Actor-Network Theory as a theory of culture
The article addresses the problem of a gap between Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and more traditionally oriented cultural theories. The very gap stems from the fact that ANT rejects such concepts as culture or society, which remain at the core of cultural theories. These are the results of ontological and theoretical considerations. The aim of the text is to bridge the gap by using Zygmunt Bauman’s metatheoretical argument from the introduction to his Culture as praxis, written in 1999. Bauman analyzes there how historical circumstances of “culture” cumulate in the concept itself. Following Bauman, I reconstruct the basic elements of it as: order and system determinism; freedom and creativity; ambivalent relation connecting the two; and using “culture” as an explanation of the relative order binding together social world and individuals that inhabit it. Then I translate them using such ANT concepts as negotiations, stabilization, punctualisation, actor-network, agency. I argue that ANT may make traditional theories more open to study the problems of agency and material complexities in culture. It also helps to investigate cultural phenomena in three parallel dimensions approaching culture as a stable container for actions, as a result of local negotiations and as an object of controversies and negotiations.