We have never been Modern

Transcript

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2 We Have Never Been Modern Bruno Latour translated by Catherine Porter Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts

3 This translation 1993 by Harvester Whearsheaf and © and Fellows of Harvard the President College All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America published as Nous n 'avons jamais ete modernes: Originally Essais d'anthropolo gie symmetrique. © Decouverte Copyright 1991 La of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Library at o ur , Bruno. L [Nous n'avons jamais ete modernes. English] We have never modern I Bruno Latour : translated by been Catherine Porter. p. em. Translation of: Nous n'avons jamai s ete moderns. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 8-6.- ISBN 0-674-9 4839--4 (pbk.) 0-674-9483 1. Science-Social aspects. 2. Technology-S ocial aspects. 3. Scien ce-Philosophy. 4. Science-History. I. Title. Q175.5.L35 13 1993 9 3-15226 303.48'3--dc20 CIP

4 For Charis and Adrian

5 CONTENTS Acknow ledgements IX CRISIS 1 1.1 of Hybrids 1 The Proliferation Retying the Gordian Knot 1.2 3 Stance The Crisis of the Critical 1.3 5 1989: The Year of Miracles 1.4 8 What Does 10 To Be A Modern ? It Mean 1.5 CONSTITUTION 2 13 The Modern Constitution 2.1 13 Boyle and His Objects 2.2 15 2.3 Hobbes and His Subjects 18 2.4 The Mediation of the Laboratory 20 of Nonhumans The Testimony 22 2.5 The Doub of the Laboratory and the le Artifact 2.6 Leviathan 24 2.7 Representation and Political Representation Scientific 27 Guarantees of the Modern The Constitutional 2.8 29 2.9 The Fourth Guarantee: The Crossed-out God 32 2.10 of the Modern Critique The Power 35 2.11 The Invincibility of the Moderns 37 2.12 What the Constitution Clarifies and What It Obscures 39 2.13 The End of Denunciation 43 2.14 We Have Never Been Modern 46 vii

6 CONTENTS viii 49 REVOLUTION 3 49 Victims of Their Own Success The Moderns, 3.1 51 a Quasi-Ob ject? What Is 3.2 55 Stretched Over the Yawning Philosophies Gap 3.3 59 The End of Ends 3.4 62 Semiotic Turns 3.5 65 Has Forgotten Who Being? 3.6 67 The Beginning of the Past 3.7 The Revolutionary Miracle 70 3.8 72 the Passing Past The End of 3.9 Triage Times and Multiple 3.10 74 76 3.11 A Copernican Counter-revolution 79 to Mediators Intermediaries From 3.12 82 Accusation, Causation 3.13 85 Ontologies Variable 3.14 88 Modern Repertoires the Four Connecting 3.15 91 RELATIVISM 4 91 4.1 End the Asymmetry How to 94 The Principle of Symmetry Generalized 4.2 97 4.3 System of the Two Great Divides The Import-Export Anthropology Home from the Tropics Comes 100 4.4 There Are No Cultures 103 4.5 Differences Sizeable 106 4.6 4.7 109 Archimedes' coup d'etat 111 4.8 isim and Relativist Relativism Absolute Relativ 4.9 Small Concerning the Disenchantment of the Mistakes World 114 Even a Longer Network at All Points Local Remains 4.10 117 4.11 The Leviathan is a Skein of Networks 120 4.12 122 for the Margins A Perverse Taste 4.13 125 New to Old Adding Avoid Crimes Transcendences Abound 4.14 127 REDISTRIBUTION 5 130 Modernization The Impossible 5.1 130 Final Examinations 5.2 132 Humanis m Redistributed 136 5.3 Constitution The Nonmodern 138 5.4 The Parliament of Things 142 5.5 Bibliography 146 Index 154

7 A CKNO WLEDG EMENTS places the English the French. I have modified In many text differs from section ed or clarified the argument added the figures, 3.2 and qualifi its main structure. I have abstained from giving without modifying examples in order the speculative - and, I am afraid, empirical to retain of this essay. case studies, including several very Gallic! - character Many in the bibliography. Having written by myself, will be found several empirical I am trying here to bring the emerging field of science books, to the of the literate public through the philosophy studies attention with this doma in. associated people tried Many to make this essay less unreasonable. Among have I especially thank Luc Boltanski, Francis Chateauraynaud, Eliza­ them beth Claverie, Gerard de Vries, Fran\ois Geze and Isabelle Stengers. I thank Harry McMullin, Jim Griesemer, Michel Izard, Collins, Ernan Geertz Peter Galison for allowing me to present the Clifford and of th is essay in their seminars. arguments of Chapter have Parts been publi shed in 'Postmodern ? No, simply 2 : steps towards an anthropology of science. An essay review', amodern Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 21: (1990) 145-71. Some in Chapter 3 have appeared in a different form in of the arguments 'One more turn after the social turn: easing science studies into the non­ modern in E. McMullin, ed., The Social Dimensions of Science. world', Notre Dame: Notre Dame Universit y Press, 1992, pp. 272-92. ix

8 D CRISIS Prolif eration 1.1 The of Hybrids newspaper, On page I learn four of my daily that the measurements taken year: are not good this layer is the Antarctic above the hole in the ozone larger. Reading on, I turn from growing ominously upper-atmosphere Chief Officers of Atochem and Monsanto, chemists to Executive their assembly lines in order to replace the companies that are modifying chlorofluorocarbons, accused of crimes against the ecosphere. innocent A few paragraphs I come across heads of state of majo r industrialized later, who are getting involved with refrigerators, aerosols countries chemistry, inert But at the end of the article, I discover that the and gases. 't agree with the chemists ; they're meteorologists don about talking cyclical unrelated to human activity. So now the industrial­ fluctuations what to do. The heads of state are also holding back. ists don't know Should we wait? Is it already too late? Toward the bottom of the page, Third World and ecologists add their grain of salt and talk countries international moratoriums, the rights of future gener­ about treaties, ations, and the right to development. same article mixes together chemical The and political reactions reactions. thread links the most esoteric sciences and the most A single politics, the most distant sky and some factory in the Lyon sordid suburbs, dangers on a global scale and the impending local elections or the next board The horizons, the stakes, the time frames, the meeting. - none actors is commensurable, yet there they are, caught up in of these the same story. On page six, I learn that the Paris AIDS virus contaminated the culture medium in Professor 's laboratory; that Mr Chirac and Mr Reagan Gallo had, however, of that sworn not to go back over the history solemnly

9 CRISIS 2 that the chemical ry is not moving fast enough to discovery; indust which militant organizations are vocally market medications patient in sub-Saharan Once is spreading demanding; that the epidemic Africa. of state, desperat e patients and heads again, chemists, biologists, caught up in a single uncertain story mixin g industrialists find themselves biology and society. page eight, there is a story about computers and chips controlled On nine, about to keep frozen embryos; ; on page the right by the Japanese a forest burning, its columns of smoke on page off ten, about carrying naturalists would like to protect; on page eleven, rare species that some are whales wearing collars fitted with radio there also tracking devices; on page eleven, is a slag heap in northern France, a symbol of the there of workers, that classified as an ecological exploitation has just been of the rare flora fostering! On page twelve, because it has been preserve the Fallopian tubes, the Pope, French bishops, Monsanto, and Texas gather in a strange cohort around a single contraceptive. fundamentalists fourteen, the number of lines on high-definition television bring On page Mr Delors, Thomson, the EEC, commissions on standardiz­ together the Japanese film producers. Change the ation, again, and television standard by a few lines, and billions screen millions of of francs, television sets, thousands of hours of film, hundreds of engineers and dozens of CEOs go down the drain. Fortunately, the paper a few restful pages that deal purely includes politics (a meeting Party), and there is also the literary with of the Radical novelists in the adventures of a few in which delight supplement ('I love you ... you don't') . We would be dizzy narcissistic egos without soothing features. For the others are multiplying, those hybrid these out imbroglios of science, politics, economy, law, articles that sketch technology, religion, If reading the daily paper is modern man's fiction. of prayer, is doing it is a very strange man indeed who form the then today while reading about these mixed-up affairs. All of culture praying get churned up again every and all of nature day. Yet no one seems to find this troubling. Headings like Economy, Politics, Science, Books, Culture, Religion and Local Events remain in place as if there nothing odd going on. The smallest AIDS virus were you from cultures, unconscious, then to Africa, tissue takes sex to the and San Francisco, thinkers, DNA journalists and but the analysts, decision-makers network traced by the virus for you will slice the delicate into tidy compartments where you will find only science, only economy, only phenomena, only local news, only sentiment, only sex. Press social the most innocent aerosol button and you'll be heading for the Antarctic, and from the University of California at Irvine, the mountain there to ranges to the the chemist ry of inert gases, and then maybe of Lyon,

10 RETYI l NG THE GORDIAN KNOT Nations, but this fragile thread will n into as many United be broke they seem to say, let segments By all means, are pure as there disciplines. justice and power. interest, Let us not mix up mix up knowledge, us not heaven and earth, scene, the human and the the global stage and the local imbroglios do the mixin g,' you'll say, 'they weave nonhuman. 'But these our world exist,' the analysts reply. They together!' 'Act as if they didn't Gordian is broken: with a well-honed sword. The shaft cut the have knot of things; on the right, power and on the left, they have put knowledge human politics. 1.2 Retying the Gordian Knot years or so, my For twenty and I have been studying these strange friends situations culture in which we live does not know that the intellectual orize. For lack of better we call ourselves sociologists, how to categ terms, political philosophers or anthropol­ economists, scientists, historians, venerable ogists. labels we always add a But to these disciplinary 'of science and technology'. 'Science studies', as Anglo­ qualifier: call it, or 'science, Americans and society'. Whatever label we technology are always to retie the Gordian knot by crisscrossing, use, we attempting as we have to, the divide that separates exact as often and the knowledge exercise of power - let us say nature and culture. Hybrids ourselves, installed lopsidedly within scientific institutions, half engineers and half philosophers, 'tiers instruits' 1991) without having sought the (Serres, we have chosen wherever they take us. T role, to follow the imbroglios o shuttle and forth, we rely on the notion of translation, or network. back supple than the notion of system, more historical than the notion More empirical the notion of structure, more of complexity, the idea of than is the Ariadne's of these interwoven stories. network thread remains incomprehensible, because it is segmented Yet our work into three components corresponding to our critics' habitual catego ries. They turn it into nature, politics or discourse. When Donald MacKenzie describes the inertial guidance system of intercontinental missiles 1990) ; when Michel Calion (MacKenzie, fuel (Calion, 1989) ; when Thomas Hughes describes cell electrodes the filament of Edison's incandescent describes (Hughes, 1983); lamp when I describe the anthrax bacterium modified by Louis Pasteur (Latour, 1988b) or Roger Guillemin's brain peptides (Latour and Woolgar, 1986) , the critics imagine that we are talking about [1979] science and technology. Since these are marginal topics, or at best manifestations instrumental and calculating thought, people who of pure no attention. in politics or in souls feel justified in paying are interested

