Reassembling the social : an introduction to actor-network-theory / Bruno Latour.

by Latour, Bruno [author.]Looking glass.

Series: Clarendon lectures in management studies: Publisher: Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2007.Description: x, 301 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780199256051; 9780199256044.Subject(s): Actor-network theoryLooking glass | Sociology -- PhilosophyLooking glass | Social sciences -- PhilosophyLooking glass | Social groupsLooking glass | Social participationLooking glass | Social structureLooking glass | Organizational behaviorLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 263-280) and index.Originally published: 2005. Alternative form: Electronic version: Reassembling the social : an introduction to actor-network-theory / 9780191531262
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Reassembling the Social is a fundamental challenge from one of the world's leading social theorists to how we understand society and the "social". Bruno Latour's contention is that the word "social" as used by Social Scientists has become laden with assumptions to the point where it has become
a misnomer. When the adjective is applied to a phenomenon, it is used to indicate a stabilized state of affairs, a bundle of ties that in due course may be used to account for another phenomenon. Latour also finds the word used as if it described a type of material, in a comparable way to an
adjective such as "wooden" or "steely".

Rather than simply indicating what is already assembled together, it is now used in a way that makes assumptions about the nature of what is assembled. It has become a word that designates two distinct things: a process of assembling: and a type of material, distinct from others. Latour shows why
"the social" cannot be thought of as a kind of material or domain, and disputes attempts to provide a "social explanation" of other states of affairs. While these attempts have been productive (and probably necessary) in the past, the very success of the social sciences mean that they are largely
no longer so. At the present stage it is no longer possible to inspect the precise constituents entering the social domain. Latour returns to the original meaning of "the social" to redefine the notion and allow it to trace connections again. It will then be possible to resume the traditional goal
of the social sciences, but using more refined tools. Drawing on his extensive work examining the "assemblages" of nature, Latour finds it necessary to scrutinize thoroughly the exact content of what is assembled under the umbrella of Society. This approach, a "sociology of associations" has become
known as Actor-Network-Theory, and this book is an essential introduction both for those seeking to understand Actor-Network-Theory, or the ideas of one of its most influential proponents.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 263-280) and index.

Originally published: 2005.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Acknowledgements (p. ix)
  • Introduction: How to Resume the Task of Tracing Associations (p. 1)
  • Part I How to Deploy Controversies About the Social World
  • Introduction to Part I Learning to Feed off Controversies (p. 21)
  • First Source of Uncertainty: No Group, Only Group Formation (p. 27)
  • Second Source of Uncertainty: Action Is Overtaken (p. 43)
  • Third Source of Uncertainty: Objects too Have Agency (p. 63)
  • Fourth Source of Uncertainty: Matters of Fact vs. Matters of Concern (p. 87)
  • Fifth Source of Uncertainty: Writing Down Risky Accounts (p. 121)
  • On the Difficulty of Being an ANT: An Interlude in the Form of a Dialog (p. 141)
  • Part II How to Render Associations Traceable Again
  • Introduction to Part II Why is it so Difficult to Trace the Social? (p. 159)
  • How to Keep the Social Flat (p. 165)
  • First Move: Localizing the Global (p. 173)
  • Second Move: Redistributing the Local (p. 191)
  • Third Move: Connecting Sites (p. 219)
  • Conclusion: From Society to Collective-Can the Social Be Reassembled? (p. 247)
  • Bibliography (p. 263)
  • Index (p. 281)

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Bruno LaTour was born in the French province of Burgundy, where his family has been making wine for many generations. He was educated in Dijon, where he studied philosophy and Biblical exegesis. He then went to Africa, to complete his military service, working for a French organization similar to the American Peace Corps. While in Africa he became interested in the social sciences, particularly anthropology.

LaTour believes that through his interests in philosophy, theology, and anthropology, he is actually pursuing a single goal, to understand the different ways that truth is built. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, LaTour has written about the philosophy and sociology of science in an original, insightful, and sometimes quirky way. Works that have been translated to English include The Pasteurization of France; Laboratory Life; Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society; We Have Never Been Modern; and Aramis, or the Love of Technology.

LaTour is a professor at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation, a division of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines, in Paris.

(Bowker Author Biography)