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Journal ArticleDOI

Bruno Latour, The pasteurization of France , trans. Alan Sheridan and John Law, Cambridge, Mass., and London, Harvard University Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. 273, £23.95. - Georges Canguilhem, Ideology and rationality in the history of the life sciences , trans. Arthur Goldhammer, Cambridge, Mass., and London, The MIT Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. xi, 160, £17.95.

01 Jan 1990-Medical History (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 34, Iss: 1, pp 113-114
TL;DR: The Pasteurization of France can be viewed as a battle, with its field and its myriad contestants, in which opposing sides attempted to mould and coerce various forces of resistance.
Abstract: BRUNO LATOUR, The pasteurization of France, trans. Alan Sheridan and John Law, Cambridge, Mass., and London, Harvard University Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. 273, £23.95. GEORGES CANGUILHEM, Ideology and rationality in the history of the life sciences, trans. Arthur Goldhammer, Cambridge, Mass., and London, The MIT Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. xi, 160, £17.95. Bruno Latour has written a wonderfully funny book about himself. It is difficult, however, to summarize a text committed to the view that \"Nothing is, by itself, either reducible or irreducible to anything else\", (p. 158). In Latour's opinion, the common view that sociologists of knowledge and scientists are opposed is incorrect. Both groups, according to Latour, are the authors of identical mistakes: reductionism and, relatedly, attempting to conjoin (in the instance of the sociologist) science and society, or (in the instance of the scientist) keeping them apart. For Latour, there are only forces or resistances which different groups encounter and attempt to conquer by forming alliances. These groups, however, are not simply the actors of conventional sociology. They include, for example, microbes, the discovery of the Pasteurians, with which they have populated our world and which we must now take notice of in any encounter or war in which we engage. War is a fundamental metaphor for Latour, since in a war or a battle clashes of armies are later called the \"victory\" of a Napoleon or a Kutuzov. Likewise, he argues, the Pasteurization of France can be viewed as a battle, with its field and its myriad contestants, in which opposing sides attempted to mould and coerce various forces of resistance. Strangely, he points out, the outcome of this huge battle, the labour and struggle of these masses, we attribute to the scientific genius of Pasteur. Pasteur's genius, however, says Latour, lay not in science (for this could be yet another way of making science and society distinct) but as strategist. Pasteur was able to cross disciplinary lines, recruiting allies to laboratory science by persuading them that they were recruiting him. This was possible because, like the armies in battle, they had already done the work of the general. Thus Pasteur's microbiology, which might conventionally be seen as a whole new science, can also be construed as a brilliant reformulation of all that preceded it and made it possible. Hygienists seized on the work of the Pasteurians and the two rapidly became powerful allies because \"The time that they [the hygienists] had made was now working for them\" (p. 52). French physicians, on the other hand, resisted recruitment, since for them it meant enslavement. Finally, however, they recruited the Pasteurians to their enterprise. Pasteurian public health was turned into a triumph of medicine. It is impossible to read this book and not substitute Latour for Pasteur. At the head of his own army, increasingly enlarged by the recruitment of allies, Latour now presents us, in his own language, with something we have made, or at least made possible. The cynic might say, using the old jibe against sociologists, that Latour has explained to us in his own language everything we knew anyway. Retorting thus, however, would be to unselfconsciously make an ally of Latour and miss the point by a narrow margin that might as well be a million miles. Latour says all this much more clearly (and certainly more wittily) than any review. Read it, but beware; in spite of Latour's strictures about irreducibility, the text is not what it seems. This is a recruitment brochure: Bruno needs you. Among the many historians whom Latour convicts by quotation of mistaking the general for the army, Pasteur for all the forces at work in French society, is Georges Canguilhem. Latour uses two quotes from Canguilhem, both taken from the original French version of Ideology and rationality in the life sciences, first published in 1977. Reading Canguilhem after Latour induces a feeling akin to culture shock. Astonishingly, Canguilhem seems almost Anglo-American. Anyone familiar with Canguilhem's epistemological universe would hardly be surprised to discover that Latour finds in it perspectives different from his own. After all, Canguilhem remains committed to the epistemologically distinct entity science or, better still, sciences. Likewise he employs distinctions between science and ideology, as in Spencerian ideology and Darwinian science, which will seem familiar, possibly jaded to English-reading eyes. His text is liberally seeded with unLatourian expressions, including injunctions to distinguish \"between ideology and science\" (p. 39), lamentations that eighteenth-century medicine \"squandered its energy in the erection of systems\" (p. 53), rejoicing that physiology \"liberated itself' from classical anatomy (p. 54), and regret that \"Stahl's influence ... seriously impeded experimental

