By Graham Harman
Bruno Latour, the French sociologist, anthropologist and fashioned celebrity within the social sciences is revisited during this pioneering account of his ever-evolving political philosophy. Breaking from the conventional specialise in his metaphysics, such a lot lately visible in Harman’s ebook Prince of Networks, the writer in its place starts off with the Hobbesian or even Machiavellian underpinnings of Latour’s early interval encountering his shift in the direction of Carl Schmitt then completing together with his ultimate improvement into the Lippmann / Dewey debate. Harman brings those twists and becomes sharp concentration when it comes to Latour’s own political thinking.
Along with Latour’s most vital articles on political topics, the ebook chooses 3 works as exemplary of the detailed classes in Latour’s considering: The Pasteurization of France, Politics of Nature, and the lately released An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence, as his belief of politics evolves from an international energy fight among participants, to the fabrication of fragile parliamentary networks, to only one mode of life between many others.
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Additional info for Bruno Latour. Reassembling the political
Here, language, symbols and material objects can be used to simplify the task of ascertaining and negotiating the social order” (BAB 791). As human society grows more complicated, it is paradoxically simplified: “modern scientific observers replace a complexity of shifting, often fuzzy and continuous behaviors, relationships and meanings with a complicated array of simple, symbolic, clear-cut items. It is an enormous task of simplification” (BAB 791). Already with sedentary agricultural civilization, “the social bond can be maintained in the relative absence of the individuals” (BAB 792).
Latour should at least prefer Socrates’ political philosophy of uncertainty to the false certainty of Émile Durkheim, for as the young Latour writes in 1986: “[S]ince Durkheim, social scientists have considered political philosophy to be the prehistory of their science. Sociology had become a positive science only once it stopped bickering about origins of society and instead started with the notion of an all-embracing society that could then be used to explain various phenomena of interest” (PA 269).
If they confine themselves to the social, they “[affix] seals onto the black boxes, and once again [guarantee] that the strong will be secure and the cemeteries peaceful—filled with lines of hermetically closed black boxes crawling with worms” (UNS 300). What the theory of translation teaches us, by contrast, is that “it is no more difficult to send tanks into Kabul than to dial 999. It is no more difficult to describe Renault than the secretary who takes telephone calls at the Houston police station” (UNS 299).
Bruno Latour. Reassembling the political by Graham Harman