Reply To: Difference between ‘actants’ and ‘actors’, and/or ‘micro actants’ & ‘macro actors’

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Dr Ann Lawless

This is always tricky Connor. The classic way to treat this in academic writing is to define the terms clearly, cite the theory from which you are drawing it and which inspires and shapes it, and then use them consistently in that article/chapter/conference paper.

The discourse in academia will build as you and others contribute to it, and who knows – might even stabilize and settle after much disclosure and use.

I have had the same issue with using reflection v reflexivity; and with autonomy and agency. Before this site was rebuilt there were methodspace conversations about critical v critique v critical theory v criticalist. Recently I have stopped using criticalist, it was getting clumsy.

I think it is important to stay in the space of revealing and clarifying the distinctions each time you use it – to assume your reader/listener is intelligent but not familiar with the terms or not using them in the same way as you hope/intend/assume. By your own “exposition” or reveal, you contribute to the emergence of the dialogue and the stabilization of the terms.