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Citations
More filters
Book
01 Jan 1991
TL;DR: This article argued that we are modern as long as we split our political process in two - between politics proper, and science and technology, which allowed the formidable expansion of the Western empires.
Abstract: What makes us modern? This is a classic question in philosophy as well as in political science. However it is often raised without including science and technology in its definition. The argument of this book is that we are modern as long as we split our political process in two - between politics proper, and science and technology. This division allows the formidable expansion of the Western empires. However it has become more and more difficult to maintain this distance between science and politics. Hence the postmodern predicament - the feeling that the modern stance is no longer acceptable but that there is no alternative. The solution, advances one of France's leading sociologists of science, is to realize that we have never been modern to begin with. The comparative anthropology this text provides reintroduces science to the fabric of daily life and aims to make us compatible both with our past and with other cultures wrongly called pre-modern.

8,858 citations


Cites background from "Bruno Latour, The pasteurization of..."

  • ...…Thomas Hughes describes the filament of Edison's incandescent lamp (Hughes, 1983) ; when I describe the anthrax bacterium modified by Louis Pasteur (Latour, 1988b) or Roger Guillemin's brain peptides (Latour and Woolgar, [1979] 1986), the critics imagine that we are talking about science and…...

    [...]

  • ...…of the Modern 29 2.9 The Fourth Guarantee: The Crossed-out God 32 2.10 The Power of the Modern Critique 35 2.11 The Invincibility of the Moderns 37 2.12 What the Constitution Clarifies and What It Obscures 39 2.13 The End of Denunciation 43 2.14 We Have Never Been Modern 46 vii viii CONTENTS...

    [...]

  • ...When Donald MacKenzie describes the inertial guidance system of intercontinental missiles (MacKenzie, 1990) ; when Michel Calion describes fuel cell electrodes (Calion, 1989) ; when Thomas Hughes describes the filament of Edison's incandescent lamp (Hughes, 1983) ; when I describe the anthrax bacterium modified by Louis Pasteur (Latour, 1988b) or Roger Guillemin's brain peptides (Latour and Woolgar, [1979] 1986), the critics imagine that we are talking about science and technology....

    [...]

  • ...For traditional anthropologists, there is not - there cannot be, there should not be - an anthropology of the modern world (Latour, 1988a) ....

    [...]

Book ChapterDOI
John Law1
02 Mar 2009
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe the development of actor-network theory and feminist material semiotics by exploring case studies within Science and Technology Studies (STS), and note that STS develops its theoretical approaches through empirical case studies, and unless this is understood it is difficult to understand the significance of 'actor network theory' or any other STS theory or approach.
Abstract: This chapter describes the development of actor-network theory and feminist material semiotics by exploring case studies within STS (science and technology studies). It notes that STS (and so material semiotics) develops its theoretical approaches through empirical case studies, and notes that unless this is understood it is difficult to understand the significance of 'actor network theory' or any other STS theory or approach.

1,460 citations


Cites background from "Bruno Latour, The pasteurization of..."

  • ...Farms were turned into laboratories, vaccines made from attenuated bacteria, cattle stopped dying of anthrax, and Pasteur became a great man (Latour 1988b)....

    [...]

  • ...Amongst others Latour and Law took up his challenge and wrote in refl exive mode (Latour 1988c: 1996; Law 1994), thus exploring what science studies writing does, what it helps to bring into being – a continuing preoccupation to which I return below....

    [...]