11 CRISIS Yet this research not deal with nature or knowledge, with things-in­ does but with the way all these are tied to our collectives themselves, things instrumental and to subjects. We are talking thought not about but about of our societies. mobilizes the entire ance MacKenzie the very subst Congress, to talk about his inertial American Navy, and even guidance the French electric utility (EDF) and Renault as ; Calion mobilizes system of French energy well as great to grapple with changes in chunks policy at the tip in the depth of a laboratory ; Hughes ions of an electrode around n's filament of Ediso all America reconstructs the incandescent ; the whole society comes into view if one tugs on lamp of French bacteria; and it becomes impossible to understand Pasteur's brain peptides hooking them up with a scientific community, without - all impedimenta that bear resemblance instruments, practices very little theories of method, and neurons. to rules you're talking about politics ? You're simply 'But then surely reducing truth to mere political interests, and technical efficiency to mere scientific manreuvres ?' Here is the second strategical If the facts misunderstanding. do not occupy marginal and sacred place our worship the simultaneously them, it seems that they are imme diately reduced to has reserved for then local contingency and sterile machinations. pure studies are Yet science talking not about the social contexts and the interests of power, but about their involvement with collectives and objects. The Navy's organization is profoundly by the way its offices are allied with modified ; EDF and on a completely different look its bombs Renault take they invest combustion on whether in fuel cells or the internal depending before electricity and Americ a after are two different engine ; America context of the nineteenth century is altered according to the social places; it is made up of wretched souls or poor whether infected by people microbes; subje cts stretched out on 'the analyst's as for the unconscious we picture differently depending on whether their dry brain couch, them neurotransmitters or their moist is discharging is secreting brain hormones. None of our studies can reutilize what the sociologists, the psychologists or the economists tell us about the social context or about the subject in order to apply to the hard sciences - and this is why I them the word to describe the association of humans and will use 'collective' and 'society' to designate one part only of our collectives, the nonhumans invented by the social sciences. The context and the technical divide content out to be redefined every time. Just as epistemologists no turn longer recognize in the collectivized things we offer them the ideas, concepts or theories childhood, so the human sciences cannot be of their the power games of their militant adolescence in expected to recognize these collectives full of things we are lining up. The delicate networks traced by Ariadne's little hand remain more invisib le than spiderwebs.

12 5 THE CRITICAL STANCE CRISIS OF THE if you are not talking elves or about 'But about things-in-thems humans-a be talking just about dis­ mong-themselv must es, then you course, representation, texts, is the third s.' This language, rhetoric misunderstanding. off the external It is true that those who bracket of things - and the speaker - the pragmatic or social referent - the nature about context effects and language games. Yet - can talk only meaning examines guidance of inertial MacKenzie systems, he when the evolution arrangements that can kill us all; when Calion follows a is talking about in scientific articles, he is talking about industrial strategy trail set forth (Calion et al. , 1986); when Hughes analyzes Edison's as well as rhetoric the internal world Park is about to become the notebooks, of Menlo of all America 1983). world When I describe Pasteur's (Hughes, external I am mobilizing nineteenth-century society, of microbes, domestication of a great man's texts; when I describe the not just the semiotics invention-disc overy I am really talking about the of brain peptides, themselves, their representation in Professor Guille­ peptides not simply laboratory. Yet rhetoric, textual min's writing, staging, strategies, semiotics - all these are really at stake, but in a new form that has a simultaneous impact on the nature of things and on the social context, while it is not reducible other. to the one or the life is out of kilter. Epistemology, sciences, Our intellectual the social - all have privileged vantage point, provided of texts their the sciences If the creatures that they remain cross all three separate. we are pursuing we are no longer understood. Offer the established disciplines spaces, fine sociotechnological network, some some translations, and the lovely first group our concepts and pull out all the roots that might will extract them or to rhetoric; the second group will erase the connect to society and political dimensions, and purify our network social the of any object; third group, finally, will retain our discourse and rhetoric but purge our work of any undue adherence to reality - horresco referens - or to power plays. In the eyes of our critics the ozone our heads, the moral hole above the autonomous may each be of interest, but only law in our hearts, text, That a delicate shuttle should have separately. together the woven heavens, indust ry, texts, souls and moral law - this remains uncanny, unthinkable, unseemly. 1.3 The Crisis of the Critical Stance The critics developed three distinct approaches to talking about our have world: naturalization, socialization and deconstruction. Let us use E.O. Wilson, Pierre and Jacques Derrida - a bit unfairly - as Bourdieu, of figures of these three tacks. When the first speaks emblematic

13 CRISIS 6 phenomena, then subjects, and all forms of naturalized socrettes, the second speaks of fields then vanish. When discourse of power, and the contents of disappear. When texts, activities technology, science, the third then to believe in the real existence of speaks of truth effects, or power plays Each of would betray enormous naivete. brain neurons . forms these in itself but impossible to combine of criticism powerful is two. a study that would treat the the other with imagine Can anyone as ozone naturalized, hole and decon­ sociologized simultaneously structed ? A study in which the nature of the phenomena might be firmly established of power and the strategies would be predictable, but nothing at stake that project the pitiful illusions of a nature but meaning effects Such a patchwork would que. Our intellectual and a speaker? be grotes as long and recognizable as epistemologists, sociologists life remains at arm's length, the critique of each group deconstructionists remain of the other two. We may glorify the sciences, on the weaknesses feeding games or make fun of the belief in a reality, but we must not play power three caustic acids. mix these we cannot it both ways. Either the networks my colleagues have Now science studies and I have traced do not really exist, and the critics are in quite right them or segment them into three distinct to marginalize sets: facts, power and discourse; or the networks are as we have described them, and they do cross the borders of the great fiefdoms of criticism: they are neither nor social, nor are they effects of discourse, objective though they are and discursive. Either we have even real, and collective, of bad news, itself has to face a crisis we bearers or criticism to disappear, networks it cannot swallow. Yes, the scientific because are of these facts constructed, but they cannot be reduced to the social dimension indeed this dimension is populated by objects mobilized to because it. construct Yes, those are real but they look so much like social actors that objects cannot invented the reality 'out there' they by the be reduced to of science. of this double philosophers construction - science The agent with and society with science - emerges out of a set of practices society that the notion of deconstruction grasps as badly as possible. The ozone hole is too social to be truly natural; the strategy of and too narrated firms of state is too full of chemical reactions to be industrial and heads power and interest; the discourse of the ecosphere is too real reduced to to boil down and too social effects. Is it our fault if the to meaning networks simultaneously real, like nature, narrated, like discourse, are all collective, like society? Are we to pursue them while abandoning and of criticism, or are we to abandon them while endorsing the the resources common sense of the critical tripar tition? The tiny networks we have unfolded are torn like the Kurds by the Iranians, the Iraqis and the apart ar.d once night has fallen, they slip across borders to get married, Turks;

14 THE 7 THE CRITICAL STANCE CRISIS OF of a commo would be carved out of the three they dream n homeland that up. which them have ntries divided cou be a This would hopeless had anthropology not accustomed dilemma us to dealing with the seamless fabric of calmly and straigh tforwardly what call 'nature-culture' , since and a bit less than a I shall it is a bit more culture 4.5). she has been sent into the field, even the (see Section Once ethnographer is perfectly capable most together in rationalist of bringing the myths, ethnosciences, genealogi es, political a single monograph techniques, religions, epics and rites of the people she is studying. forms, her off to study the Arapesh or the A chuar, the Koreans or the Send and you will get a single narrative that weaves together the Chinese, way the heavens ancestors, the way they build houses regard people and their or manioc or rice, the way they construct and the way they grow yams and their cosmology. In works produced by anthropo­ their government logists abroad, you will not find a single trait that is not simultaneously and narrated. real, social is subtle, she will retrace networks that look exactly like If the analyst imbroglios when we pursue microbes, the sociotechnical that we outline or fuel cells in our own Western societies. We too are afraid that missiles the sky is falling. We too associate the tiny gesture an aerosol of releasing with spray pertaining to the heavens. We too have to take laws, taboos power and morality into account in order to understand what our sciences are telling chemistry of the upper atmosphere. us about the but we are not savages; no anthropologist us that way, Yes, studies our own or should I say nature­ to do with culture- and it is impossible elsewhere, with others. Why? Because cultu re? -what can be done we Our fabric is no longer seamless. Analytic continuit y has are modern. impossible. For traditional become there is not - there anthropologists, cannot should not be - an anthrop ology of the modern world be, there 1988a). The can be connected in part to society (Latour, ethnosciences (Conklin, 1983); science cannot. It is even and to discourse they because remain incapable of studying themselves in this way that ethnographers are so critical, and so distant, when they go off to the tropics to study others. The critical protects them because it authorizes them tripartition contin the communities of the premoderns. It is to reestablish uity among because they separate at home that ethnographers make only as so bold to unify abroad: The formulation of the dilemma is now modified . Either it is impossible to do an anthropological analysis of the modern world - and then is every reason to ignore those voices claiming to have a there homeland to offer the sociotechnological networks; or it is possible to do very an anthropological of the modern world - but then the analysis definition of the modern world has to be altered. We pass from a limited

15 CRISIS 8 - why do the networks elusive ? Why are science studies problem remain and more classical em: what does it mean to ignored ? - to a broader probl be we dig beneath of our When surprise at elders' modern? the surface our world, we discover the that the networks - as we see it - weave anthropologic Fortunately, we are al roots of that lack of understanding. ed by assist events that are burying the old critical mole being some major If the modern in its turn is becoming burrows. world in its own treatment, this is because something susceptible to anthropological has to it. Ever since Madame de Guermantes's salon, we have happened that it took known like the Great War for intellectual culture a cataclysm to change slightly and open its doors to the upstarts who had its habits beyond the pale before. been 1.4 1989: The Year of Miracles All dates 1989 is a little less so than some. For are conventional, but the fall of the Berlin Wall symbolizes the fall of today, everyone 'The triumph of liberalism, of capitalism, of the Western socialism. over hopes democracies of Marxi sm': such is the victory the vain issued who escaped Leninism by the skin of their communique by those While seeking to abolish man's teeth. of man, socialism had exploitation magnified that exploitation immeasurably. It is a strange dialectic that brings the exploiter back to life and buries the gravedigger, having given the world lessons civil war. The repressed returns, and with in large-scale the exploited people, name the avant-garde of the a vengeance: in whose becomes elites once again; the voracious had reigned, proletariat a people been have with return at full strength to take up that were to dispensed old work of exploitation in banks, businesses and factories. The their West liberal contain itself for joy.lt has won the Cold War. can hardly is short-lived. London and Amsterdam, this But the triumph In Paris, glorious year 1989 witnesses same on the global the first conferences state of the planet : for some observers they symbolize the end of capitalism and its vain hopes of unlimited conquest and total dominion over nature. to reorient man's exploitation of man toward an By seeking of nature capitalism magnified both beyond exploitation by man, The repressed returns, and with a vengeance: measure. the multitudes that were supposed to be saved from death fall back into poverty by the hundreds of millions; nature, over which we were supposed to gain absolute dominates us in an equally global fashion, and mastery, threatens us all. It is a strange dialectic that turns the slave into man's owner and master, and that suddenly informs us that we have invented ecocides as well as large-scale famine.

