Knowledge in networks

knowing in transactions?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper discusses a methodological dilemma proposed by engaging actor-network theory (ANT) in studying collaborative research practices of researchers in a large interdisciplinary project. The paper sets the context of this large publically funded project (‘Ensemble: Semantic Technologies for the Enhancement of Case Based learning’) between Education and Computer Sciences, currently being undertaken by a consortium of six UK universities and three international partners. While a strand of ANT states that knowledge ‘emerges as continuously generated effects of webs of relations within which they are located’ (Law 2007), it is very vague in terms of how precisely does that knowledge emerge and how to study that. The methods -question was further complicated by the existence of multiple, potentially conflicting epistemological positions present at the project – how to study these without having to pass a value judgement in terms of their validity and reliability? The specific focus of the discussion is what might be termed the epistemology of actor-network theory, with particular consideration of the Principle of Symmetry. The paper suggests reading ANT through John Dewey’s Pragmatism and assesses ideas to take forward from this discussion in order to study interdisciplinary research work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation (IJANTTI)
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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actor-network-theory
transaction
value judgement
interdisciplinary research
pragmatism
research practice
computer science
epistemology
semantics
Law
university
present
learning
education

Keywords

  • actor-network theory
  • ANT
  • research
  • semantic technologies
  • learning

Cite this

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title = "Knowledge in networks: knowing in transactions?",
abstract = "This paper discusses a methodological dilemma proposed by engaging actor-network theory (ANT) in studying collaborative research practices of researchers in a large interdisciplinary project. The paper sets the context of this large publically funded project (‘Ensemble: Semantic Technologies for the Enhancement of Case Based learning’) between Education and Computer Sciences, currently being undertaken by a consortium of six UK universities and three international partners. While a strand of ANT states that knowledge ‘emerges as continuously generated effects of webs of relations within which they are located’ (Law 2007), it is very vague in terms of how precisely does that knowledge emerge and how to study that. The methods -question was further complicated by the existence of multiple, potentially conflicting epistemological positions present at the project – how to study these without having to pass a value judgement in terms of their validity and reliability? The specific focus of the discussion is what might be termed the epistemology of actor-network theory, with particular consideration of the Principle of Symmetry. The paper suggests reading ANT through John Dewey’s Pragmatism and assesses ideas to take forward from this discussion in order to study interdisciplinary research work.",
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journal = "International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and Technological Innovation (IJANTTI)",
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AB - This paper discusses a methodological dilemma proposed by engaging actor-network theory (ANT) in studying collaborative research practices of researchers in a large interdisciplinary project. The paper sets the context of this large publically funded project (‘Ensemble: Semantic Technologies for the Enhancement of Case Based learning’) between Education and Computer Sciences, currently being undertaken by a consortium of six UK universities and three international partners. While a strand of ANT states that knowledge ‘emerges as continuously generated effects of webs of relations within which they are located’ (Law 2007), it is very vague in terms of how precisely does that knowledge emerge and how to study that. The methods -question was further complicated by the existence of multiple, potentially conflicting epistemological positions present at the project – how to study these without having to pass a value judgement in terms of their validity and reliability? The specific focus of the discussion is what might be termed the epistemology of actor-network theory, with particular consideration of the Principle of Symmetry. The paper suggests reading ANT through John Dewey’s Pragmatism and assesses ideas to take forward from this discussion in order to study interdisciplinary research work.

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KW - semantic technologies

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