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1 Method, Performativity and Politics John Law, Science Studies, Lancaster Centre for Science Studies Lancaster University All work is collaborative, so.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Method, Performativity and Politics John Law, Science Studies, Lancaster Centre for Science Studies Lancaster University All work is collaborative, so."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Method, Performativity and Politics John Law, Science Studies, Lancaster Centre for Science Studies Lancaster University All work is collaborative, so thanks to: Adrian Evans, Mara Miele (Cardiff) Endre Danyi, Vicky Singleton (Lancaster) Nick Bingham, Steve Hinchliffe (Open University) Kristin Asdal, Marianne Lien, Ingunn Moser (Oslo) Emma Roe (Southampton) Annemarie Mol (Twente)

2 2 1.Discovery? or 2.Performativity! 1.Not idealist 2.Not (social constructivist) Introduction: two views of knowledge

3 3 1.Standard view: knowledge 1.Corresponds to reality 2.Tool for handling reality (pragmatism) 2.Non-standard view: performativity: Knowledge practices generate/enact 1.Workable knowledge and 2.Realities to match How do Knowledge Practices Work?

4 4 Real and Unreal Napoleons How? Making solid realities is: –Difficult! –Has to be done in many locations/practices

5 5 Summary: knowledge practices: 1.Enact truth claims 2.Enact realities 3.Do this with difficulty 4.Within a hinterland of other practices

6 6 Notes on the hinterland: How much does it cost to undo realities? Unsubstantiated hypotheses? Published papers? Embedded experimental techniques?

7 7 ‘We say that the laws of Newton may be found in Gabon and that this is quite remarkable since that is a long way from England. But I have seen Lepetit camemberts in the supermarkets of California. This is also quite remarkable, since Lisieux is a long way from Los Angeles. Either there are two miracles that have to be admired together in the same way, or there are none.’ (Bruno Latour, Irreductions, 227) The Consequences of Performativity 1

8 8 1.Science and its truths only exist within networks of practice. Truth not universal. 2.We can try to enact better versions of the real ‘Ontological politics’ The Consequences of Performativity 2

9 9 1.Sex ≠ gender 2.There are multiple biologies (multiple sexes) 3.Which are to be preferred? A politics of the real (an ontological politics) The Consequences of Performativity 3: Biology is not Destiny

10 10 So What do Surveys Do? An archaeology of the Eurobarometer

11 11 1.Attitudes 2.Opposed to Realities? 3.Or just very specific? (Real but only in the context of attitude surveys?) Layer 1: the European Consumer ?

12 12 1.Farm Animal welfare 2.Creating ‘European Political Project’ Layer 2: Politics in Europe

13 13 Consumers = 1.Individual decision- makers 2.Rational 3.Ethical 4.Under-informed Politics to be done in supermarkets at point of purchase? Layer 3: Subjectivity and the Location of Politics ‘The labelling of products would certainly help the consumer to opt for a greater selectivity of purchases in favour of animal welfare products.’.’ (EB 2007, 49)

14 14 1.set of individuals, 2.measurable attributes, 3.aggregated 4.isomorphous 5.homogeneous European collective space 6.Representational assumptions on sample-population relations Layer 4: Europe: a Container filled with Individuals

15 15 Versions of Collectivity –Romantic collective = emergent homogeneous whole containing parts known: (a) abstractly (b) explicitly, and (c) centrally –Baroque collective = inside, non-coherent, heterogeneous assemblage known: (a) sensuously/specifically, (b) implicitly, and (c) resistant to overview Layer 5: Collectivity: a Statistical Collection (Romanticism)

16 16 1.Consumers may request information but... 2.Citizens (and therefore polities) can demand it. 3.‘Ontological politics’: enacting better versions of the real Layer 6: the Citizen- Consumer ‘To make … choices [about purchasing animal products] it is crucial that the public has information that enables them to determine the welfare conditions that lie behind the products they see on shelves.’ (EB 2007, 49)

17 17 1.European Consumer 2.European Politics 3.Subjectivities and the Location of Politics 4.Europe: a container of individuals 5.Collectivity as emergent statistical collection (romanticism) 6.Citizen-consumer Layers in Eurobarometer?

18 18 1.Endless 2.Enacted realities are non-coherent (practices are ramshackle) 3.Reality is not destiny: it is multiple 4.When we describe we are also creating: what do we think of the ontological politics of our reality-making machines? 5.Enacting new realities is costly Performativity: the implications


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