Is Latour’s due process feasible? The case of housing management strategy implementation.Drs. Ing. Ritske Dankert,
Delft University of Technology
Due to a change in regulations in the 1990s, Dutch housing associations have become much moreindependent from government policies. As a result they have to formulate their own strategicgoals on how to deal with their properties. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether BrunoLatour's due process model can be of help to housing associations implementing their strategies.In his
, Latour (2004) has presented the due process model as a model throughwhich new plans or ideas can be realised in society. In the case of housing management, measuresfrom the management strategy should be implemented. Following McMaster, Vidgen & Wastell(1998), I will apply the due process retrospectively. To this end, a case study was conducted at aDutch housing association.In the next section, the due process model will be introduced. I will then explain the researchmethod and the projects at Groenveld Wonen (fictitious name) that were selected for the casestudy. I will then progress to compare the due process model with the actual strategyimplementation at the housing association before finally, drawing some conclusions from thiscomparison.
Actor network theory and the due process model
Following actor network theory (ANT), all human and non-human entities can be reformulated interms of a network of actants that together make up the final result of such an entity (Latour,2005; Law, 1992). For example, a building is a result of the actants (e.g. the project manager,financial resources, contractor, building materials, etc.) that together form a network. In terms of ANT this network is called an actant-network. If a housing association wants to establish abuilding, it has to translate other actants in order to make them part of the actant-network of thebuilding. Callon & Latour (1981, p.279) define translation as:…all the negotiations, intrigues, calculations, acts of persuasion and violence, thanks towhich an actor or force takes, or causes to be conferred on itself, authority to speak or act onbehalf of another actor or force; ‘Our interests are the same’, ‘do what I want’, ‘you cannotsucceed without me’.Through translation, actants are displaced and thus changed, in order to become part of the actant-network (Callon, 1986).The due process model of Latour (2004) may be of help for housing associations to guide theirtranslation efforts building the actant-network. Latour (2004) uses the term ‘due process’ toindicate the normative program of actor network theory. The due process model consists of fourgeneral rules. The first general rule of Latour (2004) is about perplexity, “You shall not simplifythe number of [potential actant-networks] to be taken into account in the discussion.” This rule isabout the need to give a new candidate for existence some space to introduce itself. A newpotential actant-network should not be instituted or neglected too soon. Perplexity is able to setlegitimacy for a new candidate for existence. The second general rule deals with consultationabout the characteristics of the new actant-network (Latour, 2004). Consultation is merely aboutexplicating the different viewpoints. Discussion about how different viewpoints can live together