CALL FOR PAPERS ISA World congress of sociology « Actor-Network-Theory and Urban Studies »

17 mai 2013

Dominique BOULLIER and Bart WISSINK are organizing the session « Actor-Network-Theory and Urban Studies » at the ISA World congress of sociology (Yokohama – Japan, 13-19 July 2014)


Session Organizers
Dominique BOULLIER, Sciences Po, France,
Bart WISSINK, City University of Hong Kong, China,

Session in English


Call for papers

Over the last decade, Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) has emerged as a new perspective within urban studies. This has resulted in case studies that employ ANT in specific cities, pieces of general urban theory and methodology that trace the implications of ANT for urban research, and a first edited volume. Some studies stay close to the field of science and technology studies – the home ground of ANT – but others engage in a more general analysis of urban controversies and urban development. While ANT encapsulates political and philosophical backgrounds on modernism that challenge usual assumptions about urban planning and public participation, these consequences are not yet clearly drawn out.

Against the background of this diverse and growing field, this session aims to bring together urban researchers that engage with ANT, and stimulate a discussion on the potential contribution of ANT to urban studies. It especially focuses on the following questions: Which questions does ANT help to answer? How should we conduct ANT analyses in the urban studies context? How do analyses that employ ANT in urban studies differ from alternative perspectives? Which promise does ANT hold for the future of urban studies? What are the limitations of ANT?

We are inviting papers that engage with these questions, on the basis of stories, cases studies, and personal experiences with ANT research, as we believe that ANT must be discussed as research in the making, grounded in active fieldwork. Possible themes include:

  • Specific controversies;
  • Challenges to the modern vision of urban planning and urban studies;
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods (from ethnography to social graphs);
  • Non-humans as a key resource for urban studies;
  • Mediations (or ‘agency’) in urban projects;
  • Networks vs institutions.

Papers that link up to the conference topic – inequality and spatial justice – will receive special attention.