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Actor-networks and implementation: examples from conservation GIS in Ecuador

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Recommendations for implementation and evaluation of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can benfit from a broader theoretical foundation to support investigation, understanding and improvement. This paper discusses Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as a framework to delineate and evaluate the social and technical interactions involved in GIS implementation. The proposed process traces actor-network interactions through texts, technical objects, people, money and control. Actor alignment, actor-network stability and obligatory points of passage are evaluated to compare actor-networks. Case study research on conservation GIS implementation in Ecuador illustrates these methods. The strength of these actor-networks is examined through analysis of actors' interactions and the presence and function of an obligatory point of passage. Stronger actor-networks exhibit alignment among actors, co-location of an obligatory point of passage with the center of calculation and credit sharing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Washington, Department of Geography, Box 353550 Seattle WA 98195-3550, USA; The Community and Environment Spatial Analysis Center, 1305 4th Ave. Seattle WA 98101, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2000

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