  • ...Actor network 1990 knew this in theory (Latour 1988a) though it sometimes forgot it in practice....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explored the tension central to the notion of an actor-network, which is an intentionally oxymoronic term that combines structure and agency, and argued that this tension has been lost as "actor-network" has been converted into a smooth and consistent "theory" that has been (too) simply and easily displaced, criticised or applied.
Abstract: What is a theory? Or, more broadly, what is a good way of addressing intellectual problems? This paper explores the tension central to the notion of an ‘actor’ - ‘network’ which is an intentionally oxymoronic term that combines—and elides the distinction between—structure and agency. It then notes that this tension has been lost as ‘actor-network’ has been converted into a smooth and consistent ‘theory’ that has been (too) simply and easily displaced, criticised or applied. It recalls another term important to the actor-network approach—that of translation— which is another term in tension, since (the play of words works best in the romance languages) to translate is to also betray (traductore, tradition). It is suggested that in social theory simplicity should not displace the complexities of tension. The chapter concludes by exploring a series of metaphors for grappling with tensions rather than wishing these away, and in particular considers the importance of topological complexity, and the notion of f...

1,353 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...See Latour (1988)....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, Mishler reformulates validation as a process through which a community of researchers evaluate the "trustworthiness" of a particular study as the basis for their own work.
Abstract: In this article Elliot Mishler reformulates validation as a process through which a community of researchers evaluates the "trustworthiness" of a particular study as the basis for their own work. Rather than relying for their assessments on an investigator's adherence to formal rules or standardized procedures, skilled researchers, Mishler argues, depend on their tacit understanding of actual, situated practices in a field of inquiry. Validity claims are tested through the ongoing discourse among researchers and, in this sense, scientific knowledge is socially constructed. Within this perspective, Mishler proposes an approach to the problem of validation in inquiry-guided studies that relies on Kuhn's concept of exemplars — concrete models of research practice. He then examines three studies of narrative, suggesting them as candidate exemplars for this area of research since they provide reasonable grounds for evaluating their trustworthiness.

1,079 citations


Cites background from "Bruno Latour, The pasteurization of..."

  • ...However, by showing that experimentalists are in the same boat as inquiry-guided researchers in that we all rely for the validation of our work on con- textually grounded linguistic and interpretive practices, I hope to gain a hearing and perhaps enlist "allies" (Latour, 1988)....

    [...]

  • ...textually grounded linguistic and interpretive practices, I hope to gain a hearing and perhaps enlist "allies" (Latour, 1988)....

    [...]

  • ...…Among the instructive studies and ahalyses of scientific practice that bear on issues of validation are: Collins, 1985; Gilbert & Mulkay, 1981, 1984; Goodman, 1978, 1979/1983; Kuhn, 1962/1970, 1970/1974a,b; Latour, 1988, 1990; Latour & Woolgar, 1979; Lynch, 1985; Mitroff, 1974a,b; Ravetz, 1971....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Scheper-Hughes as mentioned in this paper argued that cultural relativism is no longer appropriate to the world in which we live, and anthropology, if it is to be worth anything at all, must be ethically grounded.
Abstract: CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY Volume 36, Number 3, June r995 ttl 1995 by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. All rights reserved oo32041~5136o3·ooo3S2..oo The Primacy of the Ethical Propositions for a Militant Anthropology! by Nancy Scheper-Hughes In bracketing certain Western Enlightenment truths we hold and defend as self-evident at home in order to engage theoreti­ cally a multiplicity of alternative truths encoded in our reified notion of culture, anthropologists may be suspending the ethi· cal in our dealings with the other. Cultural relativism, read as moral relativism, is no longer appropriate to the world in which we live, and anthropology, if it is to be worth anything at all, must be ethically grounded. This paper is an attempt to imag­ ine what forms a politically committed and morally engaged an· thropology might take. NANCY SCHEPER-HUGHES is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif. 94720, U.S.A.). Born in 1944, she was educated at Berkeley (Ph.D., 19761. She has taught at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, at Southern Methodist University, at the University of Cape Town, and at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Her research interests include the application of critical theory to medicine and psychiatry, the anthropology of the body, illness, and suffering, the political economy of the emo­ tions, and violence and terror. Among her publications are Saints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural Ire­ land (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1979l, the edited volume Child Survival: Anthropological Per­ spectives on the Treatment and Maltreatment of Children [Dor­ drecht: D. Reidel, 1987), and Death Without Weeping (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992l. The pres­ ent paper was submitted in final form 25 x 94. I. This paper was originally presented as a keynote address at the Israel Anthropological Association Meetings, Tel Aviv University, on March 23, 1994, where the conference theme was Politically Committed Anthropology. On my return to South Afriea I pre­ sented the paper to my colleagues at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cape Town, on May 13, 1994, where it achieved a certain notoriety and generated a strong response, aspects of which have worked their way into this revision. In No­ vember r994 parts of this paper were read at the AAA symposium Rethinking the Cultural: Beyond Intellectual Imperialisms and Parochialisms of the Past (see Winkler 1994:AI8). I am grateful to my Israeli, South African, and North American colleagues for their contributions and criticisms. Finally, at a crucial moment in my failed attempts to make sense of the useless suffering of the multitudes of Northeast Brazilian angel-babies, T. M. S. Evens introduccd me to certain key writings of Emmanuel Levinas [1986}. Although I originally rejected these with the vehemence of the For much of this century cultural anthropology has been concerned with divergent rationalities, with explaining how and why various cultural others thought, reasoned, and lived-in-the-world as they did. Classical anthropo­ logical thinking and practice are best exemplified, per~ haps, in the ~reat witchcraft and rationality debates of decades past. Ideally, modernist cultural anthropology liberated truth from its unexamined Eurocentric and Orientalist presuppositions. But the world, the objects of our study, and consequently, the uses of anthropology have changed considerably. Exploring the cultural logic of witchcraft is one thing. Documenting, as I am now, the burning or necklacing of accused witches, politi~ cal collaborators, and other ne'er-do~wells in belea­ guered South African townships-where a daily toll of charred bodies is a standard feature of news re­ ports-is another. 3 A more womanly-hearted anthropol­ ogy might be concerned not only with how humans think but with how they behave toward each other, thus engaging directly with questions of ethics and power. In South African squatter camps as in the AIDS sana­ toria of Cuba and in the parched lands of Northeast Bra­ zil, I have stumbled on a central dilemma and challenge to cuIrural anthropology, one that has tripped up many a fieldworker before me (for example, Renata Rosaldo [r989:r-2rl in his encounters with Ilongot headhunt­ ers): In bracketing certain Western Enlightenment truths we hold and defend as self-evident at home in order to engage theoretically with a multiplicity of alter­ native truths encoded in our reiRed notion of culture, anthropologists may be suspending the ethical (Buber 1952:147-56) in our dealings with the ((other, espe­ cially those whose vulnerable bodies and fragile lives are at stake. Moreover, what stake can anthropologists expect to have in current political debates in rapidly de­ mocratizing nations in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa where newly drafted constitutions and bills of rights-and those of Brazil and South Africa are exem­ unreflexive cultural relativist, Levinas's notion of a pre-cultural moral repugnance toward unnecessary human suffering came back to haunt me with a vengeance, along with the specter of three-year­ old Mercea, who died abandoned by both her mother and her an­ thropologist during Brazilian Carnival celebrations in 1989. 2. Excellent reviews of these debates in anthropology can be found in Mohanty (1989), Hollis and Lukes (1982J, Wilson (1985), and Tambiah (1990J. 3- Here is how the death of suspected police collaborators and witchcs is described in the local white newspaper in Cape Town (my emphasis): Dozen Bodies Removed from Guguletu in Week­ end Casualties ; The charred bodies of seven people, including a 50 year old woman and her teenage daughter, were found in Tho­ koza hostel and Katlehong on Friday. . The burned and blackened bodies of two young men were found at the Mandela squatter camp in Thokoza and another body at Katlehong railway station (Cape Times, September 1993); Another 40 bodies found on the East Rand ; finally, Charred bodies of two witches found in Nyanga (Argus, January 21, 1994l. The women accused of witchcraft had been bound together with rope and were badly burnt. While white deaths counted -as, for example, in the extensive and personal coverage of the white victims of the St. James Church massacre in Cape Town in late July r994-the black victims of township violence were merely counted, recorded as body counts.

889 citations

References
More filters
Book
01 Jan 1991
TL;DR: This article argued that we are modern as long as we split our political process in two - between politics proper, and science and technology, which allowed the formidable expansion of the Western empires.
Abstract: What makes us modern? This is a classic question in philosophy as well as in political science. However it is often raised without including science and technology in its definition. The argument of this book is that we are modern as long as we split our political process in two - between politics proper, and science and technology. This division allows the formidable expansion of the Western empires. However it has become more and more difficult to maintain this distance between science and politics. Hence the postmodern predicament - the feeling that the modern stance is no longer acceptable but that there is no alternative. The solution, advances one of France's leading sociologists of science, is to realize that we have never been modern to begin with. The comparative anthropology this text provides reintroduces science to the fabric of daily life and aims to make us compatible both with our past and with other cultures wrongly called pre-modern.

8,858 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
John Law1
01 Aug 1992
TL;DR: The actor-network theory as discussed by the authors is a body of theoretical and empirical writing which treats social relations, including power and organization, as network effects and argues that society and organization would not exist if they were simply social.
Abstract: This paper describes the theory of the actor-network, a body of theoretical and empirical writing which treats social relations, including power and organization, as network effects. The theory is distinctive because it insists that networks are materially heterogeneous and argues that society and organization would not exist if they were simply social. Agents, texts, devices, architectures are all generated in, form part of, and are essential to, the networks of the social. And in the first instance, all should be analyzed in the same terms. Accordingly, in this view, the task of sociology is to characterize the ways in which materials join together to generate themselves and reproduce institutional and organizational patterns in the networks of the social.

2,439 citations

Book ChapterDOI
John Law1
02 Mar 2009
TL;DR: In this article, the authors describe the development of actor-network theory and feminist material semiotics by exploring case studies within Science and Technology Studies (STS), and note that STS develops its theoretical approaches through empirical case studies, and unless this is understood it is difficult to understand the significance of 'actor network theory' or any other STS theory or approach.
Abstract: This chapter describes the development of actor-network theory and feminist material semiotics by exploring case studies within STS (science and technology studies). It notes that STS (and so material semiotics) develops its theoretical approaches through empirical case studies, and notes that unless this is understood it is difficult to understand the significance of 'actor network theory' or any other STS theory or approach.

1,460 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explored the tension central to the notion of an actor-network, which is an intentionally oxymoronic term that combines structure and agency, and argued that this tension has been lost as "actor-network" has been converted into a smooth and consistent "theory" that has been (too) simply and easily displaced, criticised or applied.
Abstract: What is a theory? Or, more broadly, what is a good way of addressing intellectual problems? This paper explores the tension central to the notion of an ‘actor’ - ‘network’ which is an intentionally oxymoronic term that combines—and elides the distinction between—structure and agency. It then notes that this tension has been lost as ‘actor-network’ has been converted into a smooth and consistent ‘theory’ that has been (too) simply and easily displaced, criticised or applied. It recalls another term important to the actor-network approach—that of translation— which is another term in tension, since (the play of words works best in the romance languages) to translate is to also betray (traductore, tradition). It is suggested that in social theory simplicity should not displace the complexities of tension. The chapter concludes by exploring a series of metaphors for grappling with tensions rather than wishing these away, and in particular considers the importance of topological complexity, and the notion of f...

1,353 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, Mishler reformulates validation as a process through which a community of researchers evaluate the "trustworthiness" of a particular study as the basis for their own work.
Abstract: In this article Elliot Mishler reformulates validation as a process through which a community of researchers evaluates the "trustworthiness" of a particular study as the basis for their own work. Rather than relying for their assessments on an investigator's adherence to formal rules or standardized procedures, skilled researchers, Mishler argues, depend on their tacit understanding of actual, situated practices in a field of inquiry. Validity claims are tested through the ongoing discourse among researchers and, in this sense, scientific knowledge is socially constructed. Within this perspective, Mishler proposes an approach to the problem of validation in inquiry-guided studies that relies on Kuhn's concept of exemplars — concrete models of research practice. He then examines three studies of narrative, suggesting them as candidate exemplars for this area of research since they provide reasonable grounds for evaluating their trustworthiness.

1,079 citations