John Law (sociologist)

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John Law
Born (1946-05-16) 16 May 1946 (age 74)
AwardsJohn Desmond Bernal Prize
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
ThesisSpecialties in Science: A Sociological Study of X-ray Protein Crystallography
Academic work
DisciplineSociology, Science and technology studies
Main interestsActor-network theory
Notable works"Provincialising STS" (2015)
"STS as Method" (2015)
After Method (2004)
Aircraft Stories (2002)
"Notes on Materiality and Sociality" (with Annemarie Mol, 1995)
A Sociology of Monsters (editor, 1991)
"Technology and Heterogeneous Engineering: the Case of the Portuguese Expansion" (1987, in The Social Construction of Technological Systems)

John Law (born 16 May 1946),[1] is a sociologist and science and technology studies scholar, 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. OCLC 20492048.
  • Law, John (1994). Organizing modernity: social ordering and social theory. Oxford, UK Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Blackwell. ISBN 9780631185130. OCLC 901782885.
  • Law, John (2002). Aircraft stories: decentering the object in technoscience. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822328247. OCLC 231972039.
  • Law, John (2004). After method: mess in social science research. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415341752. OCLC 989163983.
  • Bowman, Andrew; Ertürk, Ismail; Froud, Julie; Johal, Sukhdev; Law, John; Lever, Adam; Moran, Michael; Williams, Karel (2014). The end of the experiment? Reframing the foundational economy. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719096334. OCLC 934513178.


See also[edit]


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

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