Skip navigation

Representation of sociotechnical innovation networks

Representation of sociotechnical innovation networks

Piterou, Athena ORCID: 0000-0003-4138-113X and Steward, Fred (2010) Representation of sociotechnical innovation networks. In: Sunbelt XXX, International Sunbelt Social Network Conference, 29 June-4 July 2010, Riva del Garda, Fierecongressi, Trento, Italy. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository.


The role of networks in innovation has been approached from both economic and sociological approaches. Economic approaches view networks as an intermediate form of co-ordination between markets and hierarchies. The sociological approach to innovation distinguishes between relational and structural approaches. The paper suggests that actor-network theory provides support to the relational approach by emphasising the radical indeterminacy of the actor: networks do not result from collaboration between independent actors but configure their ontologies. Symbolic interactionism and post-structuralism also lend support to the idea of agents as relational effects. Therefore the application of social networks should take into account the fragile achievement of agency.
Innovation networks can be conceived as sociotechnical networks linking organisations and technologies on the basis of the principle of symmetry between human and non-human actants. The symmetrical treatment has implications for the coding and visualisation of network data. Actor-network theory is not the only approach to consider the agency of non-humans but has proved more influential.
An additional point relates to networks as a form of representation. Actor-network theory advises caution against conflating the form of a network with what is actually being represented. When social networks and the related visualisation and analysis techniques are seen as a form of representation, it becomes clearer how they make some realities prominent while they lead to the othering and absence of others.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: [1] This paper was presented on Thurs 1 July 2010 in a session enttled Philosophy of Networks 1
Uncontrolled Keywords: innovation networks, actor-network theory, relationism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business > Department of Systems Management & Strategy
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2020 15:48

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item