Actor-network theory, organizations and critique: towards a politics of organizing

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2010-07
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In recent years the approach to social theory known as Actor-Network Theory (ANT) has been adopted within a range of social science fields. Despite its popularity, ANT is considered a controversial approach in that it appears to promote a sociological perspective that lacks substantive political critique. This is argued to be particularly true in ANT's 'translations' in management and organization studies (MOS). In this article, we argue that the 'ANT and After' literature offers the potential to develop such a political critique. In particular we suggest it presents the opportunity to develop an approach that de-naturalizes organization(s), has the ability to deliver critical performativity, and at the same time offer a reflexive approach to management and organizational knowledge. Using organizational examples, we argue that ANT and After can offer insights relevant to the development of a critical perspective on MOS, notably through its advocacy of a 'political ontology' of organizing.


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