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Module titleActor-Network-Theory
Module codeANT2040
Academic year2018/9
Module staff

Professor Mike Michael ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This introductory module explores and discusses the development of Actor-Network-Theory (ANT), its central topics, issues, research agendas and theoretical orientations. ANT has emerged from within Science and Technology Studies (STS) and focuses on understanding social processes and controversies as they become visible at the intersection between people, technology, animals and the environment. The aim of ANT is to understand the social and what it means when we speak of society, how power relationships can be analysed in a world that is mediated by technologies and scientific knowledge, how to understand ecological issues, human-animal relations or the role artefacts and objects play in our daily life. Along selected readings, the module will discuss how ANT engages with key issues of social life including technology, science, the body, health, illness, disability and the environment.

The module is appropriate for students with some background in sociology or anthropology, although there are no pre-requisites. This module is suitable for both specialist and non-specialist students and its interdisciplinary outlook will appeal to students in social sciences, anthropology and philosophy. 

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of this module are to introduce ANT, and to explore the development of ANT, its central topics and issues, different research agendas and theoretical orientations. With the use of specific examples, the module will examine key issues of current social life and how the view of ANT offers a novel understanding of the social and society. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate your knowledge of different approaches to the study of Actor-Networks
  • 2. Analyse and evaluate key issues in the field of ANT in relation specific themes, studies and findings

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Acquire detailed and comprehensive knowledge of debates in the field
  • 4. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of key aspects of ANT, including acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge, at least some of which is at or informed by, the forefront of defined aspects of ANT
  • 5. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the well-established principles of ANT, and of the way in which those principles have developed

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Undertake independent study and group work
  • 7. Prepare focused and comprehensive written and oral presentations

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Origins of ANT
  • Experience and Social Facts
  • Strong programme, Edinburgh School
  • Laboratory Studies
  • Sociology of Objects and Technology
  • Illness
  • Disability
  • Human/Animals
  • A new Sociology? 

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching 2211 x 2-hour seminars, involving presentations, group interactive discussion, film presentations and media analysis. Please note that the last two sessions where the students present their essay projects will be held via skype (4 hours)
Guided Independent study18Preparing seminar-presentation individually and as a group
Guided independent study80Reading for assignments
Guided independent study30Essay preparation: conducting research, analysing data, and writing the finished essay


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual class presentation – primarily oral although power point slides, other media and handouts may be used 30 minutes1-7Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Research Essay803,500 words1-7Written
Individual session presentation of readings and leading session discussion20Each Session, including group work, 30 minutes, moderation of each session, and handing in discussion notes where required, after presentation (on ELE); including in class presentation of essay topic and related literature, 5-10 minutes 1-7Oral and written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Seminar presentation of readings and leading seminar discussion1,500 word essay1-7August/September reassessment period
Research EssayResearch Essay (3,500 words)1-7August/September reassessment period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


Latour, B. (2015) Re-Assembling the Social. AN Introduction to ANT. Oxford: OUP

Law, J. (1991) (ed.) A Sociology of Monsters. Essays on Power, Technology and Power. London: Routledge.

Law, J. & Hassard, J. (1999) Actor Network Theory and After. Sociological Review Monographs/Oxford: Blackwell.

Mol, A. (2002) The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice. Durham/London: Duke University Press.

Schillmeier, M. (2010) Rethinking Disability. Bodies, Senses and Things. London: Routledge

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Course materials (including lecture slides and tutorial topics/questions) will be provided on ELE prior to each lecture/tutorial.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

actor, network, body, objects, science, technology, social, society

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date