Actor-Network ‘Theory’: Composing Architectural Knowledge

Kapusuz Balcı B. B.

in: MateriART: Architectural Design, Research and Technology, Günsu Merin Abbas,Sibel Acar,Selda Bancı,Nur Çağlar,Işıl Ruhi-Sipahioğlu,Burçin Yılmaz, Editor, Caleidoscópio, Lisbon, pp.423-438, 2022

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Vocational Book
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Publisher: Caleidoscópio
  • City: Lisbon
  • Page Numbers: pp.423-438
  • Editors: Günsu Merin Abbas,Sibel Acar,Selda Bancı,Nur Çağlar,Işıl Ruhi-Sipahioğlu,Burçin Yılmaz, Editor
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Tis paper aims to put Actor-Network Teory (AN) on agenda or an insight on the  ormation o architectural knowledge and investigates how AN perorms in changing boundaries o architectural knowledge, in terms o its approach to issues o materiality and process. Since its outset in the 80s in the sociology o science and technology, having its roots both in the science and technology studies and social studies, AN has had an important impact on many fields o research, including architectural research. AN or-mulates a methodological ramework that acknowledges that technology and society are mutually constitutive, thus reuses to accept the material and the social as distinct cate- gories. In architectural terms, AN perspective would see architecture as a socio-material entity in which the building (as a technological arteact), its author (architect) /user (soci-ety) /interpreter (such as architectural theorist) and the socially-constructed relations be-tween them, have no supremacy over other. AN problematizes the disciplinary bounda-ries o architecture while redefining architecture as a “socio-technical network” comprised o distributive relations between people and things, or arteacts and actors involved in the material processes, which may be situated beyond the field o architecture. Even though  AN has been called a theory by name, it has been defined by its spokesmen Bruno La-tour and John Law more as a set o thinking, or a method o research. In this sense, this  paper aims to illustrate how encounters between AN and architecture problematizes “Teory” o architectural knowledge while suspending conventional distinctions between theory, history 


 and criticism o architecture. It suggests a “compositionist” way o know-ing architecture (with reerence to Latour’s Compositionist Maniesto) in relation with the shif rom “matters o acts” to “matters o concern” in representative Compositionism as a maniesto declared by Latour, is a position with a critical distance rom both the modern-ist and postmodernist ways o knowing, replacing the binary oppositions with the multi- plicity o the relations. By virtue o an epistemological position in the “expanded field” o architectural knowledge, this study attempts to illustrate translations o AN’s composi-tionist method into the architectural theorist’s act o composing architectural knowledge.