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Tacos, Tiendas and Mezcal: An actor-network perspective on small-scale entrepreneurial projects in Western Mexico.

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Abstract

The role of small firms in developing countries is a subject of continuous interest in both academic and policy circles. Small firms account for a large part of economic activity, and their employment share is remarkable. Yet, although considerable knowledge about them exists, some of the key issues concerning small businesses remain relatively underexposed or are highly debatable. One such issue is that of their feasibility. What firms are feasible? What are the conditions for their success? Is it technology choice, flexibility, innovativeness or relative size which determine the vitality of small firms? Or is it their organizational practices, or the institutional environment within which they operate that is crucial? These questions are important, because great hopes are placed on the role of small firms as a 'cure-all' for economic crisis. The present study aims to contribute towards a better understanding of small firms by answering some of these central issues in development. Although the study focuses on a number of small businesses in Western Mexico, the scope of the argument has much broader implications, and may help shed light on the dynamics and feasibility of small firms in development contexts in general.To understand the dynamics and feasibility of small firms, in Chapter 1 it is argued that existing perspectives on the phenomenon of small firms, and the assumptions on which they are based, should be challenged. On the basis of a questioning of different theoretical perspectives, in Chapter 2 some promising analytical frameworks that provide useful insights into the study of small firms - flexible specialization and the actor-oriented approach - are discussed. Drawing upon their shortcomings, the Chapter elaborates on actornetwork theory, a body of theoretical work developed in the context of the sociology of science which treats social relations as network effects. According to Law (1992:379) this theory is distinctive because "... it insists that networks are materially heterogeneous and argues that society and organization would not exist if they were simply social." Hence, from this point of view the task of sociology is to characterize the ways in which different materials are juxtaposed to create realities theretofore unimaginable. In the context of this study, the analytical framework of actor-network theory sets the stage to address the two main research questions:a. how can one account for the heterogeneous processes that shape the projects of small-scale entrepreneurs in a rural area of Western Mexico?b. under what conditions are durable (i.e. feasible) entrepreneurial projects constructed?Chapter 3 deals with the methodological implications of the theoretical framework, and how these in turn affected the research process. In order to address these issues, a reflexive account of the research genealogy is given: why the theme of small-scale enterprise was chosen, what paths had to be trod to obtain funding for the research, what problems were faced during the fieldwork period and, finally, how the theoretical position developed in Chapter 2 came to be adopted.Chapters 4 through 9 address the main research concerns through a number of case studies on small-scale entrepreneurial projects. In a nutshell, the argument runs that the dynamics and feasibility of small firms are a function of three interrelated factors. First, the ability of entrepreneurs to set up and sustain a global network capable of providing a range of different resources in exchange for some kind of future return; second, the ability of entrepreneurs to use resources from a global network to build a local network with the aim of satisfying the expectations of actors lodged in the global network; third, the degree in which an entrepreneur succeeds in controlling all transactions between the global and the local networks of the firm. This does not imply that there necessarily exists a relationship between the values and significations shared by actors belonging to these different networks.Chapter 4 takes up these dimensions through an in-depth case study of Carlos, an entrepreneur involved in two projects simultaneously: taco selling and public transport. As the case shows, the taco project was relatively successful as Carlos was able to build a global and a local network, and control the transactions between the two. However, a lack of integration between actors from both networks at all times endangered the feasibility of the enterprise. In contrast, in the minibus project Carlos did not succeed in maintaining a global network, and when actors from this network came up with new regulations the local netwoik could not anymore fulfil expected returns and the project collapsed.Chapter 5 displays an entrepreneur engaged in the setting up of two projects: a small shop and a bar. As the case shows, the entrepreneur successfully managed to build a global and a local network within which the shop project could be operated. However, the project turned out to be a fragile one because the entrepreneur did not succeed in regulating the transactions between both networks. In the case of the bar, the entrepreneur could not successfully link the actors from both the local and global network - let alone control their transactions.Chapter 6 pictures a couple - David and Chela - who take over a store from relatives. The case differs from the prior ones in that the project provided its global network with a timely reward, but only for a short period. The reason for this is that difficulties arose in the contextualization of the project, which in turn denied the room for manoeuvre necessary to construct a durable local network. The main reason for this was that, despite the forthright conditions put forward by David and Chela when taking over the store, they did not succeed in enroling the necessary actors to fulfil the roles laid out for them. Hence, the project did not take the direction David and Chela wished, eventually putting the feasibility of the store in question.Chapter 7 describes the case of Leon, a producer of mezcal. Leon's project differs from those of the previous Chapters in that Leon's project successfuIly constructed its global and local networks, and controlled transactions between these. Thus Leon controlled consumers of his mezcal by at the same time controlling the local network implicated in the production of the liquor. One and the other is made apparent by focusing on how the competition