How to Care for Our Accounts?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter explores the question of how to care for scholarly accounts, expanding one of the central concerns that shaped ANT as an intellectual practice: where and how to study agency and how this relates to knowledge politics. Drawing on ethnographic observations on prostate cancer screening practices, I show how attending to ‘(not) knowing and (not) moving/being moved by an other’ helps to understand the difference speculative commitment to neglected things (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2011) can make in our scholarly accounts. I suggest that ‘motile not-knowing an ‘other’’ and going along with ‘neglected things’ and seeing where such going along leads us in our scholarly accounts, comes with fostering ‘caring obligations’ (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2017). Such obligations to reciprocate attentiveness to others happen asymmetrically and dare to keep the question of ‘how to care’ through our scholarly accounts open. Starting from the tension between agency as ‘an unanticipated gift from the ‘dispositif’’ (Gomart and Hennion, 1999), this chapter is thereby attending to both: ANT concerns about decentering human agency, while also focussing on what humans do, once agency has become a gift from the dispositif.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Actor-Network Theory
EditorsAnders Blok, Ignacio Farías, Celia Roberts
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Print)9781138084728
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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