Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 403–421 | Cite as

Actor-Network Theory, Gabriel Tarde and the Study of an Urban Social Movement: The Case of Can Ricart, Barcelona

  • Isaac Marrero-GuillamónEmail author


This article explores the possibilities that a deeper engagement with the work of Gabriel Tarde opens for Actor-Network Theory (ANT). It argues that the combination of ANT’s methodological and analytical orientation and Tarde’s neo-monadology offers a useful framework for the study of new forms of political activism. Findings from an ethnographic project on the conflict surrounding the eviction and demolition of the Can Ricart factory in Barcelona are used to discuss: a) how ANT transforms the objects of inquiry into performative, relational entanglements (or monads); and b) how Tarde’s neo-monadology helps to re-imagine the political in ANT, moving away from the design of new parliamentary forms and towards a politics of invention. Three key moments of invention in the conflict of Can Ricart are examined: the assemblage of a new activist collective, the fabrication of the very factory the movement was trying to save, and the generation of a bifurcation in the conditions of possibility in which the conflict was taking place.


Barcelona Urban sociology Social movements Ontology Ethnography Monadology 



I would like to thank Rafa Reina ( for granting me permission to use his images. I am also grateful to the guest editors and the anonymous reviewers for their detailed feedback on previous versions of the article. Last but not least, I would like to thank Theo Lorenc, with whom I have been fortunate to discuss the work of Gabriel Tarde at length.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyGoldsmiths, University of LondonLondonUK

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