Encyclopedia of Tourism

Living Edition
| Editors: Jafar Jafari, Honggen Xiao

Actor-network theory, tourism

  • René Van der DuimEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01669-6_3-1

Actor-network theory (ANT) is a particular family of tools and methods that treat “everything in the social and natural worlds as a continuously generated effect of webs of relations within which they are located” (Law 2009: 142). It is not a fixed theory but grounded in empirical case studies. It enables radical new ways of examining and describing tourism by critically investigating its ontological conditions.

The three main elements of ANT –“actor,” “network,” and “theory” – have been subject to fierce debate ever since the late 1970s (Latour 2005; Law 2009; Law and Hassard 1999). It became popular within the realm of science and technology studies and soon expanded to other domains in the social sciences.

Since the 2000s, ANT has gradually come to be adopted in the field of tourism studies (Van der Duim et al. 2012, 2013). These studies inspired by it highlight the messy reality of tourism practices made up by materiality, social practices, and technologies. They examine how...


Actor Network Theory (ANT) Othering Othering Ethnographic Research Methods Tourism Objectives Conducting Research Projects 
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  1. Latour, B. 2005 Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
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  4. Van der Duim, R., C. Ren, and G. Jóhannesson 2012 Actor-Network Theory and Tourism: Ordering, Materiality and Multiplicity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Van der Duim, R., C. Ren, and G. Jóhannesson 2013 Ordering, Materiality and Multiplicity: Enacting Actor-Network-Theory in Tourism. Tourism Studies 13:3-20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands