The uncodings of ANT: Mobilities of digital data

Terrie Lynn Thompson, OptimalScholarship, May 07, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

One of the best of the bunch from a double symposium, this short paper challenges our understanding of Actor-Network Theory (ANT). Terrie Lynn Thompson writes, "One of the basic tenets of Actor Network Theory (ANT) is to 'follow the actors'." But the 'actors' in a data-driven world are slippery and elusive. "the encoding of data has amplified its mobility, performativity, and generativity: it is distributed, often public, fragmented, and entangled in multiple recursive circulations... data can enact multiple realities simultaneously.... Mol (1999) writes about 'different versions, different performances, different realities, that co-exist in the present.'"

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