16 1989: THE OF MIRACLES YEAR 9 The perfect the dismantling of the wall of shame symmetry between and the end of li mitless the rich Western invisi ble only to Nature is manifestations destroyed both various democracies. The of socialism their whereas the powers of the North and and their peoples ecosystems, been able to save their peoples the West some of their have and by destroying and reducing its peoples countrysides the rest of the world Hence socialist tragedy: the former poverty. societies to abject a double their problems by imitating the West; the West think they can solve both it has escaped both problems and believes it has lessons for others thinks as it leaves even to die. The West thinks it is the the Earth and its people of the clever trick it to keep on winning sole possessor that will allow lost everything. it has perhaps already indefinitely, whereas the best of intentions go doubly awry, we moderns from After seeing seem to have lost some of our self-confidence. Should world the Western not have tried to put an end to man's exploitation of man? Should we we have not to become nature's masters and owners ? Our noblest tried were missions, in the service of these twin virtues one in the enlisted arena and the other in the domain of science and technology. political Yet we are prepared back on our enthusiastic and right-th inking to look youth as young Germans look to their greying parents and ask: 'What criminal orders we say that we didn't know ?' did we follow?' 'Will about the well-foundedness pushes This doubt of the best of intentions reactionaries, We must no of us to become in one of two ways. some domination of man, say some longer try to put an end to man's ; we must dominate nature, say others. Let us be resolutely no longer try to they all say. antimodern, a different vantage point, the vague expression of postmodern­ From sums both scepticism of those who reject ism aptly up the incomplete Unable the dual promises reactions. of socialism and to believe alism', 'natur are also careful not to reject them totally. the postmoderns They remain suspended between belief and doubt, waiting for the end of the millennium. Finally, who reject ecological obscurantism or antisocialist those and to settle for the scepticism of the obscurantism, are unable decide to carry on as if nothing had changed: postmoderns, they intend to remain resolutely modern. They continue to believe in the promises of the sciences, or in those of emancipation, or both. Yet their faith in modernization rings quite true in art, or economics, or politics, no longer or science, or technology. In art galleries and concert halls, along the fa�ades buildings and inside international organizations, of apartment you can feel that the heart is gone. The will to be modern seems hesitant, sometimes outmoded. even

17 RISIS C 10 we are antimodern, modern we are all called Whether or postmodern, of the miraculous year But we into question by the double debacle 1989. take up the the year precisely to be a consider threads of thought if we double admirable symmetry allows us to look two debacle, lessons whose past in a new light. at our whole And what modern? been anthropology if we had never Comparative The networks have a place of their own. then be possible. would would it Mean To Be a Modem? 1.5 What Does in as many versions as there are thinkers or journa lists, comes Modernity point, yet all its definitions to the passage of time. in one way or another, The adjective design ates a new regime, an acceleration, a rupture, 'modem' in time. When 'modern', 'modernization', or a revolution the word are defining, and stable an archaic appears, we 'modernity' by contrast, word being thrown into the middle of a past. Furthermore, the is always in a quarrel where there are winners fight, Ancients and and losers, Moderns. is thus doubly asymmetrical: it designates a break in 'Modern' passage a combat and it designates the regular in which there are of time, and vanqu ished. If so many of our contemporaries are reluctant victors to use this adjective today, if we qualif y it with prepositions, it is because we feel less confident in our ability asymmetry: to maintain that double point to time's irreversible nor can we award a we can no longer arrow, In the countless Ancients and to the winners. quarrels between prize come out winners as often as the latter Moderns, and the former now, allows us to say whether revolutions finish off the old regimes or nothing them to bring Hence the scepticism that is oddly called fruition. 'post'modern though it does not know whether or not it is capable even over from of taking the Moderns. a few steps: we have to rethink the definition To go back of modernity, interpret the symptom of postmodernity, and understand why we are no longer committed heart and soul to the double task of domination and emancipation. To make the networks of sciences and a place for do we and earth have to move heaven technologies, ? Yes, exactly, really the Heavens and the Earth. The hypothesis of this essay is that the word 'modern' designates two sets of entirely different practices which must remain distinct if they are to remain but have recently begun to be confused. The first set effective, new types practices, by 'translation', creates mixtures between entirely of hybrids of nature and culture. The second, by 'purification', of beings, on two entirely distinct ontological zones: that of human beings creates

18 WHAT II DOES IT MEAN TO BE A MODERN? nonhumans the one hand; the first set, the on the other. that of Without would or pointless. Without the of purification practices be fruitless second, would be slowed down, limited, the work of translation or even ruled I have called networks; the out. The first set corresponds to what second to what call the modern critical stance. The first, for I shall would link in one continuous chain the chemistry of the upper example, scientific atmosphere, of and industrial strategies, the preoccupations the anxieties a the second would establish of state, heads of ecologists; between a world that has always been there, a society partition natural predictable and stable interests and stakes, and a discourse that is with of both reference independent and society. First dichotomy ans ��m o ��� H�����s u OF WORK PURIFICATION 2 O WORK OF TRANSLATION Hybrids Networks and translation Figure Purification 1.1 these two practices and purification So long as we consider of translation we are truly - that is, we willingly subscribe to the separately, modern project, even though that project is developed only through the critical proliferation of hybrids below. As soon as we direct our attention down to the work of hybridiza­ and the work simultaneously of purification we immedi tion, stop being wholly modern, and our future begins to ately change. At the same time we stop having been modern, because we become retrospectively two sets of practices have always aware that the been past in the historical period that is ending. Our already at work begins Finally, if we have never been modern - at least in the to change. way criticism tells the story - the tortuous relations that we have maintained the other nature-cultures would also be transformed. with Relativism, domination, imperialism, false consciousness, syncretism - all the problems that anthropologists summarize under the loose

19 CRISIS 12 Divide' - be explained differently, thereby expression of 'Great would anthropology. modifying comparative mediation there between of translation or work and link the What is This is that question on which I should like to shed of purification? the My light. which remains too crude - is that hypothesi second has s- the made possible: the more we forbid ourselves to conceive of the first becomes such interbreeding is the hybrids, the more possible their - situation the of the exceptional moderns, in which we paradox which find today allows us finally to grasp. The second question has ourselves to premoderns, with the other types of culture. My hypothesis - do with again too that by devoting themselves to conceiving of once simple - is proliferation. the have excluded their cultures It is this hybrids, other that would explain the Great Divide disparity - all the between Them other - and Us - the westerners - and would make it cultures possible finally solve the insoluble to of relativism. The third question problem has to do with the current crisis: if modernity were so effective in its dual task of and proliferation, why would it weaken itself today by separation us from being truly ? Hence the final question, which preventing modern being the most one : if we have stopped also modern, if we can is difficult longer separate the work of proliferation from the work of no what are we going to become? Can we aspire to purification, without the My hypothesis - which, like Enlightenment modernity? are ones, coarse previous is that we is too going to have to slow down, - reorient and regulate the proliferation of monsters by representing their existence officially. a different democracy become necessary ? A Will extended questions, things? To answer these democracy I shall have to to and out premoderns, the moderns, sort even the postmoderns in the order to distinguish between their durable characteristics and their lethal ones. Too questions, as I am many an essay that has no well aware, for excuse but its brevity. Nietzsche said that the big problems were like cold as baths: have to get out you fast as you got in.

20 2 D CONSTITUTION 2.1 The Modem Constitution often Modernity terms of humanism, either as a way of defined is in death. of a way of announcing his or as But this the birth saluting 'man' modern, because it remains asymmetrical. It overlooks the habit itself is of 'nonhumanity' simultaneous or objects, or beasts - and birth - things, strange God, of a crossed-out equally relegated to the the beginning Modernity first from the conjoined creation of those sidelines. arises entities, and three from the masking of the conjoined birth and the then separate of the three communities while, underneath, hybrids treatment separate to effect of this as an treatment. The double continue multiply is what we have to reconstruct: the separation between separation and the one on humans hand, and between what happens nonhumans and 'below' happens 'above' on the other. what These separations be compared to the division that distinguishes could the judiciary from the executive branch of a government. This division is powerless to account for multiple links, the intersecting influences, the continual negotiations judges and politicians. Yet it would the between the mistake a the effectiveness of to separation. The modern be deny between the natural world and the divide world has the same social constitutional with one difference: up to now, no one has character, on the task of studying scientists and politicians in tandem, since taken no central vantage point has seemed to exist. In one sense, the fundamental articles of pertaining to the double separation have faith separation so been up that this well has been viewed as a double drawn ontological distinction. As soon as one outlines the symmetrical space and reestablishes the common understanding that organizes the thereby separation of natural and political powers, one ceases to be modern. ll

21 CONSTITUTION ... text that defines this understanding is The common and this separation called amendments to the we talk about a constitution, as when is drafting a text? For political Who American such constitution. constitutions, but so far the task falls to jurists and Founding Fathers, they of the work, since they have left out both a third have done only the work of hybrids scientific of things, it is the power and . For the nature task, done only another third of the work, since scientists' but they have to forget power, pretended and they have denied they have about political have any even as they multiply them. For the that hybrids role to play work writing the constitution is the task of those who of translation, study strange networks that I have outlined above, but science those have fulfilled only of their contract, since they do not students half and of purification is carried out above them the work explain that the proliferation of hybrids. accounts for is to write the full constitution? As far as foreign Who are collectives concerned, has been pretty good at tackling everything at anthropology In fact, seen, once. every ethnologist is capable of including as we have a single monograph the definition of the forces in play; the within distribution of powers among human beings, gods, and nonhumans; the procedures for reaching the connections between religion agreements; ancestors; cosmology; property plant and ani mal and power; rights; ethnologist not write three certainly The separate taxonomies. will with another with power, yet another books: one dealing knowledge, practices. She will write a single book, like the magnificent with one in which Descola attempts to sum up the constitution of the Philippe of the Amazon 1993): (Descola, [1986] Achuar region have not completely by the symbolic Yet the Achuar subdued nature of domesticity. networks the cultural sphere is all-encompassing, Granted, since in it we find animals, plants and spirits which other Amerindian societies place in the realm of nature. The Achuar do not, therefore, share this antinomy between opposed worlds: the two closed and irremediably world of human world of animal society. cultural society and the natural And yet there is nevertheless a certain point at which the continuum of breaks down, yielding to a wild world inexorably foreign sociability to humans. smaller than the realm of culture, this little piece of Incomparably the set of things with which communication cannot be nature includes established. Opposite beings endowed with language [aents], of which humans stand those things deprived of are the most perfect incarnation, speech that inhabit parallel, inaccessible worlds. The inability to communi­ cate is often ascribed to a lack of soul [wakan] that affects certain living species: and numerous plants, which thus most insects and fish, poultry, lead a mechanical, inconsequential existence. But the absence of communi­ cation is sometimes due to distance: the souls of stars and meteors,

