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Information infrastructure: an actor-network perspective

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Recent work on information systems has discussed the nature and the complexity of the Information Infrastructures (II) concept. This research has mainly focused on two aspects: studying the process that both shapes and stabilizes information infrastructures, and studying the role played by information infrastructure in leveraging business performance. Using the ideas proposed by the Actor Network Theory (ANT), this article suggests a new way to conceptualise the nature of II, that is, its ontology. Using ANT as an ontological foundation to analyse the relations among actors, the article proposes the concept of information infrastructures in action to highlight their dynamic nature. This leads us to consider information infrastructures not as stable entities, but rather as entities performed in, by, and through relations. The aim of this work is to overcome the limitations associated with studying information infrastructures that rely on stability and manageability assumptions. Conceiving information infrastructures in terms of performative forces that evolve dynamically, this work provides a framework to examine information infrastructure in terms of dynamic relationships by looking at the process that shapes these relationships. The article suggests that information infrastructures should not be studied retrospectively to understand how they are established, but rather should be studied focussing on the process of making. Here we study the action of making rather than the processes that made.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/43667/

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