How the Rich Lens of ANT Can Help us to Understand the Advantages of Mobile Solutions

How the Rich Lens of ANT Can Help us to Understand the Advantages of Mobile Solutions

Nilmini Wickramasinghe (Epworth Healthcare, Australia & RMIT University, Australia), Arthur Tatnall (Victoria University, Australia) and Steve Goldberg (INET Intl. Inc., Canada)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6126-4.ch005
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Abstract

The WHO has labelled diabetes the silent epidemic. This is because the instances of diabetes worldwide continue to grow exponentially. In fact, by 2030 it is expected that there will be a 54% global increase. Thus, it behooves all to focus on solutions that can result in superior management of this disease. Hence, this chapter presents findings from a longitudinal exploratory case study that examined the application of a pervasive technology solution, a mobile phone to provide superior diabetes self-care. Notably, the benefits of a pervasive technology solution for supporting superior self-care in the context of chronic disease are made especially apparent when viewed through the rich lens of Actor-Network Theory (ANT), and thus, the chapter underscores the importance of using ANT in such contexts to facilitate a deeper understanding of all potential advantages.
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Actor-Network Theory (Ant)

Actor-network theory (ANT) provides a rich and dynamic lens of analysis for many socio-technical situations. Essentially, it embraces the idea of an organisational identity and assumes that organisations, much like humans, possess and exhibit specific traits (Brown, 1997). Although labelled a ‘theory’, ANT is more of a framework based upon the principle of generalised symmetry, which rules that human and non-human objects/subjects are treated with the same vocabulary. Both the human and non-human counterparts are integrated into the same conceptual framework.

ANT was developed by two French social sciences and technology scholars Bruno Latour and Michel Callon and British sociologist John Law (Latour, 1987, 2005; Law and Hassard, 1999; Law, 1992, 1987; Callon, 1986). It is an interdisciplinary approach that tries to facilitate an understanding of the role of technology in specific settings, including how technology might facilitate, mediate or even negatively impact organisational activities and tasks performed. Hence, ANT is a material-semiotic approach for describing the ordering of scientific, technological, social, and organisational processes or events.

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