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On Actor‐Network Theory and landscape

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Abstract:

Focusing primarily on the actor – human or nonhuman, individual or group, conscious or unconscious – Actor‐Network Theory (ANT) explores the interconnectedness of all things. ANT recognises that all objects and things exhibit consciousness, and through a consciousness, interact heterogeneously in space; the location of the interaction(s), where they are performed homogeneously, is the landscape. If, as ANT promotes, all objects and things exhibit consciousness, then the closer in space they are to one another, the more essential they are to each other. These notions have specific ties to the on‐going critique in landscape studies of focusing on rural and local scales, and the continuing debate in human (and physical) geography regarding the necessity of scale itself. Using ANT as a framework, and punctuated with true‐life anecdotes, this article wraps the landscape‐created‐by‐nature and the landscape‐created‐by‐human debates into a non‐dialectic whole, demonstrating, perhaps provocatively and controversially, that any landscape should be distinctly anti‐dialectic and removed from scalar constraints. While ANT remains an often‐overlooked and misunderstood technique for studying the landscape, this article's crux rests in nothing less than attempting to lay the groundwork for using ANT as a practical technique when studying any landscape in any location at any time (and in any related disciplinary field). If indeed, as argued in this paper and as ANT suggests, everything is networked, then scale, specifically when applied to any landscape, becomes irrelevant.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01026.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80217-3364, USA.

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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