Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Epizod iz sotsial'noi istorii tekhniki v svete aktorno - setevoi teorii Bruno Latura
Elena L. Zheltova
Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences
Issue number: 
No.4 (Vol.54)

The article starts with the brief review of the history of the creation of actor-network theory (ANT), followed by the explanation of its basic notions. The author observes the difficulties of understanding and translation of the main ANT terms “actor” and “network”. In the main part of the article the author considers a famous episode from the history of giant airships known as “Miracle at Echterdingen” – that is a sudden revelation of the national spirit of German Empire as the result of the flight and catastrophe of zeppelin LZ4 in august 1908.  She discusses methodological limits of the historical reconstructions of “Miracle at Echterdingen” in Douglas Botting’s “The Giant Airships” (1980) and Peter Fritzche’s “Nation of Fliers” (1992). It is demonstrated that ANT allows to overcome not only the obvious weakness of the linear narrative that Botting followed, but also the oxydenthalism of Peter Fritsche’s approach and to confirm Latour's thesis that “modernism’s accounts of itself may have no relation to what has actually happened to it”. As the result of the implementation of ANT, the network of forces which circulated in German society and lead to the Echterdingen phenomenon, is revealed. 

Bruno Latour, actor-network theory, philosophy of technology, history of technology, history of giant airships, miracle at Echterdingen, LZ4

Latour B. Paster: Voyna i mir mikrobov. S prilozheniem «Nesvodimogo» [Pasteur: guerre et paix des microbes suivi de Irréductions]. SPb.: European University Publishing Office at Saint Petersburg, 2015. 315 pp. (In Russian)

Manns, Germanija… – Manns T. Germanija i nemtsyi [Deutschland und die Deutschen]. Available at:томас-манн-германия-и-немцы/ (in Russian) (accessed on 01.07.2017) (In Russian)

Tavrov A. Poetika razryiva [Poetics of Chasm]. Moscow: Russkiy Gulliver. 2016. 183 p. (In Russian)

Berger J. Ways of Seeng. London: British Broadcasting Corp. & Penguin Books, 1972. 165 p.

Botting D. The Giant Airships. Alexandria (Virginia): Time Life Books Inc., 1980. 180 p.

Clausberg K. Zeppelin: Die Geschichte eines Unwahrscheinlichen Erfolges. München: Schirmer-Mosel, 1979. 296 p.

Eckener H. Im Zeppelin über Lander und Meer. Flensburg: Morisel Verlag, 1949. 489 p.

Fritzche P. A Nation of Fliers. London: Harvard Univ. Press, 1992. 282 p.

Herf J. Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. 1984. 251 p.

Latour B. The Pasteurization of France. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1988. 273 p.

Latour B. On actor-network theory. A few clarifications, in: Soziale Welt, 1996, vol. 47. Jahrg. H. 4, pp. 369–381.

Latour B. On Recalling ANT. In: J. Law and J. Hassard (eds.). Actor Network Theory and After. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999, pp. 15–26.

Latour B. A dialog about a new meaning of symmetric anthropology (interviewed by Carolina Miranda), in: Proceedings of the Cerisy meeting August 2013. [, accessed on 01.07.2017]

Latour B. An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. London: Harvard Univ. Press, 2013. 486 p.

Leipziger Tageblatt. 1908. 5 Aug.

Martin R. Berlin-Bagdad: Das deutsche Weltreich im Zeitalter der Luftschiffahrt, 1910–1931. Stuttgart & Leipzig: Deutche Verlags-Anstalt, 1907. 160 p.

Schwabischer Merkur. 1908. № 360. 5 Aug. Mittagsblatt / Цит. по: Fritzche P. A Nation of Fliers. London: Harvard Univ.Press, 1992. P. 11–12.

Wells H.G. War in the Air. London: George Bell & Sons, 1908. 398 p.

Wohl R. A Passion for Wings. Aviation and the Western Imagination 1908–1918. New Haven & London: Yale Univ. Press, 1994. 320 p.

Full Text: