“What is in between the mesh of the networks?” (Latour)

quick notes on Science in Action; chapter 5, “Tribunals of Reason” 

  • What is in between the mesh of the networks?
  • What does it matter?

Experimentations with controversies; controversies that are negotiated, mediated. Mediation, media(c)tors, are in between the mesh of the networks; implying that the conflicts and the clashes that actors mediate enable us opportunities to – locally, specifically – determine ways out of the paralysis of what’s “rational” versus what’s “irrational.” Mediation provides a third way … a way of navigating, negotiating the traces of the networks of conflict and clash … which ultimately is a choice NOT to put “facts” on trial, which is to elevate or denigrate them (i.e. erasing their traces, networks, assemblages).

Concerning rationality and irrationality, what Latour is concerned with is loosening the knots, muddying up sharp distinctions … opening boxes, etc., but not so that he can tie knots tighter, make sharper, different distinctions, or construct more, bigger, more tightly locked boxes.

Essentially, I take this to mean that to make determinate is to reduce; to put on trial … which ultimately means that it won’t hold up .. because it’s too affected. Contrarily, to navigate, to negotiate the traces of the networks of conflict is the substitute for putting facts on trial to elevate or denegrate them (i..e to erase their traces, networks, assemblages).

  • If we wish to continue the study of the networks of technoscience, we must straighten up  distorted beliefs about rationality, irrationality …
  • So my question, then, is if we’re looking at doing away with the opposition between rational and irrational ideas, and therefore, taking up controversies, what is the end of controversies? If we must have clashes/controversies in order to determine the significance of words and the ways in which they’re used to mediate those clashes and controversies, then what about the question as to whether we need a crisis in order to act? (I’m thinking of climate change…) or the notion as to a “third way” that espouses telling better, extended, more locally interested stories …?





About klangbehn

Doctoral Candidate: Rhetoric of Science University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue Tampa, FL 33620-5550 View all posts by klangbehn

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