22 BOYLE AND HIS OBJECTS IS far away mobile, remain deaf to human words. infinitely prodigiously and 99 ] [p. 3 of the modern world were to exist its task would If anthropology an the in same way how all the branches of our in consist describing organized, including that of nature and the hard sciences, government are explaining in and why these branches diver g e as well as and how the bring arrangements that for them together. The accounting multiple position our of take up her world at the common locus ethnologist must roles, actions and abilities are distributed - those that make it where to possible one entity as animal or material and another as a free define one as with consciousness, another as mechanical, and agent; endowed unconscious and Our ethnologist must even another as incompetent. still always different ways of compare - or not defining - matter, the defining consciousness and animals' souls, without using modern metaphys­ law, as a vantage point. Just as the ics of jurists defines the rights constitution and of citizens and the State, the working of justice and the duties so I shall Constitution - which transfer of power, spell with a capital this ones to it from the political C - defines humans and distinguish nonhumans, their properties and their relations, their abilities and their groupings. How this Constitution be described? I have chosen to concentrate can an exemplary situation that arose the very beginning of its drafting, on at middle when the seventeenth century, the the natural philosopher in of the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes were arguing Robert Boyle and the distribution of scientific and political power. over a choice Such might arbitrary if a remarkable book had not just come to grips appear double context of a social with this and a nature that escapes creation and very I shall use Boyle that Hobbes, along with their context. descendants and disciples, as a way of summarizing a much longer story - one that retrace here but one that others, better equipped than I cannot to I, may want pursue. 2.2 Boyle and His Objects book by Steven Shapin and Simon Schaf fer (Shapin A Schaff er, and 1985) the real beginning marks a comparative anthropology that takes of science seriously. At first glance, this book does nothing more than exemplify has been the slogan of the Edinburgh school of science what studies (Barnes and Shapin, 1979; Bloor, [1976] 1991) and of a great the body work in the social history of science (Shapin, 1982) and in of sociology of knowledge (Moscovici, 1977): 'questions of epistemology are

23 CONSTITUTION 16 questions of order'. It is impossible to do justice to either also social question ted, one assigned to departments of the two if are separa sociolog philosophy ments of y or political science. the and depart other to But Scha ffer push this general programme to Shapin limit - first and the displacing by beginning this very divide between the of historical sociology, and second, in epistemology unwittingly, by ruining and part given to the social context in explaining the sciences. the privilege referred We have not happens solely outside of to politics as something that science so to speak, press in upon it. The experimental and which can, [set up by Boyle] vigorously developed such community and deployed gh boundary-speech, t to situate this speech historically and we have sou developed. and to explain ways of talking why these conventionalized What we cannot do if we want to be serious about the historical nature of our inquiry is to use such actors' speech unthinkingly as an explanatory that transports resource. outside of science is The language politics what we need to understand and explain. We find ourselves precisely standing against much current sentiment in the history of science that holds and 'outsides' of science, that we should have less talk of the 'insides' that we have transcended categories. Far from it; we have not such outmoded the issues involved. We still need to understand yet begun to understand how, as a matter of historical how such boundary-conventions developed: record, actors allocated items with respect to their boundaries scientific with respect to the (not ours), and how, as a matter of record, they behaved items thus allocated. Nor should we take any one system as of boundaries self-evidently and (Shapin belonging to the thing that is called 'science.' Schaffer, 85, p. 342) 1 9 In this long passage the authors do not show how the social context of England might y the development of Boyle's physics and the failure justif Hobbes's mathematical theories. They to grips with the very of come from works Boyle's scientific Far basis of political philosophy. 'situating social context' their how politics 'presses in upon' scientific in or showing examine how Boyle and Hobbes fought to invent a doctrines, they a science, and a demarcation between the two. They are not context, to explain the since by the context, prepared neither existed in content reached new before Boyle and Hobbes this their respective goals and way settled their dif ferences. The beauty Shapin and Schaffer's book stems from their success in of Hobbes's - works unearthing which had been neglected by scientific political because they were embarrassed by the wild mathematical scientists, imaginings of their hero - and in rescuing from oblivion Boyle's political historians theories had been neglected by which of science because they - preferred to conceal their hero's organizational eff orts. Instead of setting up science an instead of distributing asymmetry, to Boyle and political theory

24 BOYLE AND HIS OBJECTS 17 to and Schaf fer outline a rather nice quadrant: Boyle has Hobbes, Shapin and a theory; Hobbes has a political theory and a a science political The quadrant science. if the uninter of our two esting ideas would be were far heroes were after one a philosopher too apart - example, for if, of Paracelsus and the other a Bodin-style lawmaker. But by the fashion fortune, they on almost everything. They want a king, a good agree and are fervent subscribers a docile Parliament, unified Church, and they philosophy. But even though both are thoroughgoing to mechanistic opinions as their to what can be expected from diverge rationalists, scientific reasoning, from political argument - , from experimentation all from the and above pump, the real hero of the story. The air disagreements the two men, who agree on everything else, make between the ideal material, the perfect fruit flies for the new them laboratory anthropology. carefully refrained talking about vacuum pumps. Boyle put To from discovery into debates that followed the order of the Toricellian some the at the top of a mercury tube inverted in a basin of space same the substance, claimed to be investigating only the weight of the air he taking vacuists. The in the dispute between plenists and without sides he Otto (modelled on apparatus von Guericke's) that would developed evacuate the air from a transparent glass container was, for permanently the period - in terms of cost, complication and novelty - the equivalent of a major equipment in contemporary physics. This was already piece of Science. The great advantage Boyle's installations was that they Big of to possible the glass walls and inside introduce or even it to see made owing to a series of manipulate constructed lock samples, ingeniously and The pistons of the covers. the thick glass containers chambers pump, the gaskets were not of adequate quality, and Boyle had to push so technological research enough, for instance, to be able to carry out far experiment cared about most: that of the vacuum within a the he He enclosed a Torricelli tube within the vacuum. glass enclosure pump's and thus an initial space at obtained top of the overturned tube. the Then, by getting one of his technicians (who were invisible [Shapin, 19 89] the pump, he suppressed the weight of the air enough to ) to work descended down the column, which of nearly to the level bring the level the mercury in the basin. of undertook dozens of experiments Boyle within confined chamber of his air the starting with attempts to pump, detect the ether wind postulated by his adversaries, or to explain the cohesiveness of cylinders, or to suffocate small animals and put marble by out these experiments were later popularized - eighteenth­ candles century parlour physics. While a dozen civil wars were raging, Boyle chose a method of was argument that of opinion - that - held in contempt by the oldest

25 CONSTITUTION 18 Boyle and his colleagues the certainties scholastic tradition. abandoned reasoning of of a doxa. This doxa was not the raving in apodeictic favour masses, a new mechanism for winning the credulous but imagination of one's peers. Instead of seeking to ground his the in logic, support of work rhetoric, relied on a Boyle metaphor: mathematics or parajuridical credible, witnesses gathered at the trustworthy, of the well-to-do scene action to the existence of a fact, the matter of fact, even if they can attest know empirical true nature. So he invented the not style that we do its (Shapin, 19 84). still use today Boyle opinion, these did 's seek but rather their not gentlemen observation a phenomenon produced artificially in the closed and of protected of a laborat ory (Shapin, 19 90) . Ironically, the key space of the constructivists are facts thoroughly constructed in the question - ? (Woolgar, raised - is precisely the question that Boyle ory laborat 1988) in Yes, facts are indeed constructed resolved. the new installation and the the laboratory and through the artificial intermediary of the air of pump. The level does descend the Torricelli tube that has been inserted into in transparent of a pump operated by breathless technicians. the enclosure 'Facts are fabricated,' as Gaston 'Les fa its sont fa its': would Bachelard say. But facts that have been are by man artifactual for that constructed reason ? No : for Boyle, just like Hobbes, extends God's 'constructivism' to man. knows things because He creates them (Funkenstein, 19 86). God know the of the facts because we have developed them in We nature are under our complete control. Our weakness circumstances that that we limit knowledge to the instrumen­ becomes a strength, provided nature of the facts and leave aside the interpretation of causes. talized again, turns Once a flaw -w e produce only matters of fact that are Boyle in decisive and have only local value - into a created laboratories these be will never advantage: modified, whatever may happen facts elsewhere theory, metaphysics, religion, politics or logic. in 1.3 Hobbes and His Subjects Hobbes rejected Boyle's entire theatre of proof. Like Boyle, Hobbes too wanted to end to the civil war; he too wanted to abandon free bring an and of on the part of clerics Bible the people alike. But interpretation the meant to reach his goal he a unification of the Body Politic. The by Sovereign by the contract, 'that created to which we owe, Mortall God, under the Immortal God, our peace and defence' (Hobbes, [16 51 ] 19 47, p. 89), representative of the multitude. only the it is the Uni is 'For of ty of the Represented, that maketh the Representer, not the Uni the ty obsessed Person (p. 85). Hobbes was One' by the unity of the Person who

26 19 HOBBES AND HIS SUBjECTS as he puts the is, it, It is Authors. the are citizens Actor we of which wars unity can be no transcendence. Civil there will this that because of as there exist supernatural entities that citizens rage they have as long feel the this of authorities persecuted by petition are they when right a to The loyalty of the old medieval society - to God lower King - world. and no possible if all people can petition God directly, or designate is longer of King. to wipe the slate clean wanted all appeals to own Hobbes their than civil authority. He entities to rediscover Catholic unity higher wanted at same time closing off the access to divine transcendence. while any Hobbes, Power For Knowledge, which amounts to saying that there is can only one and only one Power if civil wars are to be exist Knowledge of an is why the major portion This Leviathan is devoted to end. brought exegesis of the Old and New Testaments. to of the great dangers an One civil comes from the belief peace immaterial bodies such as spirits, for in or souls, phantoms which people appeal against the judgements of to civil Antigone might be dangerous when she proclaims the power. e'; of Creon's 'reasons of Stat over the egalitarians, the superiority piety and the Diggers are much Levellers so when they invoke the active more powers matter and the of the Bible in order to free interpretation of disobey their legitimate princes. Inert and mechanical matter is as essential to peace as a purely symbolic interpretation of the Bible. In civil cases, it to avoid at all costs the possibilit y that the both behoves us - Nature God - which the Entity factions may invoke a higher or not fully control. Sovereign does does a totalitarian to reductionism State, since Hobbes not lead This is applies Republic itself: the Sovereign to never anything but an it the designated by the social contract. There Actor no divine law or higher is agency the Sovereign might invoke in order to act as he wishes and that the In this new regime in which Knowledge equals dismantle Leviathan. everything is cut down to size : the Sovereign, God, matter, and Power, the even rules out turning his multitude. Hobbes science of the State own into an invocation of.t ranscendence. He arrives at all his scientific results not by observation or revelation but by a mathematical opinion, the method of argument capable of compelling demonstration, only assent; and he accomplishes this demonstration not by everyone's making transcendental like Plato's King, but by using a calculations, computational instrument, the Mechanical Brain, a computer purely before its time. Even the famous social contract is only the sum of a calculation reached and simultaneously by all the terrorized abruptly themselves who seeking to liberate citizens from the state of nature. are Such is Hobbes's generalized constructivism designed to end civil war: no to transcendence no recourse to God, or to active matter, or whatsoever, Power by Divine Right, or even to mathematical Ideas.

