A university is like a factory of words and scholars come up with the funniest theories. Like ANT theory or Actor Network Theory which was introduced to me by my friend Niklas. The first night we met, Niklas unraveled the secrets behind this theory to me. I didn't understand much of it until he gave the example of his own PhD research. Niklas is a fervent free skier and studies the free ski community here in Switzerland. When he misses a seminar, we always know he is doing 'ethnographic work' in the mountains. I've missed a chance this winter to see him jumping acrobatic moves while talking to his little tape recorder high on the slopes.
'But what do you actually wish to know about these people?', I asked him. 'I want to study the relationship between the skiers and their ski's', he answered. 'ANT theory allows me to go beyond the human and take other non-human 'actors' into account. For these guys, their ski is the most important thing in the world. They love it like it was their own child. The interaction between them and their skies is what interests me most'.
Although estranging, it made me think of other people I know who cherish this kind of relationship with an object. Like my friend Ed who can talk for hours about his bass guitar. I always joke that I'll never give up on winning the number 1 position in his life one day. But then, which man will ever manage to come in between me and my hemp-silk dress?
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