***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** > I have tried to make a contribution to this line of > argumentation in my > book on 'business networks: strategy and structure', but Loet's > suggestion to look at actor-network theory as a starting point (and > perhaps to embrace some of their conceptual apparatus) is > very relevant. Dear Emanuela and colleagues, In the Netherlands, we have a princess of the royal family who claims to talk to the trees. The trees seem to tell her and each other interesting stories. :-) Let us distinguish various options: 1. As an analyst, one can make a clear distinction between human and non-human communication in terms of intentionality and meaning-processing following the sociological tradition (Mead, Husserl, Schutz, Berger & Luckman, Luhmann). 2. From this perspective, the non-human elements can impact on the inter-human communication (e.g., object (libidonous) relations; symbolic value of objects). 3. One can follow Latour and deny a difference between human and non-human actants. The specifically human condition of communication (intentionality) is then not considered relevant and the social network analysis would not be different from other (e.g., biological) network analysis. In my opinion, the latter approach confuses the formal approach (which abstracts from substance in the relations) with an encompassing approach which claims heterogenous substance without specifying this heterogeneity. The more formalized approach enables us to use concepts at one level heuristically at another. For example, one can raise the question of what could one win theoretically by assuming that the trees would tell each other stories? With best wishes, Loet _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.