is held at bay, how collaborators (both human and nonhuman) are enlisted, and how workers are put in place - that is, how the different interests of the actors who make up the production, distribution and consumption of mezcal are made to converge.In Chapter 8 the thesis takes a slightly different turn by concentrating on a theme only partially developed in Chapters 4 through 7 namely the relationship between projects and crucial actors from their global networks: the final consumers of projects' products and services. Through a case study on Pablo, an independent distributor of mezcal, Chapter 8 throws new light on traditional notions about the identities of producers and consumers, and shows that these identities are continuously constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed in the process of producing and consuming - a process that vastly exceeds the realm of production and consumption proper. Thus in this Chapter it is argued that producers and consumers are nothing but the end product of heterogeneous relations which are often mediated through objects.In Chapter 9 attention shifts away from specific projects, and focuses on the larger network of firms engaged in the production of mezcal. In general, the Chapter deals with the expansion and transformation of this network, and the way in which it takes shape through a continuous realignment of so-called social, technical, economic and political elements. Particularly, the Chapter focuses on the way in which the network of mezcal firms transforms and expands in time through a) a constant addition of new human and non-human beings to the network, b) the enrolment of people and things who/that initially conspired against mezcal producers' goals, c) a qualitative change in the properties of actors involved in the network, d) the delegation of human properties to non-humans, and e) the effective packaging or black-boxing of heterogeneous actors. Furthermore, the network is shown to be characterized by a strong degree of convergence of interests of all actors involved, making it possible for mezcal producers to develop feasible firms.The general conclusion of this thesis is that the feasibility of smallscale entrepreneurial projects is a function of the morphology of the local and global networks which these projects help build and maintain. This and some other findings that follow from the case studies are made explicit in Chapter 10. Also, this final Chapter retakes the issue of why it is important to look at the feasibility of small firms, and why the approach chosen in this study can be seen as a positive contribution for both academic and policy debates concerning the role of small firms in rural areas of developing regions. Theoretically, the significance of this study is that it shows that, through theoretical ly-informed empirical cases, one can avert disciplinary myopia, making it possible to grasp the essentially contingent, unfixed nature of entrepreneurial projects. Furthermore, the study suggests that traditional sociological and anthropological notions such as 'structure' are in much need of overhauling for, as the cases demonstrate, small firms are not embedded in a fixed structure, but rather they are progressive ideas which materialize through practices, that is, through the work contextualizing and localizing objects that create social relations. As to policy concerns, this study suggests that it is precarious to formulate policies to support small-scale business through social, political, economic or technical incentives alone but that, instead policies should address the multidimensional character of entrepreneurial activity. Related to this, a general policy recommendation of this study is that schemes promoting small firms need to go beyond treating small-scale entrepreneurial projects as isolated, self-contained islands. Instead, they should be geared to the materially heterogeneous networks of actors engaged in the production, dissemination, and consumption of specific goods and services.

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... The creation of a collectif consists of four stages of translation (see e.g. Clegg, 2003;Gleirscher & Schermer, 2003;Hillier, 2002;Verschoor, 1997), although not every translation necessarily involves all four moments, and the moments in reality may overlap (see e.g. Woods, 1997). ...
... The practices and strategies of producers are related to what has historically proven to be possible or not. The producers' 'universe of the possible' is, so to speak, informed by past situations that are remembered personally, passed on orally or, importantly, remembered collectively through inscription in the technologies utilised, or in such intermediaries as tacit skills (Verschoor, 1997). However, 'things can always be done otherwise' by adding actors and intermediaries to the already existing collectifs. ...
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... P rede ned distinctions between categories of ''successful'' (e.g., cooperation) and ''unsuccessful'' (e.g., free± riding) are of little help, since they hinder rather than facilitate an examination of the contingencies involved in the complex processes by which, for example, ''success'' is rst de ned and later achieved (or obstructed) (cf. Verschoor 1997). F or example, the collective action problems that emerged after the initial ''success'' of the cooperative's estab± lishment cannot be fully understood without a consideration of the relationship between salmon farms and local shing communities in Northwest Connemara. ...
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... In principle the list of intermediaries is endless . An intermediary is anything passing between actors that define the relationships between them ( Callon , 1991 in Verschoor , 1997 : 35 ) . Therefore products ( souve - nirs , postcards ) , food , information and images are also important . ...
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... In doing so, l use four strategies. First, as will be elaborated upon in Chapter Three, I will not consider the individual involved in collective action as a homo economicus or rational actor; rather I will consider him as a social actor, a capable and knowledgeable agent who has the ability to make decisions based on social experience and the capacity to manipulate social relations and to enrol others into his projects in order to cope with life (Long, 1992;Verschoor, 1997). ...
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... The example illustrates that translation is a complex process. Callon (1986, in Clegg, 1989, and in Verschoor, 1997) identifies four stages in the translation process: ...
