Accepted Paper:

Actor-Network VS Network Analysis VS Digital Networks Are We Talking About the Same Networks?  


Tommaso Venturini (École Normale Supérieure Lyon)
Mathieu Jacomy (Sciences Po)
Anders Munk (Aalborg University)

Paper short abstract:

Our contribution discusses the differences and affinities among three types of networks (namely Actor-Network, Network Analysis and Digital Networks) that are playing an increasingly important role in digital STS.

Paper long abstract:

In the last few decades, the idea of 'network' has slowly but steadily colonized broad strands of STS research. This colonization started with the advent of actor-network theory, which provided a convenient set of notions to describe the construction of socio-technical phenomena. Then came network analysis, and scholars who imported in the STS the techniques of investigation and visualization developed in the tradition of social network analysis and scientometrics. Finally, with the increasing 'computerization' of STS, scholars turned their attention to digital networks a way of tracing collective life.

Many researchers have more or less explicitly tried to link these three movements in one coherent set of digital methods for STS, betting on the idea that actor-network theory can be operationalized through network analysis thanks to the data provided by digital networks. Yet, to be honest, little proves the continuity among these three objects besides the homonymy of the word 'network'. Are we sure that we are talking about the same networks?

Panel T113
Critical data studies