27 ON CON STITUTI 20 the elements now in place for the confrontation between All are Boyle. Hobbes has reduced and reunified the Body After and Hobbes the up Society to divide everything comes again: Politic, along Royal some in to have an independent opinion, proclaim a the gentlemen right closed laboratory, over which the State has no control. And space, the when troublema these themselve it is not on the s in agreement, kers find basis mathematical that everyone would be compel­ of a demonstration led to on the basis of experiments observed by the deceptive accept, but senses, experiments that remain inexplicable and inconclusive. Worse this new coterie chooses to concentrate its work still, an air pump that on once again immat erial bodies, the vacuum - as if Hobbes had produces had enough getting rid of phantoms and spirits! And here we not trouble Hobbes war right in the middle of a civil again, ! We are no are worries, the to to the Levellers and subjected Diggers, who challenged longer be King's authority in the name of their the interpretation of God personal and the properties of matter (they have been properly exte rminated), of who we going to have to put up but this new clique of scholars are with are to start challenging ever going authority in the name of Nature yone's by invoking wholly fabricated laboratory events ! If you allow experi­ ments to their own matters of fact, and if these allow the produce to be into the air pump and, from there, into natural vacuum infiltrated you divide authority again: the immaterial spirits then will philosophy, everyone to revolt by offering will court of appeal for incite a Knowledge and Power will be separated once more. You frustrations. 'see double', as Hobbes put it. Such are will warnings he addresses to the the King denouncing the goings-on of the Royal Society. in Mediation of the Laboratory 2.4 The interpretation of Hobbes's This does not suffice to make political plenism and Schaffer's book a solid Shapin comparative anthro­ foundation for pology. good historian of ideas could have Any the same job. But in done three decisive chapters our authors leave the confines of intellectual history and from the world of opinions and argument to the world pass practices ideas networks. For the first time in science studies, all of and to King, the pertaining Matter, Miracles and Morality are God, translated, and forced to pass through the practice of transcribed, making an instrument work. Before Shapin and Scha ffer, other historians of science studied scientific practice; other historians had studied the had science. political cultural context of religious, No one, before Shapin and and Scha ffer, had been capable of doing both at once. Just Boyle succeeds in transforming his tinkering about with a jerry­ as built air facts into the partial assent of gentlemen with respect to pump

28 LA 21 MEDIATION OF THE BORATORY THE have become so Shapin and Scha ffer manage to explain that indisputable, how why with the Body Politic, God and His discussions and dealing power, to be translated through the air its have miracles, matter and has never been cleared pump. by those seeking a This mystery up for the sciences. Contextualists start from the explanation contextualist a social macro-context exists principle England, the dynastic that - Capitalism, Revolution, Merchants, Church - and that this quarrel, the some influences, forms, reflects, has repercussions for, in way context pressure on 'ideas about' matter, the air's and vacuums, exercises spring, Torricelli But they never explain tubes. prior establishment of a and the connecting God, link King, Parliament, and some bird suffocating in the the closed chamber of a pump whose air is being removed by transparent by a How can the bird's means of a crank operated technician. displace, distort all the other con­ translate, transport, experience such a way troversies, master the pump also master the in that those who conte xt? King, God, and the entire indeed seeks to get round everything that has to do with Hobbes work, the Boyle forces experimental discussion to proceed by way of but set his sordid details involving the leaks, gaskets and cranks of a of In philosophers same way, machine. of science and historians of ideas the like to avoid the world of the laboratory, that repugnant kitchen would in which concepts are smothered with trivia (Cunningham and Williams, 19 92; 19 81; Latour and Woolgar, [1979] 19 86; Pickering, 19 92; Knorr, 19 88). and Schaf fer force their analyses to hinge on the Traweek, Shapin a certain in a particular gasket on the air pump. The practice object, leak, it is to the dominant place fabricating objects had lost with of restored modern critical stance. Their book is not empirical simply because the of its details; it is empirical because it undertakes the archaeology abundant in that that is born object the seventeenth century in the of new Shapin and Schaf fer, like Ian laboratory. (Hacking, 19 83), do in Hacking of way what philosophers quasi-ethnographic science now do scarcely a at all: they show the realistic foundations of the sciences. But rather than speaking of reality 'out there', they anchor the indisputable the external of 'down there', on the bench. reality science don 't go very well. The pump leaks. It has to The experiments be patched Those who are incapable of explaining the irruption of up. collective, along with all the manipulations and objects into the human practices that objects require, are not anthropologists, for what has constituted the fundamental aspect of our culture, since Boyle's most eludes them: day, live in communities whose social bond comes from we objects fabricated in laboratories; ideas have been replaced by practices, apodeictic by a controlled doxa, and universal agreement by reasoning groups recover colleagues. The lovely order that Hobbes was trying to of

29 CONSTITUTION n annihilated by the of private spaces where the multiplication is origin is proclaimed - facts that have been of transcendental facts no yet man one's handiwork, facts that have are fabricated by no can be explained. yet causality a society Hobbes How asks can peacefully, together to made be hold t indignantly, on foundation matters of fact? He is pathetic he of by the relative change in the scale of phenomena. particularly annoyed Boyle, the to questions concerning matter and divine According big can subjec ted to experimental resolution, and this resolution power be be partial and modest. Now Hobbes rejects the possibility of will the vacuum ontological and political reasons of primary philosophy, and for continues to existence of an invisible ether that must be he allege the when of worker is too out even breath to operate his present, Boyle's macroscopic other he demands a words, response to his pump. In guments, a demonstration that would prove that his 'macro-'ar ontology is necessary, that the vacuum is politically acceptable. Now what not do in He choose s, on the contrary, to make his does Boyle response? more sophisticated, to show the effect on experiment - a mere a detector chicken - of the ether wind postulated feather! Hobbes in the hope of by invalidating his detractor's theory (Shapin and Schaf fer, 19 85, p. 18 2). Ridiculous! Hobbes a fundamental problem of political philosophy, raises are to refuted by a feather in a glass chamber inside and his theories be Of at the feather doesn't move mansion! all, and Boyle Boyle's course, is conclusion Hobbes is wrong, that there that no ether wind. draws the cannot be wrong, because he refuses However, Hobbes admit that the to phenomenon is talking about can be produced on a scale other than he essential of Republic as a whole. He that what is to become the the denies characteristic modern power: the change of scale and the displace­ in ments that are presupposed by laboratory work (Latour, 1983). Boyle, a new Puss now has only to pounce on the Ogre, who has just in Boots, reduced the size of a mouse. been to The Test imony of Nonhumans 1.5 is judgement, Against Hobbes's Boyle's innovation he takes striking. law of possession repertoire of penal the and biblical exegesis, but he old does so in order to apply them to the testimony of the things put to the test the laboratory. As Shapin and Schaf fer write: in Sprat and Boyle appealed to 'the practice of our courts of justice here in England' the moral certainty of their conclusions and to support to sustain of argument that the multiplication of wimesses allowed 'a concurrence the

30 THE TESTIMONY OF NONHUMAN$ 23 probabilities such .' of Clarendon's 1661 Treason the provision used Boyle he Act, in which, to convict. necessary were two witnesses So the legal said, and were fundamental through of authority models priestly witnessing resources facto the for the experimenters. Reliable witnesses were ipso Papists, atheists, and sectaries community: of a trustworthy members challenged, the social status of a witness sustained his found their stories of many credibility, put the extremists and the concurring voices witnesses the basis once again, he challenged to flight. Hobbes of this practice: sustained witnessing as an ineffective and displayed the form of life that and Schaffer, (Shapin enterprise. subversive 1985, p. 327) Boyle's repertoire does first glance, contribute much that is new. At not jurists and scribes had been Scholars, monks, all those developing resources a millennium and more. What is new, however, is their for of application. the witnesses had always been human or point Earlier, by - never had been written The texts men or inspired divine nonhuman. God - never inspired or written by nonhumans. The law courts had by countless divine and seen trials come and go - never affairs that human into laboratory the behaviour of nonhumans in a called question into Yet of justice. transformed for Boyle, laboratory experiments a court more authority than unconfirmed depositions by honourable carry witnesses: 'The pressure of the water experiment' [on the diver's bell] in our recited manif est effects inanimate bodies, which are not capable of having upon us partial will have much more or giving informations, prepossessions, unprejudiced persons, than the suspicious, weight sometimes with and accounts of ignorant divers, whom prejudicate opinions may disagreeing sway, and whose very sensations, as those of other vulgar much may men, be influenced and so many other circumstances, that by predispositions, may give occasion to mistakes.' [Shapin and Schaffer, 1985, they easily p. 218] in Boyle's text we witness the Here of a new actor intervention recognized the new Constitution: inert by incapable of will and bodies, bias but capable of showing, signing, writing, and scribbling on laborat ory before trustworthy witnesses. These nonhumans, instruments even souls with meaning, are endowed more reliable than lacking but mortals, to whom will is attributed ordinary who lack the capacity to but indicate in a reliable way. phenomena to the Constitution, in According Endowed of doubt, humans are better off appealing to nonhumans. case with new semiotic powers, the their contribute to a new form of latter text, the experimental science article, a hybrid between the age-old style previously of exegesis - which has biblical been applied only to the

31 CONSTITUTION 24 - and the new instrument that produces Scriptures and classical texts new will pursue their point on, witnesses inscriptions. From this discussions its enclosed space, in about discussions the around air pump the meani ngful nonhumans. The old hermeneutics will behaviour of shaky signature parchments scientific persist, the of to its will but it add and De Noblet, 1985; instruments and Fyfe, 1988; Lynch (Latour Law Woolgar, 19 . With a law court thus renewed, all the other powers and 90) overthrown, makes this is what be Hobbes so upset; however, will and connections is only if all possible with the political and the overturning branches of religious become impossible. government Shapin Scha ffer pursue their discussion of objects, laboratories, and and changes scale to its ex of consequences. science is treme If capacities, ideas but on based if it is located not outside but inside not on a practice, transparent chamber of the air pump, and if it takes place within the the space community, the experimental private then how does it reach of e'? How it become as universal as 'Boyle's laws' or 'everywher does law s'? The answer is that it never become universal - not, at 'Newton's in the epistemologists' terms! Its network is extended and least, expansion is brilliantly demonstrated in a chapter which, stabilized. This like the work of Harry Collins (Collins, 19 85) or Trevor Pinch (Pinch, 19 86) fers a striking example of the fruitfulness of the new science of following the of each prototype air pump studies. By reproduction and a transformation of Europe, piece of throughout the progressive not reliable and quite cumbersome equipment, into a cheap costly, very box that gradually becomes standard equipment in every labora­ black the bring tory, the universal application of a law of physics back authors a of standardized practices. Unquestionably, Boyle's within network of the air's spring is propagated - but its interpretation of speed propagation exactly equivalent to the is at which the community of rate experimenters and their equipment develop. No science can exit from the network of practice. The weight of air is indeed always a universal, its a universal a network. Owing to the extension of this network, in but and equipment can become sufficiently routine for produc­ competences air tion vacuum to become as invisible as the the we breathe; but of universal in the old sense? Never. 2.6 The Double Artifact of the Laboratory and the Leviathan How does the symmetry hold between Hobbes's invention and far Boyl e's ? Shapin and Schaf fer are not clear on this point. At first sight, chief however, seems that Hobbes and his disciples created the it resources that are available to us for speaking about power ('representa-

