John Law (sociologist)

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John Law
Born (1946-05-16) 16 May 1946 (age 72)
Academic work
Main interests Actor-network theory

John Law (born 16 May 1946),[1] 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 map 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.


  • Law, John; Lodge, Peter (1984). Science for social scientists. London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 9780333351017. 
  • Law, John; Callon, Michel; Rip, Arie (1986). Mapping the dynamics of science and technology: sociology of science in the real world. Basingstoke: Macmillan. ISBN 9780333372234. 
  • Law, John (1986). Power, action, and belief: a new sociology of knowledge. London Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 9780710208026. 
  • Law, John; Fyfe, Gordon (1988). Picturing power: visual depiction and social relations. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415031448. 
  • Law, John (1991). A Sociology of monsters: essays on power, technology, and domination. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415071390. 
  • Law, John; Bijker, Wiebe E. (1992). Shaping technology/building society: studies in sociotechnical change. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 9780262521949. 
  • Law, John (1994). Organizing modernity. Oxford, UK Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Blackwell. ISBN 9780631185130. 
  • Law, John; Hassard, John (1999). Actor network theory and after. Oxford England Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell/Sociological Review. ISBN 9780631211945. 
  • Law, John (2002). Aircraft stories: decentering the object in technoscience. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822328247. 
  • Law, John; Mol, Annemarie (2002). Complexities: social studies of knowledge practices. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822328469. 
  • Law, John (2004). After method: mess in social science research. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415341752. 


  1. ^ "Law, John, 1946-". Library of Congress. Retrieved 13 February 2015. data sheet (b. 5/16/46) 

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