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Doug Spencer

Author: Heather Sauer | Image: Heather Sauer

Douglas Spencer, associate professor and director of graduate education in the Department of Architecture, has contributed a chapter titled “Going to Ground: The Problem of Bruno Latour” to Landscape as Territory (Actar Publishers, November 2019). His chapter is a critique of Actor Network Theory (ANT) and its use within architectural and landscape theory.

Of ANT and other “flat ontologies,” he writes: “Supposedly progressive in their denouncement of human hubris, they align with neoliberal ideologies in refusing the human subject any agency other than that of accommodating themselves to things as they already are. Unable to countenance contradiction or hierarchy, they seek out the reassuringly even ground from which all difference has been smoothed out. Subject collapsed into object, attempts to grasp the totality of capital damned as ‘totalizing,’ what remains for the designer is a restricted and post-political outlook on their praxis and its possibilities.”