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In 1996, the new fish cages of an Irish salmon farm were sabotaged and juvenile salmon with a value of IR£ 250,000 were released, nearly putting the farm out of business. This deed was an act of protest against the growth of the salmon farming industry. The loss of fishing grounds, ecological and environmental concerns, and the perceived impact on the unspoilt scenery of the area are amongst the factors that explain local opposition against salmon farming.In 1991, Dutch mussel cultivators in the Wadden Sea and the government agreed on a division of available mussel seed between fishermen and birds. A year later, the mussel cultivators voluntarily closed part of the tidal mudflats for the seed fishery. These actions were a response to the heavy criticisms by environmental groups, who blamed the shellfish fishermen for causing the death of thousands of birds by 'robbing' them of their main diet.The above examples are illustrative of the problems associated with the management of complex, multiple-use common-pool resources. Common-pool resources (CPRs) are resources for which: (i) joint use involves subtractability (use by one user will subtract benefits from another user's enjoyment of the resource system), and (ii) exclusion of users involves high transaction costs. For a long time, policies aimed at sustainable CPR management were fuelled by the belief that rational individuals, who are driven by utility maximisation, cannot maintain a common resource (the Tragedy of the Commons). The implementation of a multitude of management regimes to regulate CPR use has, however, not prevented externalities, such as resource degradation and conflicts, from occurring. This is particularly the case in complex, multiple-use CPRs, where different activities take place in the same resource system and where uses may be competing or incompatible (Chapter One). The coastal waters, which are the setting of this study, are an example of a complex CPR.The complexity and interconnectedness of coastal management problems, combined with the incapacity of existing institutions for monitoring and protection to deal with the continuous decline of the coastal zone, has resulted in local, national and global collective action initiatives, which consider management issues from a broader perspective and where stakeholders work collectively towards problem solution. Increasingly, a collective action approach is seen as an alternative in dealing with complex problems (Chapter One). This book aims to contribute towards an understanding of the processes that shape collective actions amongst multiple stakeholders in complex CPRs.The theoretical argument of this study is that CPR theory - a body of knowledge that deals with the analysis of collective action and the associated social dilemmas, in 'real life' scenarios - is not sufficiently developed for the study and facilitation of collective action in complex CPR management. This argument is elaborated in Chapter One. On the basis of an examination of CPR theory and its roots, rational choice theory and the new institutionalism, it is argued that the application of the conceptual frameworks of CPR theory to the study of complex resources is problematic, since they are based on: (i) the simplistic assumption that CPRs are used for one single type of use, (ii) the exclusive analysis of the internal dynamics of the collective management system, thereby 'black boxing' the influence of external factors, (iii) a static model of strategic rationality, and (iv) the assumption that the outcomes of collective resource management are determined by a number of pre-defined design principles. Building on a grounded theory approach, this book proposes a new perspective for the study and facilitation of collective action processes in complex CPR management scenarios.The empirical basis is laid by three case studies in the English, Irish and Dutch coastal waters. In each study area, fishermen were confronted with the arrival of new activities and/or the articulation of other interests in or near their fishing grounds. The cases focus on the interactions amongst fishermen (or their representatives), other marine users and non-governmental and state agencies, and the way (collective) management of resources, spaces and people take shape.Chapter Three develops a conceptual framework that assists the analysis of the collective action processes in the empirical studies. This conceptual framework is based on a critical examination of CPR theory and its problems in Chapter One, and supported by a case study of complex CPR management in Cowes Harbour (UK) in Chapter Two. It builds on theoretical notions from Habermas' theory of communicative action, actor-network theory (ANT) and the knowledge systems perspective. It has several methodological consequences for this study. First, the notion of the rational actor is replaced by that of the collectif (Callon & Law, 1995): an actor is considered to be the effect of interactions of human and material resources. The objectives, strategies and rationalities of collectifs are continuously reshaped as new collectifs enter the arena and new relationships are brought into being. Second, following ANT, any pre-defined models and conditions for collective action are left out, and co-operation in a collective action situation is explained in the same way as free-riding. Finally, an action -oriented perspective, aimed at the facilitation of collective action, is adopted. For the organisation of this book, the grounded theory approach to data analysis (Chapter Four) means that the conclusions of each chapter feed into the next one, with the exception of Chapter Four, which describes the research methodology.The case study of Cowes Harbour (UK) in Chapter Two follows the oyster fishermen in their collective action aimed at securing access to the fishery, which was threatened by a closure in the interest of navigation and nature conservation considerations. It illustrates the complexities associated with the management of multiple-use CPRs, by showing how the different activities and interests in the harbour are interdependent and why, in a complex scenario, the presence of individual management regimes for the different uses is not a sufficient strategy. The preliminary conclusions support the development of the conceptual framework in Chapter Three.Chapter Five presents a comparative case study of two bays in NW Connemara (Ireland). In this area, local marine resource use has become increasingly become contested, particularly because of the development of salmon farming. The case follows fishermen and freshwater fisheries in the two bays in their interactions with the new user groups. While in one bay, collective action by the fishermen is exclusively aimed at preventing the local salmon farm from expanding, in the other bay, 15km to the north, collective actions amongst the same fishermen, the salmon farm and shellfish producers are