chapter  3
Contexts of teaching and learning: An actor-network view of the classroom
Pages 13

Actor-network theory (ANT) is not a learning theory as such, nor is it a pedagogy, but it is a theory of knowledge, agency and machines (Law 1992). In this chapter I will consider how this theory may nevertheless inform our understanding of learning and teaching. It is an approach which aims to analytically treat humans and non-humans equally. By non-humans, ANT thinks mainly of technologies ormachines, but can also think of other forms ofmateriality, for example, ‘natural’ materials. However, the ‘natural-social’ (Nature-Society) distinction is one which ANT challenges in a thorough-going way. As a theory of knowledge, agency and machines, ANT is ‘a relational and process-oriented sociology that treats agents, organizations, and devices as interactive effects’ (Law 1992: 389). ‘Interaction’ is a pivotal issue in that it necessitates an understanding of process and an acknowledgement that effects (desirable and undesirable) take time and depend upon interactional sequences which must be studied closely to understand how they produce effects.