Network and Cooperation in the Field of Cultural Production: Naguib Mahfouz in Translation


Translation is a social practice and cultural product practiced by agents and produced by institutions in different subjects; hence, it can be studied from various sociological perspectives. This study explores translation activity through a network of various human and non-human agents by adopting two sociological theories: Bourdieu’s (1993) theory of cultural production and Latour’s (1996) Actor-Network Theory (ANT). The study demonstrates how these two theories reveal the effect of agent networks on the field of cultural production and that the more agents are involved in these networks, the stronger their impact will be on the field of cultural production. The impact of networks and the cooperation of agents in the field of cultural production in relation to the translation of the works of Naguib Mahfouz are examined as a case study. The study concludes that high numbers of linkages between agents in networks strongly influence the field of cultural production. This can be seen in the case of Mahfouz’s translated works after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1988, at which point there was a flood of Arabic to English translations. Finally, the study highlights the value of synthesizing Bourdieu’s theory and ANT in the field of translation studies.


Linda Alkhawaja


Latour, Bourdieu, translation, Mahfouz, Nobel Prize