John Law (sociologist)

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John Law is a sociologist currently on the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University and key proponent of Actor-network theory. Actor-network theory, sometimes abbreviated to ANT, is a social science approach for describing and explaining social, organisational, scientific and technological structures, processes and events. It assumes that all the components of such structures (whether these are human or otherwise) form a network of relations that can be mapped and described in the same terms or vocabulary.

Developed by two leading French STS scholars, Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, Law himself, and others, ANT may alternatively be described as a 'material-semiotic' method. ANT strives to maps relations that are simultaneously material (between things) and 'semiotic' (between concepts), for instance, the interactions in a bank involve both people and their ideas, and computers. Together these form a single network.

Professor John Law is one of the directors of the ESRC funded Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change.


  • After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, Routledge, London, 2004
  • Aircraft Stories: Decentering the Object in Technoscience, Duke UP, 2002
  • Complexities: Social Studies of Knowledge Practices (co-edited with Annemarie Mol), Duke UP 2002
  • Actor Network Theory and After, Blackwell and Sociological Review, (co-edited with John Hassard), Oxford, 1999
  • Organizing Modernity, Blackwell, Oxford, 1994
  • Shaping Technology/Building Society, (co-edited with Wiebe Bijker), MIT Press, 1992


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