The Problem of Applying the Actor-Network Theory Method in Media Theory and Media Communication
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Actor-Network Theory Conceptual Model Communication Contraversions Assemblage Media Ontological Turn Agency Participation Communication Spaces

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Sosnovskaya, A. (2023). The Problem of Applying the Actor-Network Theory Method in Media Theory and Media Communication. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 5(4), 282-304.


For more than three decades, media researchers have seen Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as a suitable approach to form a new theory of media roles and to study communication technologies as actors, but this relationship has been surprisingly understudied. A review of recent articles on the use of ANT in media theory and related fields shows that there are explications of networks and translations, but it is the key method of uncertainty or contraversion that has not yet been integrated into communication theory.

The aim of this article is to integrate the method of contraversion into the structure of communication, the conceptual model of communication, which will allow us to nuance networks and collectives, to see the unnoticed entities that “knock” to be seen and accounted for. This is the essence of the politics of participation of non-human actors, nonhumans, according to Latour.

The model allows to follow the process of differentiation of socio-technical hybrid objects in communication. The unfolding of this process of becoming represents the stages of communication development, which can be roughly divided into 4 stages, and focus both on the whole process of assemblage and on its stages, in order to notice the influencing entities. In the ANT concept, all assemblages, hybrid entities, consist of actors or non-figurative actants, and all actants are themselves assemblages. In the process of zooming in and describing phenomena, one should go after the actors on the one hand and determine the level of complexity of the network on the other.

The conceptual model of communication, complemented by the ANT contraverses, helps to map reality and is an influential political tool as it reveals hidden actors and shows the asymmetry of influence.
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