Actor-network theory (ANT): an assemblage of perceptions, understandings, and critiques of this ‘sensibility' and how its relatively under-utilized conceptual framework in education studies can aid researchers in the exploration of networks and power relations

Denise Mifsud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this theoretical paper, the author provides a critical review of the Actor-Network Theory concept, while considering the relative under-utilization of Actor-Network Theory in education studies, tracing possible ways in which this theory can contribute as an analytical framework through its strands of ‘actor-network', ‘symmetry', ‘translation', and their constituents– thus facilitating its international growth. Two concepts this paper gives prominence to are networks and power relations. The author challenges the widespread conception of the ‘network' metaphor propagated by globalization discourses, contrasting it in turn with the network conception in Actor-Network Theory, where the main premise is multiplicity. The author explores Actor-Network Theory as a theory of the mechanics of power, concerning itself with the establishment of hegemony. This paper is especially aimed at those researchers of education reform who are as yet unfamiliar with Actor-Network Theory and somewhat sceptical of socio-material approaches, in order for them to realize its unrivalled potential contribution to their work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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