Computational Communication Science| Because Technology Matters: Theorizing Interdependencies in Computational Communication Science With Actor–Network Theory

Annie Waldherr, Stephanie Geise, Christian Katzenbach


Technology heavily drives communication research in the computational turn, yet our research programs seldom reflect this heightened relevance of technology in both everyday life and our own scientific work. In this article, we revisit actor–network theory (ANT) as a helpful conceptual framework for theorizing and inspiring future computational communication scholars’ research agendas. Based on a narrative literature review, we identify three key contributions of the ANT perspective in computational communication science: First, ANT enables us to address the role of technology in communication and the relationships between nonhumans and humans in more detail. Second, we may reflect more explicitly on the epistemological status of computational methods. Third, we can question the normative and ethical assumptions guiding our research. We close by discussing blind spots, limitations, and challenges of ANT, and we point out future perspectives of ANT-informed computational communication science.


actor–network theory, computational methods, technology, communication theory, agency, nonhumans

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