterning. Second, I survey preceding studies that have tried to integrate ANT and SNA. Third, I introduce a method used in SNA known as centrality analysis. Fourth, I focus on Callon, Law, and Rip's use of ANT in their study on qualitative scientometrics. Fifth, I show how applying the method of centrality analysis from SNA to Callon, Law, and Rip's ANT-based qualitative scientometrics can yield a fruitful quantification of their analysis. Finally, I suggest that integrating ANT and SNA can facilitate a useful understanding of social movements other than science.