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    http://iss.sagepub.com/  International Sociology  http://iss.sagepub.com/content/25/6/818The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/0268580909351325 2010 25: 818 International Sociology  Jan-Hendrik Passoth and Nicholas J. Rowland Actor-Network State : Integrating Actor-Network Theory and State Theory  Published by:  http://www.sagepublications.com On behalf of:  International Sociological Association  can be found at: International Sociology  Additional services and information for http://iss.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts:  http://iss.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions:  http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints:  http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://iss.sagepub.com/content/25/6/818.refs.html Citations:  What is This? - Nov 18, 2010Version of Record >> by guest on October 25, 2012iss.sagepub.comDownloaded from   International Sociology ✦  November 2010 ✦  Vol. 25(6): 818–841© The Author(s) 2010Reprints and permissions: www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.navDOI: 10.1177/0268580909351325  Actor-Network State Integrating Actor-Network Theory and State Theory  Jan-Hendrik Passoth University of Bielefeld  Nicholas J. Rowland Pennsylvania State University  abstract: This conceptual article draws on literature in the sociology of science on modelling. The authors suggest that if state theory can be conceptualized as an ‘engine’ rather than merely a ‘camera’, in that policy is mobilized to make the world fit the theory, then this has implications for conceptualizing states. To examine this possibility the authors look through the lens of actor-network theory (ANT) and in doing so articulate a relationship between two models of the state in the literature. They find that an ‘actor model’ of the state is accepted by many scholars, few of whom develop ‘network models’ of the state. In response, this study introduces an actor-network model and proposes that its contribution to state theory is in rethinking the character of modern states to be the outcome of actually performed assemblages of all those practices of building it, protecting it, governing it and theorizing about it. keywords:  organization ✦  political sociology ✦  sociological theory What are states? Classic answers include normative claims of what states should be or empirical descriptions of what states really are. However, prescriptive and descriptive approaches routinely coexist in political theory, international relations, international law and social theory. Models of political action and political actions that result in new models, we propose, hold valuable insights related to ‘performativity’, in particular, regarding the character of modern states.‘Performativity’, as coined by Austin (1970: 235), describes instances where ‘in saying what I do, I actually perform the action’. Callon (1998) introduced the term to the sociology of economics and finance, suggesting by guest on October 25, 2012iss.sagepub.comDownloaded from   Passoth & Rowland  Actor-Network State 819 that ‘economics performs the economy, creating the phenomena it describes’ (MacKenzie and Millo, 2003: 108). MacKenzie (2006: 17) pre-pared a possible classification of four performativities. Basic levels of performativity include ‘generic’, which is the mere use of an aspect of theory in practice, and ‘effective’, where the aspect of theory being used in practice has an observable effect on the processes it depicts. MacKenzie (2006) asks readers to be especially cautious when considering deeper levels of performativity, which include ‘Barnesian’, where the use of an aspect of theory in practice shapes processes so that they becomes more like their depiction in theory, and ‘counter-performativity’, where the use of an aspect of theory in practice results in processes unlike their depic-tion in theory. The same case can be made with respect to political theories and state engineering.Political action has never been an exclusively academic exercise, and the gap between theory and practice is a commonly voiced concern, for example, in literature on foreign policy (George, 1993; Nye, 2008). This gap is related to modelling because models guide practice but they are also used to improve knowledge. Models are designed to be parsimoni-ous abstractions but are also constantly edited to create ever more exact-ing depictions of issues under study. The boundary separating academic political theory and practical political action is porous in places and fixed in others, and discovering where and when is an important empirical matter, but one that is outside the confines of this article. The primary contribution of this article is to bring in action through actor-network theory (ANT), which we consider necessary for future per-formativity research linking political theory and practice. If   state theory is performative, then this implies that states are performed. To unlock this idea, we suggest, state theory could best see states as performed through the concepts and implied methodology of ANT. To that end, we review state theory and show how scholars depict the state to be an actor (i.e. a macro-entity with quasi-interests, quasi-goals and quasi-actions) and how few scholars depict the state to be a network (i.e. elaborate webs of dis-tributed agency). We then outline how an actor-network concept of the state helps to overcome (some of) the problems of the ‘state as an actor’ and the ‘state as a network’ models while at the same time not devaluing previous empirical findings or purporting that they are obsolete. We con-clude by reconsidering the value and dangers of performativity and document common criticisms aimed at actor-network approaches. We expect this article to be of interest to scholars pursuing performativ-ity of politics research and that it holds promise for expanding the rele-vance of ANT outside science and technology studies (STS). While initially developed in STS, ANT was always intended to be a general theory of action, and one that we suggest is particularly well suited to by guest on October 25, 2012iss.sagepub.comDownloaded from   International Sociology Vol. 25 No. 6 820 studies of state and state formation. Lastly, we review a vast literature in this short article; but we had to be selective and acknowledge that some readers will be dissatisfied. Modelling the State in State Theory State theories have been, for a long time, seen as blueprints for actual political practices, which makes a mixture of normative and descriptive elements the specialty of political theory. As a construct in political phi-losophy, the state has always been a shared term with a long history and many meanings. The advent of modernity and modern social theory changed the situation. In attempts to reconceptualize the state as an ele-ment of modern social order, social theory formulated models of the state, with the model seeing the ‘state as an actor’ being the most accepted. The Rise of Actor Models Seeing states as actors has been a well-spring for research, and by being a useful concept for political and governmental consulting, it has become a stable and robust model in sociological and political theory. It enabled a large body of research on how states relate to other states by signing contracts and waging war, how states relate to their civil societies and how states relate to other organizational entities of modern political life. But while it is mostly associated with the movement towards neostatism, towards ‘bringing the state back in’ (Evans et al., 1985), its genealogy is more diffuse and intertwined. It emerged as a model of the state as an actor that mediates conflicting interests of different social groups in classical liberalism and as a model of the state as an actor whose actions are instrumental to maintaining social order in orthodox Marxism in the 19th and early 20th century. While social theory moved away from liber-alism during the second half of the 20th century and, driven by scholars like Parsons, Easton and Dahl, towards a different analysis of political systems, Marxism emerged as an asylum for modelling ‘the state’.Scholarly emphasis on this area is remarkable given the lack of explicit conceptual tools for understanding the state in Marx’s and Engel’s writ-ings. Marx’s own account of the state is seemingly bipartite. Younger Marx (1970) thought of the state as semi-autonomous from the capitalist class and its interests. Later Marx reduced the state to something that directly served the interests of the ruling bourgeoisie (Marx and Engels, 1998). It was late Marx’s conceptualization of the state that was perpetu-ated by the Second International and the Comintern. This instrumentalist approach (i.e. the state as an instrument of the ruling class used for dom-ination and exploitation) is therefore what is commonly linked to Marxist theories of the state (see Jessop [1977] for a review). However, some by guest on October 25, 2012iss.sagepub.comDownloaded from 
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