- Series: Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1st edition (October 25, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199256055
- ISBN-13: 978-0199256051
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.8 x 6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Bruno Latour is a Professor at the Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris. Having been trained as a philosopher, then an anthropologist, Bruno Latour specialized in the analysis of scientists and engineers at work, and published works on philosophy, history, sociology, and the anthropology of science. He is the author of Laboratory Life (Princeton University Press), We Have Never Been Modern (Harvard University Press), and Pandora's Hope: Essays in the Reality of Science Studies (Harvard University Press).
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Finally, I think that academic and related books are, or at least can be, scholarly inspiring not only in terms of what they have/contain or give in a direct and positive sense; but also in terms of how they enrich my academic wonderings. One way for me to note this is how I’m excited by reading the book, how many (new) ideas come to my mind, and if they infiltrate my scholarly daydreaming – if I can call it this way. And this manuscript has certainly done all this work. So I like it and recommend it.
I should say that I got to read it after being quite familiar with the literature and having researched and published myself. So in this senses it’s hard for me to say how the book would be understood and received by, say, undergraduate audience, or even graduate audiences who are not familiar with the topics.
That said, its commentary on the state of sociology, and in particular its call to ask us to slow down and reconsider the things we take for granted is a noble effort. However, it is one made only more frustrating by its lack of practicality. I would recommend it to any sociologists, but with some slight hesitation as I think it benefits those who are much more interested and well versed in theory than the title would imply.
At the same time, as I read the first few chapters, I had a sense of deja vu. The program Latour is putting forth--at least initially-- appears not so different from that of Fredrik Barth -- not Barth's early transactionalist stuff, but his later work on the anthropology of knowledge. Specifically,
1992 Towards greater naturalism in conceptualizing societies. In Conceptualizing Society. Kuper, A., eds. Pp. 17--33. : Routledge.
1993 Balinese worlds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
put forth a very similar approach to the "social." Barth himself is a great admirer of Latour (see his praise for Laboratory Life and Science in Action in his 2002 piece in Current Anthropology) but Latour--at least here--doesn't seem to be reading Barth....
Latour is also taking great pains to distance himself from Bourdieu's reflexive sociology, and from critics who would label ANT as postmodernist. Highly recommended if you're interested in this sort of thing.
In the conclusion, it becomes app parent where his project leads. He suggests that it would be good to reify human, in his mind 'upgrade' them to things. Well, I guess slaves and women in many non western countries have little to complain about then...