280MAPA: Network theories week 5

“Actor network theory is basis around how everything and everyone is connected in one way or another” hence the term ‘network society.’

Avdeeff, Melissa, 2021, lecture 6, Network theories, lecture notes, Media and communications, Coventry University, delivered 22 Feb 2021.

This term is perhaps defined as collective information with multiple different infrastructures of social and media networks being allowed to delegate its organisation whether in a form of an individual, group, organisation or society. 

As we dive deeper into this, a singular individual (human) and technology within the networks is said to be called actors. Actants are signals that are formed when both human and non-human actors’ function together to take on a shape.

Actors are defined as the “source of an action regardless of its status as a human or non-human”. (Cresswell,2010, p.1).

Johannesson and Brenholdt call actor as “Humans would only be naked bodies without their props, and it is only through interaction – networking – with materials they become (human) actors. Hence, for ANT, the solid individual actor is non-existent until it has been stabilized as such through relational ordering.” (Johannessen, Baerenholdt,2009, p.15).

This further supports my statment earlier that one actor can’t work well without the other. The two actors must co-exist together, the interaction between them both; networking will form an action.

Short case study:

What is a device such as an iPhone without its user?

Both the iPhone and their user are called actors within the realm of a ‘network society’. An iPhone, a smartphone made by Apple that combines a computer, iPod, digital camera and a cellular phone onto one device with a touchscreen interface. 

There are other actors in the network that all combine together to form and make up the iPhone.

It could be said that beyond this both manufacturers and designers both have a part to play in the process of this. 

If the infrastructure of this network didn’t exactly function properly, somewhere along the line the outcome of this phone wouldn’t exactly be practical for people to use.

As an iPhone can only operate with its user present. Without one’s phone user, the device is practically useless as it becomes an inanimate object that is just laying around.

The phone is created to suit the purpose of entertaining, teaching and getting in contact with other users. To gain such accessibility you need either a face id or fingerprint, to scan either the face or thumbs.

Overall, I think a device without its user it relatively meaningless as it serves no purpose, it will just be an actor that is non-human. 


Cresswell, K. M., Worth, A., & Sheikh, A. (2010, November 1). Actor-Network Theory and its role in understanding the implementation of information technology developments in healthcare. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. Retrieved 27 February 2021, from https://bmcmedinformdecismak.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6947-10-67

Johannesson, G., & Bærenholdt, J. (2009). Actor-Network Theory/Network Geographies. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved 27 February 2021, from https://files.coventry.aula.education/d754573c8b601d317481aa53035db994actor_network_theory_network_geographies.pdf.

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