More documents from Schulz-Schaeffer, Ingo

Export to your Reference Manger

Please Copy & Paste



Bookmark and Share

Who is the actor and whose goals will be pursued? : rethinking some consepts of actor network theory

Wer ist der Akteur und wessen Ziele werden verfolgt? Überdenken einiger Konzepte der Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie
[collection article]

Schulz-Schaeffer, Ingo

Citation Suggestion

Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:

Further Details
Abstract "Summarising the main ideas of actor network theory, Bruno Latour (1994; reprinted in Latour 1999, 174–215)1 proposes four concepts to describe the role of technological artefacts in society: (1) interrelated programmes of action, (2) action as a property of associations of heterogeneous entities, (3) black boxing and (4) inscription. In his contribution 'Translating Medical Practices' Bernhard Wieser (2006b) refers to these four concepts as a means to analyse prenatal testing and changes that occur in conjunction with the increased use of ultrasound screening and additional non-invasive examination methods. The interest he shares with the authors of actor network theory is to gain an understanding of the role of technology that is neither obscured by technological determinism nor by social determinism. Actor network theory—and still more Latour's pronounced position within this strand of thinking - contradicts common sense views about technological artefacts. The empirical examples Latour provides in his texts are carefully chosen to clarify his counterintuitive point of view - e.g. the street bump (Latour 1992, 244) or the Berlin key (Latour 1996a, 37–51). Likewise, he presents thought experiments that are carefully designed to tell his story—such as the hypothetical reconstruction of the programmes of action and anti-programmes concerning the issue of leaving hotel keys at the front desk (Latour 1991) or his considerations concerning the combined action of the shooter and the gun (Latour 1994). In order to illustrate his concepts Latour applies them to a purified reality. There is nothing wrong with this but in empirical reality, as Michel Callon (1992, 79) states, '(i)mpurity is the rule'. There, the ideal typical entities and events which provide the most striking evidence for the theorist's concepts are seldom to be found. However, it is with respect to understanding impure reality that the theoretical concepts have to prove their usefulness. In the case of Latourian actor network theory this means reconsidering some of its main concepts. I will do this by discussing Wieser's considerations about applying actor network theory to the case of prenatal testing." (author's abstract)

Der Autor setzt sich kritisch mit den Ausführungen von Bernhard Wieser im vorliegenden Sammelband auseinander, welcher vorgeschlagen hat, die Diskussionen zur Pränataldiagnostik aus der Perspektive einer Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie zu betrachten. Der Autor wirft die Frage auf, wer hier im einzelnen der Akteur ist und wo eher eine "black box" zu vermuten ist. Er argumentiert, dass die pränatalen Untersuchungen und Testverfahren eine schwangere Frau auf verschiedene Art und Weise neu definieren. Sie machen Frauen insbesondere zum medizinischen Versuchsobjekt und zu einer vorläufig Schwangeren. Darüber hinaus werden die Eltern durch die pränatalen Tests in Entscheidungsträger für oder gegen ein Kind verwandelt. Der Autor kommt zu der Schlussfolgerung, dass die Pränataldiagnostik nicht zwischen den unterschiedlichen Graden unterscheidet, in denen sich solche Redefinitionen vollziehen. (ICI)
Keywords social actor; network; theory; woman; pregnancy; test; procedure; medicine; embryo; genetic engineering; diagnostic; decision; social network
Classification Medical Sociology
Method theory application
Collection Title Prenatal testing : individual decision or distributed action?
Editor Wieser, Bernhard; Karner, Sandra; Berger, Wilhelm
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Publisher Profil-Verl.
City München
Page/Pages p. 131-158
Series Technik- und Wissenschaftsforschung, 48
ISBN 3-89019-603-9
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne