With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith. What does it mean to be modern? What difference does the scientific method make? The difference, Latour explains, is in our careful distinctions between nature and society, between human and thing, distinctions that our benighted ancestors, in their world of alchemy, astrology, and phrenology, never made. But alongside this purifying practice that defines modernity, there exists another seemingly contrary one: the construction of systems that mix politics, science, technology, and nature. The ozone debate is such a hybrid, in Latour’s analysis, as are global warming, deforestation, even the idea of black holes. As these hybrids proliferate, the prospect of keeping nature and culture in their separate mental chambers becomes overwhelming—and rather than try, Latour suggests, we should rethink our distinctions, rethink the definition and constitution of modernity itself. His book offers a new explanation of science that finally recognizes the connections between nature and culture—and so, between our culture and others, past and present. Nothing short of a reworking of our mental landscape. We Have Never Been Modern blurs the boundaries among science, the humanities, and the social sciences to enhance understanding on all sides. A summation of the work of one of the most influential and provocative interpreters of science, it aims at saving what is good and valuable in modernity and replacing the rest with a broader, fairer, and finer sense of possibility.
Published by Harvard University Press on 07/23/1993
Book details: 157 pages.
From weaker to stronger rhetoric : literature - Laboratories - From weak points to strongholds : machines - Insiders out - From short to longer networks : tribunals of reason - Centres of calculation.
Published by Harvard University Press on 07/23/1987
Book details: 274 pages.
A major work by one of the more innovative thinkers of our time, Politics of Nature does nothing less than establish the conceptual context for political ecology--transplanting the terms of ecology into more fertile philosophical soil than its proponents have thus far envisioned. Bruno Latour announces his project dramatically: "Political ecology has nothing whatsoever to do with nature, this jumble of Greek philosophy, French Cartesianism and American parks." Nature, he asserts, far from being an obvious domain of reality, is a way of assembling political order without due process. Thus, his book proposes an end to the old dichotomy between nature and society--and the constitution, in its place, of a collective, a community incorporating humans and nonhumans and building on the experiences of the sciences as they are actually practiced. In a critique of the distinction between fact and value, Latour suggests a redescription of the type of political philosophy implicated in such a "commonsense" division--which here reveals itself as distinctly uncommonsensical and in fact fatal to democracy and to a healthy development of the sciences. Moving beyond the modernist institutions of "mononaturalism" and "multiculturalism," Latour develops the idea of "multinaturalism," a complex collectivity determined not by outside experts claiming absolute reason but by "diplomats" who are flexible and open to experimentation. Table of Contents: Introduction: What Is to Be Done with Political Ecology? 1. Why Political Ecology Has to Let Go of Nature First, Get Out of the Cave Ecological Crisis or Crisis of Objectivity? The End of Nature The Pitfall of "Social Representations" of Nature The Fragile Aid of Comparative Anthropology What Successor for the Bicameral Collective? 2. How to Bring the Collective Together Difficulties in Convoking the Collective First Division: Learning to Be Circumspect with Spokespersons Second Division: Associations of Humans and Nonhumans Third Division between Humans and Nonhumans: Reality and Recalcitrance A More or Less Articulated Collective The Return to Civil Peace 3. A New Separation of Powers Some Disadvantages of the Concepts of Fact and Value The Power to Take into Account and the Power to Put in Order The Collective's Two Powers of Representation Verifying That the Essential Guarantees Have Been Maintained A New Exteriority 4. Skills for the Collective The Third Nature and the Quarrel between the Two "Eco" Sciences Contribution of the Professions to the Procedures of the Houses The Work of the Houses The Common Dwelling, the Oikos 5. Exploring Common Worlds Time's Two Arrows The Learning Curve The Third Power and the Question of the State The Exercise of Diplomacy War and Peace for the Sciences Conclusion: What Is to Be Done? Political Ecology! Summary of the Argument (for Readers in a Hurry...) Glossary Notes Bibliography Index From the book: What is to be done with political ecology? Nothing. What is to be done? Political ecology! All those who have hoped that the politics of nature would bring about a renewal of public life have asked the first question, while noting the stagnation of the so-called "green" movements. They would like very much to know why so promising an endeavor has so often come to naught. Appearances notwithstanding, everyone is bound to answer the second question the same way. We have no choice: politics does not fall neatly on one side of a divide and nature on the other. From the time the term "politics" was invented, every type of politics has been defined by its relation to nature, whose every feature, property, and function depends on the polemical will to limit, reform, establish, short-circuit, or enlighten public life. As a result, we cannot choose whether to engage in it surreptitiously, by distinguishing between questions of nature and questions of politics, or explicitly, by treating those two sets of questions as a single issue that arises for all collectives. While the ecology movements tell us that nature is rapidly invading politics, we shall have to imagine - most often aligning ourselves with these movements but sometimes against them - what a politics finally freed from the sword of Damocles we call nature might be like.
Published by Harvard University Press on 06/30/2009
Book details: 307 pages.
This highly original work presents laboratory science in a deliberately skeptical way: as an anthropological approach to the culture of the scientist. Drawing on recent work in literary criticism, the authors study how the social world of the laboratory produces papers and other "texts,"' and how the scientific vision of reality becomes that set of statements considered, for the time being, too expensive to change. The book is based on field work done by Bruno Latour in Roger Guillemin's laboratory at the Salk Institute and provides an important link between the sociology of modern sciences and laboratory studies in the history of science.
Published by Princeton University Press on 04/04/2013
Book details: 296 pages.
Bruno Latour is among the most important figures in contemporary philosophy and social science. His ethnographic studies have revolutionized our understanding of areas as diverse as science, law, politics and religion. To facilitate a more realistic understanding of the world, Latour has introduced a radically fresh philosophical terminology and a new approach to social science, ‘Actor-Network Theory’. In seminal works such as Laboratory Life, We Have Never Been Modern and An Inquiry into Modes of Existence, Latour has outlined an alternative to the foundational categories of ‘modern’ western thought Ð particularly its distinction between society and nature Ð that has major consequences for our understanding of the ecological crisis and of the role of science in democratic societies. Latour’s ‘empirical philosophy’ has evolved considerably over the past four decades. In this lucid and compelling book, Gerard de Vries provides one of the first overviews of Latour’s work. He guides readers through Latour’s main publications, from his early ethnographies to his more recent philosophical works, showing with considerable skill how Latour’s ideas have developed. This book will be of great value to students and scholars attempting to come to terms with the immense challenge posed by Latour’s thought. It will be of interest to those studying philosophy, anthropology, sociology, science and technology studies, and almost all other branches of the social sciences and humanities.
Published by John Wiley & Sons on 02/12/2018
Book details: 224 pages.
French sociologist Bruno Latour has previously written about the relationship between people, science and technology. In this book he sets out his own ideas about 'actor network theory' and its relevance to management and organisation theory.
Published by Oxford University Press on 07/28/2005
Book details: 301 pages.
The first extended study of Bruno Latour’s legal theory, this book presents a critical reconstruction of the whole of Latour’s oeuvre to date, from Laboratory Life to An Inquiry into the Modes of Existence. Based on the powerful insights into normative effects that actor-network theory makes possible, the book advances a new theory of legal normativity and the force of law, rethinking Latour’s work on technology, the image, and referential scientific inscriptions, among others, and placing them within the ambit of legality. The book also captures and deepens the contrast between the modern legal institution and the value of law as a mode of existence, and provides a fulsome theoretical account of legal veridiction. Throughout, Latour’s thought is put into dialogue with important progenitors and adversaries as well as historical and contemporary strands of legal and political philosophy. But the thread of legality is not confined to Latour's reflections on the making of law; rather, it cuts through the whole of his highly diverse body of work. The empire of mononaturalism augured by modern philosophies of science is thoroughly juridical; as such, the actor-network theory that promises to undo that empire by freeing the value of the sciences from its epistemological clutches is unthinkable without the device of the trial and the descriptive semiotics of normativity that sustain ANT. The democratization of the sciences and the vibrancy of ecologized politics that become possible once the bifurcation of nature into essential primary and disposable secondary qualities is disabled, and once the ‘modern Constitution’ is called into doubt, also have important legal dimensions that have gone largely unexamined. Bruno Latour: The Normativity of Networks remedies this and other omissions, evaluating Latour’s thought about law while carrying it in striking new directions. This book introduces legal scholars and students to the thought of the philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour, whilst also presenting a critical analysis of his work in and around law. This interdisciplinary study will be of interest to those researching in Law, Philosophy, and Sociology.
Published by Routledge on 06/23/2014
Book details: 250 pages.
A scientist friend asked Bruno Latour point-blank: "Do you believe in reality?" Taken aback by this strange query, Latour offers his meticulous response in Pandora's Hope. It is a remarkable argument for understanding the reality of science in practical terms. In this book Latour, identified by Richard Rorty as the new "bête noire of the science worshipers," gives us his most philosophically informed book since Science in Action. Through case studies of scientists in the Amazon analyzing soil and in Pasteur's lab studying the fermentation of lactic acid, he shows us the myriad steps by which events in the material world are transformed into items of scientific knowledge. Through many examples in the world of technology, we see how the material and human worlds come together and are reciprocally transformed in this process. Why, Latour asks, did the idea of an independent reality, free of human interaction, emerge in the first place? His answer to this question, harking back to the debates between Might and Right narrated by Plato, points to the real stakes in the so-called science wars: the perplexed submission of ordinary people before the warring forces of claimants to the ultimate truth.
Published by Harvard University Press on 07/23/1999
Book details: 324 pages.
In a new approach to philosophical anthropology, Bruno Latour offers answers to questions raised in We Have Never Been Modern: If not modern, what have we been, and what values should we inherit? An Inquiry into Modes of Existence offers a new basis for diplomatic encounters with other societies at a time of ecological crisis.
Published by Harvard University Press on 08/19/2013
Book details: 486 pages.
"Bruno Latour is one of the major figures of contemporary thought. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the Latourian oeuvre, spanning from his early work in the sociology and anthropology of science to his recent philosophy of multiple "modes of existence.""--
Published on 10/01/2014
Book details: 194 pages.