Bruno Latour's greatest hits vol III
maybe it is neighbourly to share the fruits of some of the grunt labour we do as students...the typing up of notes from books .. in the hope that we can weave some of these notes from big brains and minor poets through our own writings ..or use them to generate new trains of thoughts and aesthetic experiments
in that spirit i hereby post the few quotes i got from latour today ..honestly i find his theory hard, but sometimes i think its ok to skate around theory, and interpret it in your own way ... he has a nice turn of phrase anyway...
Latour, B. 2005, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Page 31. Groups are not silent things, rather the provisional product and constant uproar made by the millions of contradictory voices about what is the group and who pertains to what.
Page 32 . ... whenever some work has to be done to trace to retrace the boundary of the group, other groupings are designated as being empty, archaic, dangerous, obsolete, and so on. It is always by comparison with other competing ties that any tie is emphasised. so for every group to be defined, a list of anti-groups to set up as well.... actors are always engaged in the business of mapping the 'social context' in which they are placed...
Page 44. Action is not done under the full control of consciousness; action should rather be felt as a node, a knot, and a conglomerate of many surprising sets of agencies that have to be slowly disentangled.
Page 166.... any given interaction seems to overflow with elements are already in the situation coming from some other time, some other place, and generated by some other agency.... thus, if any observer is faithful to the direction suggested by this overflow, she will be lead away from any given interaction to some other places, other times, and other agencies that appear to have molded them into shape. It is as if a strong wind forbade anyone to stick to the local site and blew bystanders away; as if a strong current was always forcing us to abandon the local scene.
Page 168. ... the uneasy answer, one gets regarding those famed ' contexts ' is that there exists this something that renders the interaction possible by bringing on the scene most is necessary ingredients, but this 'something' is at once present behind and much too abstract to do anything. Structure is very powerful and yet much to weak and remote to have any efficacy. What is said to be the true source of everything 'real' and 'concrete'. that takes place in interactions does not seem to offer any dwelling for long. A second wind, a second current no less violent than the first, is now forcing any visitor away from the context and back to the local practical sites. Has the recent history of social sciences not been in large part of painful oscillation between two opposite poles, one more structural and the other more pragmatic?
Page 169 . ... the two obvious necessities of the social sciences: interactions overflowed by some structures that give shape to them; those structures themselves remained much too abstract, as long as they have not instantiated, mobilised, realised, or incarnated into some sort of local and lived interaction.
Page 176 . ... as soon as the local sites that manufacture global structures are underlined, it is the entire topography of the social world that is being modified. macro no longer describes a wider or larger site in which the micro would be embedded like some Russian Matryoshka doll, but another equally local, equally micro place, which is connected to many others through some medium transporting specific types of traces . No place can be said to be bigger than any other place, but some can be said to benefit from far safer connections with many more places than others . This move has a beneficial effect to keep the landscape flat, dense, since what earlier, in the pre-relative sociology, was situated 'above ' or 'below' remains, side by side and firmly on the same plane as the other loci which they were trying to overlook or include. What is highlighted much more vividly than before are all the connections, the cables, the means of transportation, the vehicles linking places together.
Page 177. ... a new topographical relationship becomes visible between the former micro and the former macro. The macro is neither 'above' nor 'low' the interactions, but added to them as another of their connections, feeding them and feeding off of them. There is no other known way to achieve changes in relative scale.
Page 178. What counts is the possibility for the enquirer to register that kind of 'networky' shape, whenever possible, instead of having to cut data into heaps: one local, one global. to tell an actor network story is to be able to capture those many connections without bungling them from the start by some a priori decision over what is the 'true size' of an Interaction or some social aggregate.
Page 179. An actor-network is traced, whenever, in the course of study, the decision is made to replace actors of whatever size by local and connected sites instead of ranking them into micro and macro. The two parts are essential, hence the hyphen. the first part ( the actor), reveals the narrow space in which all the grandiose ingredients of the world begin to be hatched; the second part (the network) may explain through which vehicles, which traces, which trails, which types of information, the world is being brought inside those places and then, after having been transformed there, are being pumped back out of its narrow walls. This is why the hyphenated 'network' is not there as a surreptitious presence of the Context, but remains what connects the actors together. Instead of being, like Context, another dimension giving volume to a too narrow and flat description, it allows the relations to remain flat and to pay in full the bill for the 'transaction costs '.