Perspective of the Actor-Network Approach on Studies about Water

Maria Cristina Moncayo-Riascos, Walter Alfredo Salas-Zapata


Current struggles related to water access and control require modifying how heterogeneous connections that water establishes with diverse technical, social and natural processes during its circulation are studied. Actor-network theory is a useful approach to this kind of analysis since it allows the researcher to observe the reality as a network of relationships among human and non-human actors. The use of this approach in studies about water is still relatively scarce, and its application may seem a bit difficult and abstract to those who are starting to adopt it. The aim of this work is to provide a methodological and conceptual background to researchers and students on the use of the actor-network theory in studies about water. The information extracted from the analysis of 13 studies included methodological aspects and descriptions of socio-technical networks deployed through urban or rural infrastructure, regulatory frameworks, and contractual arrangements. In conclusion, the studies allowed the visualization of the main interactions of analysis employed to follow actants and to examine their inscriptions in the hydrosocial networks.


hydrosocial networks; actants; hybrid flow

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ISSN 2239-8589 | Managing Editor: Debora Viviani | Editor in Chief: Paola Di Nicola