aimed at balancing resource use. In this later bay, however, the local freshwater fishery is involved in a heavy dispute with the salmon farm over the collapse of its sea trout stocks, while in the former bay, this dispute is not articulated, despite a similar stock collapse. The case study illustrates how different social, historical, institutional and physical contexts, are important in shaping the interaction processes amongst multiple stakeholders. The case study in Chapter Seven is set in the Dutch Wadden Sea, where the shellfish fisheries are contested by nature conservation groups. It follows the shellfish fishermen in their efforts to achieve a balance between their fishing activities and nature conservation. The implementation of voluntary nature conservation measures by the shellfish sector formed the basis for the implementation of a statutory co-management strategy, involving the shellfish industry, the government, nature conservation groups and scientists. The case illustrates how the images that stakeholders have of each other's activities and interests, and the role they adopt towards resource management, influence the decision-making process in the co-management platform.In the theoretical intermezzos in Chapters Six and Eight, the cases of NW Connemara and the Wadden Sea are analysed. The conclusions resulting from the analyses are merged and developed further in Chapter Nine. The general conclusion is that, in its present form, CPR theory hampers the analysis of the complex processes through which collective action is achieved (or frustrated), and needs to be redeveloped. First, the definition of the rational, atomised actor is too limited to explain collective action processes. Instead, actors should be regarded as nested collectifs , whose strategies in the collective action arena are constantly reshaped. Second, the use of a static strategic model of rationality is insufficient to appreciate the shaping of collective action (or free-riding). The case studies show how collectifs use different social and material means to achieve their objectives. In trying to enrol other collectifs in collective actions aimed at realising their projects, different forms of strategic and communicative rationality emerge. Third, the use of pre-defined categories and design principles diverts attention from (i) the stakeholders' constructions of collective resource management, and (ii) the influence of contextual factors, and therefore limits the explanatory power of CPR theory. Furthermore, a danger inherent in the design principles is that they are picked up as blueprints for the development of policies and intervention programmes for 'successful' CPR management. For these reasons, CPR theory should become explicitly concerned with contextual analysis, rather than merely describing 'successes on the commons' and developing prescriptive principles. In this context, a number of methodologies for contextual analysis are introduced.The second general conclusion concerns the facilitation of collective action, which has only recently emerged on the agenda of CPR scholars. This book demonstrates that balancing a mix of uses is crucial for the management of complex CPRs, since the interdependency of multiple uses is likely to result in externalities. Experiences from the case studies show that nested platforms for CPR use negotiation are a promising heuristic tool for the facilitation of collective problem appreciation and solution. The performance of platforms is, however, associated with, a large number of critical factors, including, amongst others: (i) the influence of different perceptions and 'stereotyping' of participants on collective decision-making, and (ii) the position of third parties, who may act as a facilitator or gatekeeper, but may also frustrate collective action by imposing their own agenda.Based on an extensive discussion of the above issues, the book concludes that radical reconstruction of the ontological foundation of CPR theory is needed if it is to be used as (i) a foundation for the analysis of complex CPRs, or as (ii) a conceptual framework in pursuing the idea that collective action is a powerful alternative to deal with complex resource management problems. A social constructivist approach to the study and facilitation of complex CPR management is proposed. Two principles, derived from actor-network theory, form the foundation for this new perspective. The first principle is generalised agnosticism , which means that pre-defined categories (e.g., success, rational behaviour) and design principles have to be abandoned; instead, the focus of analysis should be on the tactics that the nested collectifs employ in mobilising social and material means to enrol others in their projects. The second principle is symmetry , which means that everything in a CPR management scenario needs explaining in the same way; in other words, co-operation in a collective action situation should be explained in the same way as defective behaviour.The adoption of these principles will facilitate the understanding of the contingencies involved in the evolution of collective action, by focussing on the sociotechnical construction of CPR management and the internal and contextual factors that influence the action strategies adopted by nested collectifs . In this analytical process, co-operation, free-riding and rationality are outcomes of the interplay and trials of strength amongst the different collectifs with a stake in the CPR, and their mobilisation of social and material resources.The book concludes with two main recommendations for future research and policy into complex CPR management. First, the potential of a social constructivist perspective needs further exploration. In particular, the development of new methodologies that make the contingencies involved in collective action processes visible, is required. Second, in view of the increasing reliance on collective action to solve complex resource management problems, the development of a praxeology (a theory that informs practice) for CPR theory needs urgent attention.
... Tourismscapes rely on the performances of countless people working in large and small enterprises connected through complex processes of ordering. Indeed, the complexity of producing and reproducing tourismscapes is well mirrored by the heterogeneity of constituent firms and global as well as local networks of firms (Verschoor 1997). Tourismscapes take in tourists as they enact tourismscapes by consuming services, buying local products or situating things (caravans and tents, T-shirts, waste, their bodies) in actor-networks. ...
... However, 'network patterns that are widely performed are often those that can be punctualized' (Law 1992: 385). Network patterns may become routines and unquestioned: they become black-boxed Verschoor 1997). This happens as relations and routines are, if somewhat precariously, taken more or less for granted in the process of heterogeneous engineering. ...
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The recent surfacing of actor-network theory (ANT) in tourism studies correlates to a rising interest in understanding tourism as emergent through relational practices connecting cultures, natures and technologies in multifarious ways. Despite the widespread application of ANT across the social sciences no book has dealt with the practical and theoretical implications of using ANT in tourism research. This is the first book to critically engage with the use of ANT in tourism studies. By doing so it challenges approaches that have dominated the literature for the last 20 years and casts new light on issues of materiality, ordering and networks in tourism. The book describes the approach, its possibilities and limitations as an ontology and research methodology and advances its use and research in the field of tourism. The first three chapters of the book introduce ANT and its key conceptual premises, the book itself and the relations between ANT and tourism studies. Using illustrative cases and examples, the subsequent chapters deal with specific subject areas like materiality, risk, mobilities and ordering and show how ANT contributes to tourism studies. This part presents examples and cases which illustrate the use of the approach in a critical way. Inherently the study of tourism is a multidisciplinary field of research and that is reflected in the diverse academic backgrounds of the contributing authors to provide a broad post-disciplinary context of ANT in tourism studies. This unique book focusing on emerging approaches in tourism research will be of value to students, researchers and academics in Tourism as well as the wider Social Sciences.
... Tourismscapes rely on the performances of countless people working in large and small enterprises connected through complex processes of ordering. Indeed, the complexity of producing and reproducing tourismscapes is well mirrored by the heterogeneity of constituent firms and global as well as local networks of firms (Verschoor 1997). Tourismscapes take in tourists as they enact tourismscapes by consuming services, buying local products or situating things (caravans and tents, T-shirts, waste, their bodies) in actor-networks. ...
... However, 'network patterns that are widely performed are often those that can be punctualized' (Law 1992: 385). Network patterns may become routines and unquestioned: they become black-boxed Verschoor 1997). This happens as relations and routines are, if somewhat precariously, taken more or less for granted in the process of heterogeneous engineering. ...
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The recent surfacing of actor-network theory (ANT) in tourism studies correlates to a rising interest in understanding tourism as emergent through relational practices connecting cultures, natures and technologies in multifarious ways. Despite the widespread application of ANT across the social sciences no book has dealt with the practical and theoretical implications of using ANT in tourism research. This is the first book to critically engage with the use of ANT in tourism studies. By doing so it challenges approaches that have dominated the literature for the last 20 years and casts new light on issues of materiality, ordering and networks in tourism. The book describes the approach, its possibilities and limitations as an ontology and research methodology and advances its use and research in the field of tourism. The first three chapters of the book introduce ANT and its key conceptual premises, the book itself and the relations between ANT and tourism studies. Using illustrative cases and examples, the subsequent chapters deal with specific subject areas like materiality, risk, mobilities and ordering and show how ANT contributes to tourism studies. This part presents examples and cases which illustrate the use of the approach in a critical way. Inherently the study of tourism is a multidisciplinary field of research and that is reflected in the diverse academic backgrounds of the contributing authors to provide a broad post-disciplinary context of ANT in tourism studies. This unique book focusing on emerging approaches in tourism research will be of value to students, researchers and academics in Tourism as well as the wider Social Sciences.
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This study proposes a framework of multilevel governing networks to analyse issues of multiple-use common-pool resource management in a complex socio-ecological system. By exploring the case study of the Golden Corridor Program in Yunlin, Taiwan, we found that self-governance at the community level is a partial way to govern multiple-use common-pool resources. Farmland here is facing the impact of land subsidence, and the high-speed rail construction has overweighted the surface. Although the Golden Corridor Program attempts to mitigate this effect of land subsidence on rail traffic safety through rewards for water-saving farming activities for farmers, the implementation lacks the intensive vertical integration and horizontal connections required to promote the collaborative platform among stakeholders. Local farmers still care about agricultural revenue. Thus, the loose self-governing capacity cannot generate institutional collective actions to improve the agri-environment here. The premature multilevel governing network has caused the governance failure to regulate this multiple-use common-pool resource.
... When human and non-human are studied as heterogeneous elements, objects, spaces, and technologies should be seen as binders, which structure, define, and configure interaction rather than as the outcrops of human intention and action [56]. This is because every extension of a network in space and in time not only incorporates more and more humans, but also incorporates more and more non-humans [59]. For example a passenger may have chosen the cruise vacation because the total escape it provides, whereas the cruise ship's layout and cruise program ...
... Emotion In Human-Computer Interaction. In A. Sears, & J. A. Jacko, Human-Computer Interaction Fundamentals (pp.[53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67][68]. New York: CRC press.Brewer, J. (2000). ...
