Hunter, Shona. “Oscillating Politics and Shifting Agencies: Equalities and Diversity Work and Actor Network Theory.” Equal Opportunities International 26 5 (2007): 402-19. Print.

  • This essay uses ANT to develop an analysis of Iopia, a Black woman equalities educator working in a prison in the UK in an education context.  The article hopes to demonstrate how the actor-network interacts with both human and non human objects to “challenge racism” in this particular context (402).
  • The study found that Iopia moved from an initial position of being marginalized to one central to the “new” network for quality and diversity.  This network challenges and sustains narrow exclusionary definitions of diversity.
  • The authors consider this a “feminist ANT analysis” and see their work interacting with more fully developed and integrated versions of critical race and critical culture theories to analyze equalities work.
  • The article places an emphasis on the act of translation to see how folks can use “material objects to draw in multiple ‘others’ into their own networks.
  • A fundamental tension for this article is the one that develops between the “real” work of equality and the work that many folks do – sometimes begrudgingly – toward diversity.
  • ANT is used in this article to “illuminate the formalized and less formalized processes through which equality and diversity gets taken up and not taken up in organizations” (404).
  • ANT is taken up by some feminist science studies.  A list includes:  Singleton 1996, 1998; Star 1991; Haraway 1991, 1997).  Perhaps you should look to these to see how feminism and ANT work together.
  • This article points out some fundamental problems/debates in ANT : 1) the colonizing policy of ANT in relation to the “other,” 2) the politics of ANT, 3) the importance of ambivalence (amorality), and as a result, extensive embellishments on the original work.  (405)
  • Much like Latour, the authors of the piece rely on Callon (1986) to demonstrate that the objects of the world are constituted by their relations with objects, not vice versa.  Callon’s work also demonstrates that there is no analytic distinction between human and non human actors.  Notions such as “institutions, state, class, ‘race’ or gender’ are constituted as ‘coherent, consistent, uniform across time and space’ through networks of people, ideas and objects” (406).
  • Great lay definitions of the processes of gaining allies:
    • Interessement:  This is what you really want to be
    • Translation:  We are the ones who can help you become that.
    • Enrollment:  Grant your obedience by your own consent.
    • Displacement:  Ignore or pay less attention to other scenarios, make this network more durable
  • Feminists such as Susa Leigh Star “suggests that one powerful way in which feminist analysis and ANT can be joined is in linking the outsider or marginalized actors characteristic of feminist work with the translation model of ANT to explore ‘the point of view that which cannot be translated:  the monstrous, the Other, the wild’” (408).  In this way, ANT can help analysts understand what “marginal actors achieve through day-to-day work and the novel ways in which organizational future may get play out as a result” (ibid).
  • This article really uses ANT to demonstrate how to “coerce” or “persuade” actors through translation toward enrollment.
  • This ANT work underscores the multiplicity of identities involved in ANT work by highlighting how the networks we engage in are multilayered and intersectional.  While being an enroller of different actors, one is also always enrolled in other networks.  These multiplicities point to how a single conception of the object is always woefully inadequate.  The study also highlights how non-human actors (policies in this case) have the ability to enroll actors and make things happen (they have agency).

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