The A.N.T


“What seems to be Technical, is partly Social; and what seems to be Social, is partly technical”  (Delukie, 2009)

The relationship between publishing and publics is a balanced equilibrium, where they are both the actants of changes and shifts in our society. However it is not as simple as it is made to sound, as there is a complex assemblage between both publishing and media. There is much debate to whether it is the social or technical factors that have been the ongoing agents of the changes in publishing networks. To avoid a ‘which came first the chicken or the egg’ situation, the Actor-Network Theory suggested by Bruno LaTour et al. attempts to use a sociological theory to explain it all.

To condense and summarise here is a short but concise “For Dummies” A.N.T video

The video delves deeper into the theory defining all factors , whether it be animate or inanimate, to have some contribution into the network that it exists in. This is known as the Principle of generalised symmetry. The A.N.T is a rather inclusive theory that associates all factors as a actant with a same degree of agency, it integrates it all to the same conceptual framework.

Looking back into the relationship between publics and publishing, we can see that it coexists in somewhat of a heterogeneous network like the Actor-Network theory. From the moment you purchase a book, all the factors from the pages, the buyer, the cashier, the seller and even the bookstore are considered as an equal agency. One without the other will cause a disorder in our structured actor network between the publisher and the buyer.

What I can take away from the Actor-Network theory , in the attempt to understanding more about the assemblages between publics and publishing is to look at it from a different perspective. Where each and every factor plays a part to form the relationships between publishing and the social.


1. Delukie 2009,  Khaki Films, ‘Actor-Network Theory In Plain English’, YouTube,, accessed 25 March 2013

2. Wade, 2005, ‘Actor-Network Theory’, York University,, accessed 25 March 2013


ABC easy as 123

“Ways of managing knowledge and verbalization in primary oral cultures” (Ong, 1982)

It amazes me of how extraordinary the human brain is functioned to work, especially how man developed language to communicate with one another. Although orality and writing do not fall together synonymously, it was the first step to changing how we transmitted ideas between each other.  The translation of thoughts onto paper have inevitably changed the world of publishing forever.

Oral speech becomes spontaneous from our first words as child, our brains suddenly churn away and absorb each and every single word we hear, forming it into exquisite languages. Then we progress for a few years blabbering on with our motormouths, until kindergarten where we learn the ABC of the alphabet. This is the case for phonetic languages such as English. For my poor unfortunate soul, I was born into a family where 2 languages exist together. Except one does not have an alphabet. I grew up with Chinese as my first language and english as my second, but it has slowly worked its way around. Although I can speak fluently in the language, there is a struggle to actually write to communicate with others due to its logo syllabic nature. On top of this , I was also born into the electronic age…

“Electronic age is also an age of secondary orality in phones, radio , television” (Ong, 1982) 

We have been so immersed into integrating technology into our lives that it has developed many new languages. That be of html coding, leetspeek, text messaging acronyms, all of these have been a communication revolution. However we have also been sensitized to the previous contrast been orality and writing, as technology has taken over in a form of print (Ong,1982). Without being able to know these languages, you will start to struggle with the very means of communication in this era, many older generations are conforming to learn TXT speech and using the internet. There has been cases where lingo has even been bleeding into school paper essays as teacher Mike Kliener describes it as no shock to him, kids these days are just using their thumbs to communicate to each other. 

As we progress further into this new form of publishing electronically will we see further transcending language barriers being developed to make it more effective (Brannon, 2007). 

In the meantime I will leave you with this article that will change the way you think about knowing the alphabet A-Z back to front.


1. Ong, W 1982, ‘Orality and literacy: the technologizing of the world’, Methuen, New York

2. Brannon, B 2007, ‘The Lazer Printer as an Agent of Change’ in Baron. Sabrina et al., (eds.) Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press: p.353-364

3. Harshman, M 2011, ‘OMG! textspeak in schoolwork ;-)’, The Columbian,, accessed 15 March 2013


Week 2

“Print created the very notion of science: … the way humankind conceived of politics, of religion, of philosophy, of knowledge itself” (Brannon, 2007) 

Reading a book is becoming nostalgic to me as to many other fellow Gen Y friends. It is sad to think that children being born in this day and age will probably forget what it is like to have their parents read story books to them, on actual books.

“Spoken words would be conveyed by printed messages without being replaced by them”  (Eisenstein, 1979)

E-Reading has slowly been assimilated into our lives with the advancement of technological change. It took the Amazon Kindle 3 years with its Ebooks to surpass the sale of paper back novels, is this the vision and future of what publishing will become? These days cook books are slowly being replaced by recipes on food blogs, while newspapers are shifted onto tablets, books itself are simply a click and download away. There is no doubt that E-Reading has bought much convenience into our lives, but it is different and incomparable to the presence of a classic novel on your bookshelf.

Digital publishing is becoming the new age of the Print revolution, just as “printing press became an agent of change in the right place, at the right time” (Brannon, 2007). We have had a revolutionary evolution from ancient scrolls, Guttenberg’s printing, laser jet printers to the current forms of digital publications. It has opened up new market opportunities where everyone in a sense is a publisher where all our thoughts and information merge into one big network where information is shared seamlessly through a Control+V, likes or shares.

“In the digital world, the role of publishers will be larger as new technologies provide for an even greater user and learning experience” (Ruppel, 2010)

Where we often hear a big hype about the future of E-books being the death of books, it is digitalisation that is the becoming the pinnacle of our publishing in the 21st century. Ephemerality of digital media as Brannon (2007) suggests may not necessarily be the death of publishing itself. Books won’t be as we know it in the near future but can only get better with time as their digital cousins undergo many makeovers over time. Perhaps even as this video suggest we may lean back towards the more simple, wire free, long-lasting option.


  1. Einsenstein, E 1979, ‘Defining the initial shift: some features of print culture’ in The Printing Press as an Agent of Change Vol. 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: p.43-163
  2. Brannon, B 2007, ‘The Lazer Printer as an Agent of Change’ in Baron. Sabrina et al., (eds.) Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press: p.353-364
  3. Ruppel, P 2010, ‘5 E-Book Trends That will Change the Future of Publishing’, Mashable,, accessed 10 March 2013
  4. Morgan, N 2012, ‘What is the Future of Publishing’, Forbes,, accessed 11 March 2013