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This study explores how passengers perceive safety on board a cruise ship during normal operating conditions. The research aims to deepen understanding of how the different environmental characteristics of a cruise ship impact safety perceptions and determine whether it is possible to enhance perceived safety by means of design and how the interaction of different environmental characteristics can be visualized to support the ship design process. Passengers can only feel comfortable in conditions that they perceive as safe. Safety and comfort constitute key criteria for cruise operators when they order new cruise ships. Comprehension of passengers’ safety perception can guide the design process towards improved safety and a more enjoyable cruise experience. Understanding of passengers’ safety perception provides valuable information for ship societies developing cruise ship comfort classifications. The study followed the user-centred research approach. User data were collected through 19 situated interviews and 38 days of observation in an authentic cruise ship environment during five cruises. Passenger insights were analysed by visualizing the interconnectivity of the identified human (openness, sounds) and non-human (handrails, uniforms) environmental characteristics. This revealed how individual environmental characteristics are interrelated in terms of passengers’ perceived safety. The findings were verified with a survey, which applied conjoint analysis. The research highlights the importance of passengers’ perceptions for designing a safe and comfortable ship. It argues that safety perception in a cruise ship environment is responsive to passenger perceptions of certain connected human and nonhuman environmental characteristics that are typical of this environment. These same environmental characteristics appear in ship safety regulations and in passengers’ perceptions, but their perspectives differ. Designers are able to influence passenger safety perceptions through the openness and transparency of the space, thereby enhancing visibility and navigation as well as providing egress options. Design can also communicate trust in the ship’s emergency handling capacity through the visibility and appearance of the lifesaving appliances, competent crew and well-maintained equipment. Furthermore, situational awareness should be supported through the design of the environmental characteristics, such as sounds, signage and architectural elements. Mastering positive translations from interconnected human and non-human environmental characteristics to safety perceptions helps to enhance passengers’ comfort and avoid misperceptions that lead to discomfort and even incorrect behaviour in accident situations.
... (3) Interessement is the process of convincing the other actors in the network to accept the identity put forth by the focal actor (Callon 1984). For this study, interessement was not studied, but may be advertising, education programs, exhibits, signage, websites, etc. (4) Enrolment is when the actors in the network accept the identity of the focal actor as it has been put forth (Verschoor 1997). This study defined the attributes that network actors (visitors) viewed as a part of the zoo identity. ...
... By separating the data into age or grade and comparing, the translation process would be lost as ANT focuses on the patterns defined by the collective not the individual. The process of interpreting the wordlists, concept maps, and interviews allowed for defining the enrolment and inscription steps of translation and a better understanding of the actor-network (Verschoor 1997). ...
Article
As informal science institutions (ISIs) play a larger role in science education, there is an increased need to research and understand how society identifies the brand of each institution. In this study, I apply actor-network theory (ANT) as a way to view the actors within and outside an ISI and define visitors’ understandings about the institution. The practice of applying ANT explores the webs of the social and natural worlds and describes the relationships that occur. For the purpose of this paper, a zoo served as the example institution. Even though the example in this study is a zoo, the conclusions and discussion focus on how ANT may be used in a similar way across museums to define visitor knowledge of the institution. ANT may be applied by any institution to define its self-identity and tell the story of how the institution is viewed by visitors.
... Tourismscapes rely on the performances of countless people working in big and small enterprises connected through complex processes of ordering. Indeed, the complexity of producing and reproducing tourism is well mirrored by the heterogeneity of constituent firms and global as well as local networks of firms (Verschoor, 1997). Tourismscapes take in tourists as they enact tourism by "consuming" services, buying local products, or situating things (caravans and tents, T-shirts, waste, their bodies) in actor-networks. ...
... However, "network patterns that are widely performed are often those that can be punctualized" (Law, 1992: 385). Network patterns may become routines and unquestioned: as noted earlier in the article, they become black-boxed (Callon, 2001;Verschoor, 1997). This happens as relations and routines are, if somewhat precariously, taken more or less for granted in the process of heterogeneous engineering. ...
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In this article, we demonstrate how Actor–Network Theory has been translated into tourism research. The article presents and discusses three concepts integral to the Actor–Network Theory approach: ordering, materiality, and multiplicity. We first briefly introduce Actor–Network Theory and draw attention to current Actor–Network Theory studies in tourism with a focus on how the approach is sensitive toward heterogeneous orderings. The following section discusses how more recent Actor–Network Theory approaches emphasize multiplicity and thus multiple versions of every ordering attempt. This leads us toward ontological politics, which have bearings on how we approach and understand research methods and how we perform tourism research. In conclusion, we argue that Actor–Network Theory enables a radical new way of describing tourism by critically investigating its ontological conditions.
... ANT offers examples, cases, and stories of how things work, of how relations and practices are ordered. In this way ANT has increasingly received recognition in, for example, rural (van der Ploeg 2003; Wiskerke 1997), development (Verschoor 1997), urban (Farias and Bender 2010), and tourism studies (Franklin 2004; Ren 2011; van der Duim 2007; van der Duim et al. 2012 van der Duim et al. , 2013). These recent studies highlighted and illustrated the multiplicity and heterogeneity (Law and Singleton 2005; Law 2009 ) of actornetworks , as well as their capacity to enact reality (Mol 1999; Law 2009a). ...
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This article performs actor-network theory (ANT) to examine the development of gorilla tourism at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. We depict a number of translations in which gorillas were designated and enrolled as coexisting with local livelihood practices, as “trophies” in the hunting network, “man's closest neighbor” in the scientific network, “endangered species” in the conservation network, and finally, through habituation processes, became part of the tourism network. These five versions of the “gorilla” network show how gorillas are shaped in and by the relations in which they reside. By examining Bwindi in terms of ANT's notions of ordering, materiality, and multiplicity, we not only show how gorilla tourism has gained permanence and popularity, but also draw attention to new ways of thinking about actors and agency in tourism, conservation, and development.