32 DOUBLE ARTIFACT: LABORATORY LEVIATHAN 25 AND 'sover eign tion', ', his Boyle and while ns'), , 'citize 'contract', 'property' developed successors e major repertoires for speaking about of one th '). nature 'colleagues ('e It should xperiment', seem thus 'evidence', 'fact', dealing not with two clear that we inventions but with also are separate a division of power between the two protagonists, to Hobbes, only one, sciences. This, however, is not the the politics Boyle, the and to conclusion by Scha ffer. After having and the stroke of drawn Shapin had led them to compare genius experimental practice and political that the of major figures from the very two of the modern organization beginning they back off and hesitate to treat Hobbes and his politics in era, the same way as they treated Boyle and his science. Strangely enough, had seem to more steadfastly to the political repertoire than to they adhere one. scientific the and Schaf fer unintentionally displace the traditional centre Shapin Yet of If modern critique downward. reference science is based on of the of practices, laboratories and networks, then where is it to be forms life, ? Certainly not on the side situated things-in-themselves, since the facts of are But it cannot be situated, either, on the side of the subject fabricated. or : society, name one wants to give this side whatever brain, spirit, - language epistemes or culture. The suffocating bird, the marble game, cylinders, descending mercury are not our own creations, they are not the made out of thin air, not of social relations, not of human categories. Must we place the practice of science right in the middle of the line then connects the Obj Pole to the Subject Pole? Is this practice a that ect a mixture it the two ? Part object and part subject? Or is or hybrid, of both invent to for this strange generation of a new a necessary position context and a scientific content? political do not give us a definitive answer to these questions as The authors if they failed to do jus tice to their own discoyery. Just as Hobbes and had agree experiments, everything except how to carry out Boyle the on who on how on everything, disagree authors, to deal with the agree context - that is, Hobbes's symmetrical invention of a human 'social' capable of being represented. The last chapters of the book waver between a explanation of the authors' own work and a Hobbesian point view. This tension only makes their work more Boylian of and it supplies the anthropology of science with a new line of interesting, and ideally flies, since they differ by only a few traits. Shapin fruit suited Scha ffer consider Hobbes's macro-social explanations relative to Boyle's science more convincing than Boyle's arguments refuting Hobbes! Trained in framework of the social study of sciences, they seem to the urgh the imposed by the Edinb limitations school: if all questions accept of epistemology are questions of social order, this is because, when all is contains said done, the social context and as one of its subsets the

33 CON ION STITUT 16 of what as good science. Such an asymmetry renders definition counts Schaf fe and Shapin to deconstruct the macro-social equipped well r less context than They seem to believe that a society 'up Nature 'out there'. the Hobbes's of accounts for there' failure actually exists, it that and the settle programme. manage to not do they precisely more - Or - question, out their conclusion what they had demonstrated cancelling in 7, and cancelling out their own argument in again in the very Chapter yet sentence the book: last of our scientific nor the constitution of our society, nor Neither knowledge, statements about the connections between traditional and our our society knowledge granted any longer. As we come to recognize the are taken for and artifactual of our forms of knowing, we put conventional status to realize and not reality that is in a position that it is ourselves ourselves we know. Knowledge, as much responsible is the for what as the State, of human actions. Hobbes was right. [p. 344] product Hobbes was wrong. How could he have been right, when he was the No, who invented the monist society in which Knowledge and Power are one and explain same thing? How can such a crude theory be used to one the invention absolute dichotomy an Boyle's between the production of of as of knowledge politics? Yes, 'knowledge, facts much as the State, is and the product of human actions', but that is precisely why Boyle's political invention is more refined than Hobbes's sociology of science. If we much to understand final obstacle separating us from an anthropology are the we to deconstruct Hobbes's constitutional invention science, have of which there is according a thing as a macro-society much sturdier to such more robust than Nature. and invents the naked calculating citizen, whose rights are Hobbes limited to and to being represented by the artificial construction of the possessing He creates the language according to which Power equals Sovereign. also an equation that is at Knowledge, root of the entire modern the Realpolitik. he offers a set Furthermore, terms for analyzing human of interests which, along with Machiavelli's, remains the basic vocabulary for all sociology today. In other words, even though Shapin and of ffer a great care to use the expression 'scientific fact' not as Scha take but and as a historical resource political invention, they take no rather precautions where political language itself is concerned. They use such the words 'power', 'interest' and 'politics' in all innocence (Chapter 7). Yet who these words, with their modern meaning? Hobbes! invented authors are thus 'seeing double' themselves, and walking sideways, Our criticizing science but swallowing politics as the only valid source of explanation. Now who offers us this asymmetric way of explaining

34 SCIENTIFIC 17 NTATION AND POLITICAL REPRESE through power? again, with his construction of a knowledge Hobbes in which in support monist macro-structure knowledge has a place only The the of the mast erful deconstruction of social order. offer authors a air evolution, of the do pump. Why, then, dif popularization fusion and deconstruct the evolution, diffusion and popularization of they not 'forc or 'force' less problematic than the air's spring? If 'power' e' ? Is transhistoric epistemology made up of not entities, then and are nature history and sociology neither unless one adopts some authors' are - posture and agrees to be simultaneously constructivist asymmetrical nature is concerned and realist where society is concerned where (Collins and 199 2) ! But it is not very probable that the air's spring has a Yearley, basis than English society ... more political itself and Political Representation Representation 2. 7 Scientific Shapin and Schaf fer themselves, we pursue the logic If, their unlike of to the end, we understand the symmetry of the work achieved book Hobbes and Boyle, and we might locate the practice simultaneously by of science they have described. Boyle is not simply creating a scientific that while for is doing the same thing discourse politics; Boyle is Hobbes creating a political which politics is to be excluded, while discourse from is imagining a scientific politics from which experimental science Hobbes has to be excluded. In other words, they are inventing our modern world, a world in the representation of things through the intermediary of which laboratory is dissociated from the representation of citizens the forever all intermediary the social contract. the it is not at of by through So that political philosophers have ignored Hobbes's science, oversight historians of science have ignored Boyle's positions on the politics while of science. of them had to 'see double' from Hobbes's and Boyle's day All and not direct relations between the representation of on, establish and the representation of humans, between nonhumans artificiality of the facts the artificiality of the and Politic. The word 'representation' is Body the same, but the controversy between Hobbes and Boyle renders any likeness between two senses · of the word unthinkable. Today, now the we two no longer entirely modern, these that senses are moving closer are again. together link between epistemology and The order now takes a social completely new meaning. The two branches of government that Boyle side, and each on his own develop, possess authority only if they Hobbes are dearly separated: Hobbes's State is impotent without science and naked technology, Hobbes speaks only of the representation of but citizens; Boyle's science is impotent without a precise delimitation of the

35 CONSTITUTION 28 political and spheres, and that is why he makes such religious, scientific to counteract monism. They are like a pair of an effort Hobbes's in one to promote acting and the same Founding Fathers, concert theor y : the representation of nonhumans belongs in innovation political but science is not allowed to appeal to politics; the to science, of citizens to politics, but politics is not allowed to representation belongs the produced and mobilized by science to nonhumans have any relation Hobbes and Boyle quarrel in order to and the two technology. define that we to use unthinkingly, and continue intensity of their resources the battle is highly indicative of the double of what they are novelty inventing. defines a and calculating citizen who constitutes the Hobbes naked mortal god, artificial creature. On what does the a an Leviathan, ? On the calculation of human Leviathan that leads to the depend atoms that decides the irreversible composition on the strength of all contract of the hands of a single one. In what does this in consist? In the strength authorization by all naked citizens to a single one to speak in granted name. who is acting when that one acts ? We are, we their have Who delegated to power definitively him. The Republic is a paradoxical our composed of citizens united only by the authorization artificial creature given to one of them to represent them all . Does the Sovereign speak in his own or in the name of those who empower him ? This is an name, with which political philosophy will grapple insoluble question modern indeed it is the Sovereign who speaks, but It is citizens who endlessly. the through him. He becomes their spokesperson, their persona, are speaking personification. He translates them; therefore he may betray them .. their empower impeach therefore they may They him. The Leviathan is him: citizens, agreements or disputes. In short, it made up only of calculations, made up of nothing but social relations. Or rather, thanks is Hobbes to and successors, we are beginning to understand his is meant by what social relations, powers, forces, societies. But Boyle defines an even stranger artifact. He invents the laboratory within which machines create phenomena out of whole cloth. artificial to though artificial, costly and hard are reproduce, and despite Even they small number of trained and reliable witnesses, these the facts indeed represent as it is. The facts are produced and represented in nature the laboratory, in scientific writings; they are recognized and vouched for by the nascent communit y of witnesses. Scientists are scrupulous representa­ ? tives facts. Who is speaking when they speak the The facts of themselves, beyond all question, but also their authorized spokespersons. Who is speaking, then, nature or human beings ? This is another insoluble of question the modern philosophy which science will wrestle over with forces course of three centuries. In themselves, facts are mute; natural the

36 THE CONS MODERNS OF THE NTEES TITU GUARA 29 TIONAL mechanisms. are brute declare that they themselves are scientists Yet the not for themselves. These mute entities are speaking; rather, speak facts the writing, signifying within of artificial chamber thus speaking, capable laboratory or inside the even more rarefied chamber of of vacuum the the Little of gentlemen take testimony from natural forces, pump. groups testify not each other that they are they betraying but translating and to his behaviour objects. With Boyle and of successors, we begin the silent conceive of what a natural force is, an object that is mute but endowed to entrusted or meaning. with their common Hobbes's and Boyle's descendants offer us the In debate, have one up to now: on the we hand, social force and resources used the the natural force and mechanism. On other, one hand, the power; on of law; on the other, the object of science. subject political The spokespersons to represent the quarrelsome and calculating come of the scientific spokespersons come to represent the multitude citizens; and material multitude of objects. The former translate their mute their who all speak at once; the latter translate cannot principals, constituents, who are mute from birth. The former can betray; so can the latter. In the seventeenth century, the symmetry is still visible; the two camps are through spokespersons, each accusing the other of still arguing the sources conflict. Only a little effort is now required for multiplying of origin be become invisible, for there to common no more their to and except side of human beings, the for the scientists' spokesperson on to become invisible. Soon the word 'representation' will take mediation two meanings, on according to whether elected agents or things different go at and political science will Epistemology their opposite are stake. ways. Constitutional Guarantees of the Moderns 2.8 The the modern Constitution invents a separation between the scientific If charged with representing things and the political power charged power with representing subjects, let us not draw the conclusion that from now on subjects far removed from things. On the contrary. In his are Hobbes redraws physics, theology, psychol­ Leviathan, simultaneously law, biblical exegesis and political science. ogy, his writing and his In correspondence, Boyle simu ltaneously redesigns scientific rhetoric, theol­ ogy, scientific politics, and the hermeneutics of facts. Together, they describe how God rule, how the new King of England must must how the spirits or the angels should act, what the properties of legislate, matter are, how nature is to be interrogated, what the boundaries of how scientific political discussion must be, or to keep the lower orders on

