Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Epistemology and networked governance: An actor-network approach to network governance
by O'Brien, Mariana G., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2015, 184; 3730734
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation suggests that network governance theory may have reached an impasse, and in order to pursue its advance, new methods need to be used. It tests the viability of actor-network theory on providing new insights on network governance, which could contribute to the strengthening of network governance theory. The author suggests that actor-network theory may offer both an epistemology and ontology that intents to not impose current definitions and divisions of traditional social science. By doing so, actor-network theory focuses on the performance of associations rather than on the traditional categories of structures, institutions, individuals or groups — characteristic of most network governance studies.

This study tests the viability of actor-network theory in a complex international environmental policy network in the Andean Amazon. It employs Latour’s three-movement method of deployment of controversies, rendering associations traceable again, and reassembling governance. The methodological strategy provides a clean slate to search for a new perspective of network governance, which is based on participants’ perspectives. It is found that associations are established among programs, projects, public policies, among others; and that this associations seem to remain even if organizations, programs, and projects leave the network. Actor-networks’ roles in network governance appear to be not static, and their degree of affiliation ranges from formal to informal associations.

Applying actor-network theory in the study of network governance suggests that action is dislocated, and that groups are in continuous formation. Groups’ boundaries are define and redefine based on participants’ perspectives and associations. Finally, a discussion in regards to the implications of this research for both network governance and actor-network theory is offered.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Miller, Hugh T.
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 77/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Epistemology, Public administration, Public policy
Keywords: Actor-network theory, Epistemology, Network governance
Publication Number: 3730734
ISBN: 9781339170251
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