... Salvo algunas notables excepciones (Pilcher, 2006a), los tacos han sido prácticamente ignorados por la academia. 5 Éstos han sido estudiados tangencialmente, bajo el prisma de las relaciones intrafamiliares y de poder (Vizcarra, 2001) o bajo la perspectiva de las redes sociales (Verschoor, 1997). Más ampliamente, los estudios sobre la venta callejera de alimentos se limitan a las épocas de crisis (Akindès, 1990) o a las economías en "vías de desarrollo" (Tinker, 1997). ...
Article
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Various social sciences (economics, history, anthropology) have addressed the issue of food street vending. However, very few studies have seriously taken under consideration one of the most emblematic dishes of Mexican food: street tacos. This article outlines the genesis of street taco's markets through a social–historical perspective. Contrary to the belief that street taco's market is immemorial, this historical ethnography shows how it arises in the mid–20th century. Some structural macro factors such as industrialization of the tortilla, population growth, the limits of import–substitution model and undernourishment explain the emergence and proliferation of taco's stands in Monterrey's streets. Coupled with a micro analysis, this ethnography identifies the main characteristics of street taco's market (qualitative uncertainty, asymmetry of information, discrepancies of evaluation). These features allow us to understand how this market works. Through a detailed ethnographic description this paper shows the social background behind the economic transactions of food's dubious condition.
... Utilising two views of the data allowed for more easily identifying the translation process, as ANT focuses on patterns among groups. The process of interpreting the family group interactions allowed for de ning the enrolment and mobilisation steps of translation and a better understanding of the actornetwork (Verschoor, 1997). ...
Chapter
Natural history museums (NHM) have the largest collection of extinct and extant biodiversity. The specimens represent biodiversity in the moment and in that space for the visitors. Traditionally, NHM provided visitors contact with representatives of biodiversity, but that is no longer enough. The interactions the object triggers are as important as the presentation of the object. We applied actor-network theory and observations to define how 190 families (305 children, 273 adults) interacted with the Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin, Germany) Biodiversity Wall. We found gender and age of the actors may be predictors for the interactions occurring in relation to the boundary object (exhibit). To delineate the family interactions at an exhibit, we developed the term synergy of the unresponsive. Family members may view the same exhibit at the same time, but their interactions with the boundary object may not result in conversation among all actors. The unresponsive actors in the group will influence the synergy, or developing interactions. Diverging interest in the boundary object becomes a conflict, and the result is the family does not interact at the exhibit. Defining the synergy of the unresponsive may provide a breakthrough in techniques and strategies for coaxing visitor interactions.
... El caso es muy peculiar para el municipio de Tonaya, en donde la producción agavera ha sido importante desde hace casi un siglo en la mayoría de los sistemas de producción, teniendo como consecuencia el surgimiento de una industria mezcalera activa (Verschoor, 1997). Aun cuando el cultivo de Agave Azul ya había entrado en la zona, antes del "boom" del tequila, este cultivo se desarrollaba bajo sistemas tradicionales que permitían mantener una cobertura vegetal asociada a la producción del agave. ...
... When human and non-human are studied as heterogeneous elements, objects, spaces, and technologies should be seen as binders, which structure, define, and configure interaction rather than as the outcrops of human intention and action [56]. This is because every extension of a network in space and in time not only incorporates more and more humans, but also incorporates more and more non-humans [59]. For example a passenger may have chosen the cruise vacation because the total escape it provides, whereas the cruise ship's layout and cruise program enables multiple events to be attended in a short time-period, and therefore time-space decompresses immediately. ...
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The cruise ship environment contains multiple human and non-human characteristics that together contribute to the cruise experience. Although many of these characteristics are identified separately, less research attention has been paid to the investigation of the cruise experience as an entity, and interconnectivity between its various characteristics. A qualitative study was conducted in an authentic passenger ship environment in order to document the characteristics passengers perceive as contributing to the cruise experience. Instead of seeing experiences as belonging to the human domain, this article also brings in non-human actors by drawing on Actor-Network Theory (ANT). ANT is applied to illustrate how experiences emerge and are being constituted within the passenger ship environment. Three actor-network illustrations are used: social experiencing, everyday distinction and predictability. This article proposes that people and things become entangled via processes of translation and that the shared aims that concurrently bring actors together can be used as design drivers of the ship environment.
... A key possessions of a social performer is his or her ''agency,'' the ability to make judgments based on social involvement combined with the volume to manipulate community relations and to register others into his or her project based works. (Berger et al. [4], Verschoor et al. [28], Steins et al. [25]). ...
... Eu começava a questionar tudo o que havia à minha volta, as casas, as placas das lojas, as nuvens no céu e as gravuras que via nas bibliotecas, não para que me contassem a sua história, mas a outra, que certamente esconderam, mas que acabavam por revelar por causa e em virtude das suas misteriosas semelhanças. Umberto Eco, O Pêndulo de Foucault (2010[1997:466). ...