37 CONSTITUTION )0 tight rein, what the and duties of women are, what is to be a rights expected practice, then, they are situated within the In . of mathematics they things up the capacities of old and anthropological divide matrix; they and yet establish any separation between a pure not do people, a pure natural mechanism. and social force the entire modern paradox. If we consider hybrids, we Here lies are only mixtures of nature and culture; if we consider the work dealing with we a total separation between nature and purification, confront of is the relation between these two culture. that I am seeking to It tasks While both Boyle and Hobbes are meddling in politics and understand. and technology and morality and science and law, religion are also they dividing the tasks to the extent that the one restricts himself to the up of things the other to the politics of men. What is the intimate science and their purification movements? Is between necessary to allow relation two hybrids tion there be hundreds of prolifera in order for a simply for ? Must politics and simply natural things to exist? Is an absolute human required distinction the two movements in order for both to between be eff ? How can the power of this arrangement ve exp lained ? remain ecti then, is the secret of the modern What, ? In an attempt to grasp the world answers, we have to generalize the results achieved by Shapin and Schaf fer and define the complete Constitution, of which Hobbes and Boyle wrote one of the early drafts. To do so I have none of the only orical skills my colleagues and I will have to rely on what is, of hist of exercise that such a Constitution has a speculative imagining necessity, drafted by conscious agents indeed to build from scratch a been trying system of checks and balances. functional with any Constitution, this one has to As measured by the be guarantees natural power that Boyle and his many scientific it offers. The defined mute opposition to Hobbes, the power that allows descendants in to intermediary through the objects of loyal and disciplined speak spokespersons, offers a significant guarantee: it is not men who scientific make Nature; Nature has always existed and has always already been there; we only discovering its secrets. The political power that are in and political descendants define many opposition to Boyle Hobbes his citizens speak with one voice through the translation and betrayal of has who a sovereign, what they say. This power offers an equally says only significant human beings, and only human beings, are the guarantee: ones who construct society and freely determine their own destiny. two If, fashion of modem political philosophy, we consider these the after guarantees separately, they remain incomprehensible. If Nature is not made by or for human beings, then it remains foreign, forever remote and hostile. Nature's transcendence overwhelms us, or renders it inaccessible. very Symmetrically, Leviathan, is made only by and for humans, the if society

38 THE CONSTITUT UARANTEES OF THE MODERNS 31 IONAL G an are at once the form and the matter, artificial creature of which we cannot destroys immanence in the war of stand it at once up. Its very every man every against But these man. two constitutional guarantees separately, as if the first assured the nonhumanity of not be taken must the humanit y of the social sphere. Nature were and the second They They each other. The first and second created together. reinforce as counterweight to another, serve as checks and guarantees one are nothing branches of a single new balances. They but the two government. consider them together, not separately, If we now that the we note guarantees Boyle and his descendants are not simply saying are reversed. of Nature escape they are also fabricating these that the Laws our grasp; Despite artificial construction inside the in the laboratory. their laws (such is the phase vacuum or translation ), the facts pump of mediation all huma n fabrication (such is the phase of purifica­ completely escape Hobbes and his descendants are not tion). simply that men declaring make own society by sheer force, but that the Leviathan is durable their massive inventions, ul; that it mobilizes commerce, and solid, and powerf holds the well-tempered and the arts; and that the Sovereign sword steel and the golden sceptre in his hand. Despite its human construction, the Leviathan infinitely surpasses the humans who created it, for in its pores, its vessels, its tissues, the countless goods and objects that it mobilizes and durabilit y. Yet despite procured by the give it consistency the solidity (as revealed of mediation ), we alone of things by the work mobilization it freely by the sheer force of our reasoning are the ones who constitute ­ naked, unarmed citizens (as demonstrated by the work of we poor, ). purification But these two guarantees not only mutually but are contradictory, plays on transcendence and internally, since each simultaneously . immanence. Boyle and his countless successors go on and on both Nature artificially constructing that they are discovering it; and stating Hobbes and the newly defined citizens go on and on constructing the Leviathan by dint of calculation and social force, but they recruit more and more objects to make it last. Are they lying ? Deceiving in order ? Deceiving for they add a third constitutional themselves us? No, there shall exist a complete guarantee: between the natural separation world (constructed, nevertheless, by man) and the social world (sus­ tained, nevertheless, by thing s); secondly, there shall exist a total separation between of hybrids and the work of purification. the work are contradictory only as long as the third does The first two guarantees not keep them apart for ever, as long as it does not turn an overly patent symmetry into two contradic tory asyrr:metries that practice resolves but can never express.

39 CONSTITUTION 32 PARADOX FIRST Nature is not our constr uction; is our free construction; Society it is transcendent and it is immanent to our action. surpasses us infinitely. SECOND PARADOX Nature is our artificial Society is not our construction; uction in the laboratory; constr and surpasses it is transcendent us infinitely. it is immanent. CONSTITUTION u arantee: gh we First g even thou even though we Second guarantee: uct Nature, Nature is as if constr do not constr uct Society, Society uct it. is as if we did constr we did not construct it. guarantee: Nature and Society Third absolutely distinct: must remain the work must remain absolutely of purification from the work of mediation. distinct The paradoxes and Society Figure of Nature 2. 1 It will take many more more institutions, many more authors, many to complete the movement sketched out by the exemplary dispute rules, between Hobbes But the overall structure is now easy to and Boyle. : the three guarantees will allow together grasp the moderns a taken change They are going to be able to make Nature intervene at in scale. every point in the fabrication of their societies while they go right on attributing to Nature transcendence; they are going to be able its radical the only actors own political destiny, while they go to become in their on makin society hold together by mobili zing Nature. On the right g their hand, the transcendence of Nature will one its social not prevent immanenc the immanence of the social will not prevent e; on the other, from admit that g transcendent. We must the Leviathan this is a remainin rather that makes it possible to do everything without neat construction being limited by anything. It is not surprising that this Constitution should have it possible, as people used to say, to 'liberate made forces productive ' ... 2. 9 The Fourth Guarantee: The Crossed-out God It was necessary, however, to avoid seeing an overly perfect symmetry between guarantees of the Constitution, which would have the two prevented that duo from giving its all. A fourth guarantee had to settle the question of God by removing Him for ever from the dual social and

40 FOURTH GUARANTEE: CROSSED-OUT GOD THE 33 natural leaving Him presentable and usable neverthe­ construction, while and Boyle's succeeded in carrying out this task ­ less. Hobbes's followers ridding the of any divine presence, by latter by ridding the Nature former divine origin. Scientific power 'no longer needed this any Society of s'; as for statesmen, they could fabricate the 'mortal god' of the hypoth esi themselves troubling about the immortal God Leviathan without further was interpreted only figuratively by the Sovereign. whose Scripture now is truly modern who does not agree to keep one from interfering God No Law as well as with the Natural of the Republic. God becomes with laws crossed-out God of metaphysics, the different from the premodern as God the Christians as the Nature constructed in the laboratory is from of ancient phusis the Society invented by sociologists from the old the or and crowds of nonhumans. collective its anthropological thorough distancing would have deprived the But an overly moderns a resource they needed critical complete their mechanism. The of to twins would have been left hanging in the void, Nature-and-Society and one have been able to decide, would case of conflict between the in no of other. which one should win out over the two branches government, still, obvious. have been excessively Worse If I am their symmetry would convenient to on with the allowed fiction that this Constitution is go drafted by some conscious agent endowed with will, foresight and cunning I could that everything happens as if the moderns had say the same doubling the crossed-out God that they had used on applied to Society. transcendence distanced Him infinitely, so that and His Nature free play of nature nor that of He disturbed neither the the society, but was reserved to appeal to nevertheless transcendence in case of right that between the laws of conflict and those of Society. Modern men Nature and could thus be atheists even while remaining religious. They women invade but material world and freely re-create the social world, could the experiencing an feeling of without orphaned demiurge abandoned by the all. of the ancient Christian theological themes made it Reinterpretation possible to bring God's transcendence and His immanence into play simultaneously. But lengthy task of the sixteenth-century Reforma­ this it not would very different results had produced got mixed up tion have the task of the seventeenth with the conjoined invention of century, scientific and citizens (Eisenstein, 19 facts . Spirituality was re­ 79) invented: the all-powerful God could descend into men's heart of hearts wholly without any way in their external affairs. A in intervening individual and wholly spiritual religion made it possible to criticize both the ascendancy of science and that of society, without needing to bring pious God either. The moderns could now be both secular and into at the same time (Weber, [1920] 19 58). This last constitutional guarantee was

41 CONSTITUTION l .. absence did by a supreme God given not but by an absent God - yet His people on Him at will in the privacy of their own from not prevent calling literally since became He was bracketed twice hearts. His position ideal, in metaphysics in spirituality. He would no longer once over, and again with the development of the moderns, but He interfere in any way and helpful effective the spirit of humans alone. remained within transcendence immanence in a crisscrossed threefold and a threefold A in all the possibilities : this is where I locate the power schema that locks have not made Nature ; they make Society ; they They of the moderns. Nature ; they have not made Society; they have not made make either, God everything; God has made nothing, they have made has made There is no way we can understand if we do not everything. the moderns as checks for one another. serve and balances see that the four guarantees make The to alternate the sources of power by first two it possible directly from pure natural force to pure political force, and vice moving The third rules versa. out any contamination between what guarantee to Nature to politics, even though the first two belongs and what belongs allow a rapid alternation between the two. Might guarantees the contradiction the third, which separates, and the first two, between which be too obvious ? No, because the fourth constitutional alternate, guarantee establishes as arbiter an infinit ely remote God who is simultaneously totally and the sovereign judge. impotent in this outline of the Constitution, has nothing If I am right modernity of humanism, the emergence of the the invention to do with with the secularization of society, or with the mechanization of sciences, with Its originality and its come from the conjoined the world. strength pairings of transcendence and immanence, production of these three a long history of which I have presented across one stage via the only figures and Boyle. The essential point of this modern of Hobbes is that assembles the work of mediation that Constitution it renders of invisib unrepresentable. hybrids this lack le, unthinkable, Does representation limit the work of mediation in any way? No, for the modern world would immedi ately cease to function. Like all other collectives it lives on that blending. (and here the beauty On the contrary comes the modern Constitution allows the of the mechanism to light), proliferation of the hybrids whose existence, whose very expanded possib ility, it denies. three times in a row on the same By playing between transcendence and immanence, the moderns can alternation mobilize Nature, objectify the social, and feel the spiritual presence of God, while firmly maintaining that Nature escapes us, that Society even is our own work, and that God no longer intervenes. Who could have must resisted a constructi on? Truly exceptional events such have weakened this powerful mechanism for me to be able to describe it today

42 THE POWER CRITIQUE OF THE MODERN 35 with an ethnologist's detachment that is in the process of for a world disappearing. Power of the Modem 2. 10 The Critique waning, moment moderns' critical capacities are the it very when the At is the measure, one last time, of their prodigious efficacity. useful to take bondage, the moderns could criticize the Freed from religious the old powers by revealing the material causalit y that obscurantism of dissimulated as they invented those very phenomena powers - even those artificial enclosure of the laboratory. in Laws of Nature allowed the The first Enlightenment thinkers to demolish the ill-founded pretensions the human prejudice. Applying this new of tool, they no longer saw critical anything the hybrids of old but illegitimate mix tures that they had to in y by separating mechanisms from human passions, interests purif natural All the became of yesteryear, one after the other, ignorance. or ideas or Or rather, simply applying the modern Consti­ inept approximate. was enough to create, by contrast,. a 'yesteryear' absolutely tution different from The obscurity of the olden days, which illegitimately today. together needs and natural reality, meanings and blended social signs and things, gave way to mechanisms, dawn that cleanly a luminous separated material causality from human fantasy. The natural sciences at last defined what Nature was, and each new emerging scientific discipline was experienced a total revolution by means of which it was finally as from its past, from its Old Regime. No one who liberated prescientific thrilled felt of this dawn and beauty to its promises is modern. has not the the modern critique did not simply turn to Nature in order to But human It destroy soon began to move in the other direction, prejudices. to the social sciences in order to destroy the turning newly founded of naturalization. This was the second excesses that of Enlightenment, the century. This time, precise nineteenth of society and its knowledge laws made it possible to criticize not only the biases of ordinar y obscurantism but the new biases created by the natural sciences. also solid from the social sciences, it became possible to With support the truly scientific component of the other sciences from distinguish the component to ideology. Sorting out the kernels of science attributable the the from ideology became chaff task for generations of well­ of meaning modernizers. In the hybrids of the first Enlightenment thinkers, to the too often saw an unacceptable blend that needed group be second purified by carefully separating the part that belonged to things themselves and the part that could be attributed to the functioning of the economy, the unconscious, language, or symbols. All the ideas of

