Critical Realism and Actor-Network Theory/Deleuzian Thinking: A Critical Comparison in the Area of Information Systems, Technology and Organizational Studies

Publication Type:

IFIP Paper


Beyond Interpretivism? New Encounters with Technology and Organization, Springer International Publishing, Cham, p.58–72 (2016)




Much debate has encircled studies of information systems (IS), technology and organizations with regards to ideas of process, stability and change, performance and materiality. This encapsulates different ways of viewing dualities (e.g. subjective/objective, social/technical, local/global, macro/micro, structure/agency, reality/construction, being/becoming, etc.) as well as alternative ontological and epistemological commitments underlying particular approaches and research perspectives. This paper seeks to explore two specific approaches by focusing on a comparison of critical realism (CR) and actor-network theory (ANT)/Deleuze-inspired forms of inquiry. In particular, we focus on the notion of morphogenesis in order to explore in greater detail how this concept conjures up rather different images in relation to approaches centred around CR and ANT/Deleuze.