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O objetivo deste paper é analisar como a Teoria do Ator-Rede (ANT) tem sido adotada na América Latina para investigar (embora não necessariamente circunscrita) a Sociologia do Turismo. A prática relacionada com o estudo de fenômenos complexos com esta teoria também é partilhada. Para tal, o texto começa a olhar para a gênese da ANT no século XX na Europa, depois discute a sua incorporação nos Estudos do Turismo e posterior adoção na América Latina. Posteriormente, no artigo, são introduzidos alguns casos de estudo concretos, bem como a experiência pessoal do autor com a ANT. Finalmente, o texto delibera sobre as aprendizagens e perspectiva de aplicabilidade futura, num mundo em que a noção de "Turismo" enfrentará um questionamento devastador. Concluímos que, como o chamado "setor do turismo" terá de se regenerar, o mesmo acontecerá com a investigação nessa matéria, tanto compreendendo a necessidade de romper com as barreiras disciplinares, como integrando novos atores e paradigmas. Palabras chave: Teoria do Ator-Rede; Sociologia do Turismo; Globalização; Regeneração Turística.
... Figure 1 describes the main activities in the project. The translation process can be divided into four moments (Clegg, 2003;Van der Duim, 2005;Verschoor, 1997). ...
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This paper analyses a pilot project in Costa Rica aimed to examine and improve the market linkages of 24 small-scale tourism initiatives to tour operators in Costa Rica and the Netherlands. It links pro-poor tourism and the concept of tourism chain to actor-network theory. The analysis shows that the tangible results in terms of pro-poor tourism of the project itself were meagre, as, initially, only three and later only one out of 24 projects was included in the tourism chain. However, the analysis of this project contributes to an increasing body of knowledge on how to make tourism work for the poor, in Costa Rica as well as elsewhere. It argues to move beyond existing ways of theorising tourism and to explore the heuristics of conceptualising tourism in terms of actor-network theory and suggests to examine processes of translation in which the researcher follows and supports development organisations, incoming tour operators or any other particular actor in the process of creating associations that produce the desired effect: the increase of net benefits for the poor.
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Resumen La comunidad china en España ha pasado de su original y exclusiva presencia en el nicho étnico de los restaurantes de comida china a una expansión hacia otras actividades económicas dentro y fuera de la hostelería. Su economía étnica se ca-racteriza por un elevado volumen de pequeñas empresas familiares. Su búsqueda de nuevas inversiones les ha llevado a regentar restaurantes de comida japonesa y al traspaso de pequeños bares españoles de barrio sin cambiar las características del servicio. Ambos desarrollos desafían y hacen más compleja la tradicional relación entre etnicidad y empresariado y ofrecen una nueva vía de integración en la socie-dad general. Palabras clave: Chinos, etnicidad, empresariado étnico, restaurantes, empresa familiar. Abstract: The Chinese community in Spain has moved from his original and exclusive presence in the ethnic niche of Chinese restaurants to an expansion towards other economic activities within and outside the catering trade. They have an ethnic economy characterized by a large volume of small family enterprises. Their search for new investment has led them to the management of Japanese food restaurants and to the transfer of small Spanish neighbourhood bars without changing the original service features. Both developments defy and make more complex the traditional relationship between ethnicity and entrepreneurship, and do offer a new way for integration to the mainstream society.
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This article introduces an alternative way of looking at and researching tourism by translating actor-network theory into the provinces of these studies. Using the concept of tourismscapes, the article argues that people and things become entangled via complex processes of translation. People, organizations, objects, technologies, and spaces are all concurrently brought together in the performance of tourismscapes. Thus, studying them implies the analysis of processes of association and ordering between heterogeneous elements. The article summarizes this agenda for studies based on actor-network theory by proposing seven constituents for future research.RésuméEspaces touristiques: une perspective de l’acteur réseau. Cet article présente une autre façon de regarder et d’étudier le tourisme en traduisant la théorie de l’acteur réseau en termes des domaines de la recherche en tourisme. Basé sur le concept des espaces touristiques, l’article soutient que les gens et les choses s’emmêlent dans les processus complexes de la traduction. Tout y est rassemblé simultanément dans la production des espaces touristiques: personnes, organisations, objets, technologies et lieux. Ainsi, l’étude de tels éléments hétérogènes implique l’analyse des processus d’association et d’ordonnancement de ces éléments. L’article brosse un tableau du projet des études basées sur la théorie de l’acteur réseau en proposant sept constitutifs pour la recherche future. Mots-clés: espaces touristiques, théorie de l’acteur réseau, modes d’ordonnancement, traduction.
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Developing countries increasingly recognize that in the future far more attention will need to be paid to firms located outside the modern or formal sector. In this context, the complex of recent microelectronics and organizational innovations seems highly attractive for these are often said to be capable of facilitating a pattern of industrialization based on flexible, small-scale production, rather than on the more typical large-scale technology of mass production. This article, accordingly, seeks to evaluate the various mechanisms through which the new technologies—and the more general possibilities implied by the various definitions of ‘flexible specialization’—may in fact contribute to such an alternative model of industrialization.