Opening the black box of commodification: A philosophical critique of actor-network theory as critique

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This article argues that actor-network theory, as an alternative to critical theory, has lost its critical impetus when examining commodification in healthcare. The paper claims that the reason for this, is the way in which actor-network theory’s anti-essentialist ontology seems to black box 'intentionality' and ethics of human agency as contingent interests. The purpose of this paper was to open the normative black box of commodification, and compare how Marxism, Habermas and ANT can deal with commodification and ethics in healthcare. Moreover, a new account of 'intentionality' in critical thinking was elaborated. Using Strawson's analysis of 'reactive attitudes and resentment,' the ethical implications of commodification in health care were examined as an assessment of intentions. Synthesizing critical theory with the relational materialism of actor-network theory, this article advances a new approach that seeks to bridge interdisciplinary boundaries, and guide actor-network theory in a critical and humanist direction. Providing new theoretical insights on commodification and 'intentionality' in health care.
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Archival date: 2016-03-07
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