Actor-Network Theory in Intercultural Communication: Translation through the Prism of Innovation, Technology, Networks and Semiotics

Actor-Network Theory in Intercultural Communication: Translation through the Prism of Innovation, Technology, Networks and Semiotics

Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska (University of Gdansk, Poland)
DOI: 10.4018/jantti.2009062304

Abstract

The aim of this article is to discuss the place of the Actor-Network Theory in intercultural communication. To narrow the scope of the research, the author concentrates on the role of participants in one type of intercultural exchange, namely in translation. Thus, such issues as translator(s), translation, languages, texts and units are given a detailed study in this article. An attempt will be made to show how ANT is useful in this area of cross-cultural communication. Hence, those taking part in the translation process, both human and nonhuman entities, are treated as an ecosystem, being a place for technological innovation.
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The Role Of Semiotics In Ecosystems

Let us elaborate in greater detail on the importance of semiotics in shaping the Actor-Network Theory. First of all, as has been stated above, semiotics makes it possible to treat human and nonhuman entities with equal attention (Pickering, 1995, p. 12). Secondly, as Thwaites, Davis and Mules (2002) claim, a sign is anything which produces meaning (p. 9). Thus, any participant, be it a human or a non-human entity, means something. The relational structure of entities should be stressed as the connections are important components of any analysis since entities are created and exist in networks (Law 1999, p. 3), and thus the actor-network theory may be understood as a semiotics of materiality (Law in Smith and Jenks 2006, p. 161). Michael (1996) quotes Latour (1991), who claims that we are never faced with objects or social relations; we are faced with chains which are associations of humans (H) and nonhumans (NH) (p. 22).

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