Systems practice

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 379–393

Notes on the theory of the actor-network: Ordering, strategy, and heterogeneity

  • John Law

DOI: 10.1007/BF01059830

Cite this article as:
Law, J. Systems Practice (1992) 5: 379. doi:10.1007/BF01059830


This paper describes the theory of the actor-network, a body of theoretical and empirical writing which treats social relations, including power and organization, as network effects. The theory is distinctive because it insists that networks are materially heterogeneous and argues that society and organization would not exist if they were simply social. Agents, texts, devices, architectures are all generated in, form part of, and are essential to, the networks of the social. And in the first instance, all should be analyzed in the same terms. Accordingly, in this view, the task of sociology is to characterize the ways in which materials join together to generate themselves and reproduce institutional and organizational patterns in the networks of the social.

Key words

actor-network translation heterogeneity agency technology strategy ordering punctualization power materialism 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Law
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social AnthropologyKeele UniversityKeeleUK

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