John Law (sociologist)

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John Law
Born (1946-05-16) 16 May 1946 (age 74)
Awards John Desmond Bernal Prize
Academic background
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Thesis Specialties in Science: A Sociological Study of X-ray Protein Crystallography
Academic work
Discipline Sociology, Science and technology studies
Main interests Actor-network theory
Notable works"Provincialising STS" (2015)
"STS as Method" (2015)
After Method (2004)
Aircraft Stories (2002)
"Notes on Materiality and Sociality" (with Annemarie Mol, 1995)
A Sociology of Monsters (editor, 1991)
"Technology and Heterogeneous Engineering: the Case of the Portuguese Expansion" (1987, in The Social Construction of Technological Systems)

John Law (born 16 May 1946), [1] is a sociologist and science and technology studies scholar, currently on the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University and key proponent of Actor-network theory. Actor-network theory, sometimes abbreviated to ANT, is a social science approach for describing and explaining social, organisational, scientific and technological structures, processes and events. It assumes that all the components of such structures (whether these are human or otherwise) form a network of relations that can be mapped and described in the same terms or vocabulary.


Developed by two leading French STS scholars, Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, Law himself, and others, ANT may alternatively be described as a 'material-semiotic' method. ANT strives to map relations that are simultaneously material (between things) and 'semiotic' (between concepts), for instance, the interactions in a bank involve both people and their ideas, and computers. Together these form a single network.

Professor John Law is one of the directors of the ESRC funded Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change.




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  1. "Law, John, 1946-". Library of Congress. Retrieved 13 February 2015. data sheet (b. 5/16/46)