Opening the media-ecological black box of Latour

Van Den Eede, Yoni
December 2013
Explorations in Media Ecology;Dec2013, Vol. 12 Issue 3/4, p259
Academic Journal
Sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour's work is almost never mentioned in media-ecological contexts, but considering the aim, style and scope of his work he can definitely be seen as a media ecologist pur sang. Moreover, he shares some essential premises with Marshall McLuhan. His notions of 'actant' or 'hybrid', 'black box', and 'translation', for instance, all find counterparts in 'common' media-ecological vocabulary. His advice to 'follow the actors', detective style, can be likened to McLuhan's sleuth-like probing 'method'. And they both make a similar cultural critique. Yet above and beyond these correspondences, some crucial divergences remain, more precisely with regard to the concept of agency. In this article I endeavour to outline the similarities and differences, which eventually lead me to a brief reflection on the 'uniqueness' of the discipline of media ecology.


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