43 CON STITUTION l6 - including those certain pseudo-sciences - became inept or yesteryear of rather, approximate. a succession of radical revolutions by Or contrast, 'yesteryear' by was soon to be dissipated obscure the created an that of the sciences. The traps social naturalization and dawn luminous of were finally dispelled. No scientific who has not waited fo r ideology one dawn thrilled to its promises is modern. that and even the themselves able to combine moderns The invincible found to moves using the natural sciences critical debunk the false two by of power and using the certainties of the human pretensions to sciences uncover false pretensions of the natural sciences, and of scientism. the knowledge was within reach. If it seemed impossible, for so Total finally get because Marxism, this was to Marxism interwove the two past long, resources ever developed for the modern critique, and powerful most them together for all time (Althusser, bound 92) . Marxism made it 19 possible retain the portion of truth belonging to the natural and social to even eliminated it carefully sciences their condemned portion, their while as Marxism ideology. and finished off, realized was soon to become - clear - all the hopes of the first Enlightenment, along with all those of the second. The material causality and the illusions first distinction between obscurantism, like second distinction between science and of the remain two principal sources of modern indignation still the ideology, though our contemporaries can no longer close today, discussion even off Marxist and even though their fashion, capital has now been in critical into the hands of disseminated of small shareholders. Anyone millions who never felt this dual power vibrate within, anyone who has never has obsessed the distinction between rationality and obscurantism, been by ideology and true science, has between false been modern. never Anchor point possibility Critical Transcendence of nature We can do nothing against Nature's laws possibilities We have unlimited of Nature Immanence of Society Immanence We are totally free of Society Transcendence We can do nothing against Society's laws 2.2 Anchor points and critical possibilities Figure grounded in the transcendental certainty of nature's Solidly the laws, modern or woman can criticize and unveil, denounce man express and indignation at irrational beliefs and unjustified dominations. Solidly grounded in the certainty that humans make their own destiny, the modern man or can criticize and unveil, express indignation at woman and irrational beliefs, the biases of ideologies, and the denounce unjustified domination of the experts who claim to have staked out the dom limits action and free of . The exclusive transcendence of a Nature

44 THE INVINCIBI OF THE MODERNS LITY 37 that our doing, is not immanence and that we of the exclusive a Society would paralyze the moderns, through, nevertheless create through and too impotent in the face of things who too powerful would appear and an advantage to be enormous reverse the What within society. able to the appearance principles without contradiction! In spite of its even of Na mobilizable, humanizable, socializable. transcendence, ture remains laboratories, centres of calculation and of profit, day, collections, Every and scientific institutions blend research with the multiple bureaus it of social groups. Conversely, even though we construct Society destinies and through, it lasts, it surpasses us, it dominates us, it through its has own it is as transcendent as Nature. For every day, laboratories, laws, centres of and of profit, research bureaus and collections, calculation stake of the limits to the freedom institutions social groups, scientific out relations into durable objects that no one has and transform human The critical power of the moderns lies in this double language: made. can mobilize Nature at the heart of social relationships, even as they they Nature to remote from human beings; they are free leave make infinitely , ineluctable society, and as they render its laws their unmake even necessary and absolute. 2.1 1 The Invinci bility of the Modems Because it believes in the total separation of humans and nonhumans, and because it simultaneously cancels out this separation, Constitu­ the has made moderns invincible. If you criticize them by saying that tion the a world constructed they human hands, is will show you that Nature by intermediary is science is a mere that allowing access to it transcendent, and that they keep their hands off. If you tell them that we are Nature, free and our destiny is in our own hands, they will tell you that that is If and its laws infinit ely surpass us. Society you object transcendent they duplicitous, being that they will show you that they never are confuse Laws of Nature with imprescriptible human freedom. If you the believe them and direct your attention elsewhere, they will take advantage of to transfer thousands of objects from Nature into the this solidity body this body the procuring for of natural things. If social while turn round suddenly, as in the children's you 'Mother, may 1?', they game will looking innocent, as if they hadn freeze, budged: here, on the left, 't are things themselves; there, on the right, is the free society of speaking, thinking subjects, and of signs. Everything happens in the middle, values passes between the two, everything happens by way of everything mediation, translation and networks, but this space does not exist, it has no place. It is the unthinkable, the unconscious of the moderns. What

45 CONSTITUTION l8 way to extend than by bringing them into alliance both better collectives transcendence and with freedom, while at the with Nature's all of human Nature on the imposing absolute limits incorporating same time and This it possible to do anything- and its of freedom? boundaries makes opposite. were not mistaken when they accused the Whites of Native Americans tongues. forked the relations of political power having By separating of scientific while continuing to shore up the relations reasoning from reason and reason with power the moderns have always had with power, in the fire. They have become invincible. two irons think that thunder is a divinity? The modern critique will show You it is generated that physical mechanisms that have no influence by mere the progress of human You are stuck in a traditional over affairs. critique you that physical mechanisms The modern will show economy? of human affairs by mobilizing huge can upset the progress productive You think that the spirits of the ancestors hold you forever forces. to their laws? The modern critique will show hostage you are you that hostage and that the spiritual world is your own human ­ to yourselves - construction. then think that you can do everything too human You develop your societies as you see fit? The modern critique will show and you that the iron laws of society and economics are much more inflexible than those of your ancestors. You are indignant that the world is being mechanized? The critique will tell you about the creator God to modern everything belongs who gave man everything. You are whom and society critique The modern that will show you that indignant is secular? is thereby and that a wholly spiritual religion is far spirituality liberated, You call yourself religious? The modern critique will have a superior. laugh hearty expense! at your could cultures-natures have resisted? They became How the other by contrast. They could have stood up against transcendent premodern or immanent Nature, or society made by human hands, or Nature, Society, or a remote God, or an intimate God, but how transcendent could they resist the combination of all six? Or rather, they might have resisted, if the six resources critique had been visible of the modern in a single such as I am retracing today. But they together operation to be separate, in conflict seemed one another, blending incom­ with patible branches of government, each one appealing to different foundations. What is more, all these critical resources. of purification were contradicted by the practice of mediation, yet that at once had no influence whatsoever either on the diversity of the contradiction sources of power or on their hidden unity. Such such an originality, made the moderns think they a superiority, expansion. free from the ultimate restrictions that might limit their were

46 39 THE CLARIFIES AND OBSCURES CONSTITUTION WHAT after century, empire after colonial empire, the poor Century colonial of accused mishmash of making premodern collectives were a horrible of finally and signs, while their accusers humans, things and objects separated a scale at once on them unknown until them totally - to remix after time in Divide Great this extended moderns the As ... now also extending they felt themselves absolutely free to give up it in space, ridiculous to of their past which required them the following constraints the delicate and of relations between things account take into web o acc But time they were taking into the at unt many more people. same and many more people ... things You even accuse them of being nonbelievers. If you tell them cannot are they to you of an all-powerful God who is atheists, they will speak say ely the great beyond. If you in that this crossed-out God infinit remote something of a foreigner, they will tell you that He speaks in the is privacy the heart, and that despite their sciences and their politics they of never stopped moral and devout. If you express astonishment have being a religion that has no influence either on the at the world goes or on way the of society, they will tell direction that it sits in judgement on you both. If you ask to read those judgements, they will object that religion infinit ely surpasses and politics and it does not influence them, or science religion is a construct, or the effect of neurons! that social you sources them, then ? They hold all the will of power, all What tell case possibilities, they displace them from but to case with the critical rapidity that they can never be caught redhanded. such unquestion­ Yes, ably, they have been, they have almost been, they have believed they are, were, they invincible. 2. 12 What the Constitution Clarifies and What It Obscures the modern world has never happened, in Yet sense that it has never the functioned according to the rules of its official Constitution alone: it has never separated the three regions of Being I have mentioned and appealed individually the six resources of the modern critique. The to from of always been different has the practices of practice translation Or rather, this difference itself is purification. in the Constitu­ inscribed tion, the double play of since of the three agencies between each immanence and transcendence makes it possible to do anything - and its opposite. Never has allowed such a margin for manreuvre a Constitution for practice. in the moderns paid But this freedom was that they the price remained unable to conceptualize themselves in continuity with the premoderns. had to think of themselves as absolutely di fferent, they They had mediation invent the Great Divide because the entire work of to

47 CONSTITUTION escapes constitutional framework that simul taneously outlines it and the existence. denies its this way, the modern predicament looks like a plot that I Expressed in to unveil. consciousness would force the moderns to am about False apply. would practise that they can never They a Constitution imagine that they the not allowed to say. The modern world very things are be populated by liars and cheaters. Worse still, by proposing would thus their illusions, to uncover their real practice, to probe their to debunk reveal double talk, I would play a very belief, to their unconscious indeed, taking my turn in a long modern of debunkers and role queue But relation between the work the purification and that of critics. of is not that of conscious and mediation and informal, unconscious, formal language practice, illusion and reality. I am not claiming that the and are unaware of they do, I am simply saying that what they moderns what innovate production a large scale in the - of hybrids - is possible on do steadfastly hold to the absolute dichotomy between the because they only of Nature and that of Society, a dichotomy which is itself possible order only because of purification and that of they never consider the work together. is no false consciousness involved, since the mediation There are explicit about the two tasks. They have to practise the top moderns I add the of the modern Constitution. The only thing bottom halves and is the relation between those two different sets of practices. So is modernity an illusi on ? No, it is much more than an illusion and much than an essence. It is a force added to others that for a long less it had power to represent, to accelerate, or to summarize - a time the it no longer revision holds. The that I am proposing is power entirely that the of the French Revolution to has been undertaken similar revision the last twenty years or so in France - and the two revisions during to one and the same, as we shall see further on. Since the 197 0s, amount have understood that the revolutionary reading French historians finally the French Revolution had been added to the events of that time, that of it organized historiography since 17 89, had that it no longer defines but the events themselves (Furet, [1978] 19 81) . As Fran�ois Furet proposes, the Revolution 'modality of historical action' is to be distinguished as the more as 'process'. The events of 17 89 were no from Revolution than been modern world has revolutionary modern. The actors and the of chroniclers 89 used the notion 17 revolution to understand what of was happening to them, and to influence their own fate. Similarly, the modern Constitution and indeed acts in history, but it no longer exists what has happened to us. Modernity still awaits its Tocqueville, defines and the scientific revolutions still await their Fran�ois Furet. have So, is not the false consciousness of moderns, and we modernity to be very careful to grant the Constitution, like the idea of Revolution,

48 WHAT THE CONS CLARIFIES AND OBSCURES TITUTION ... its ectiveness. Far from eliminating the work of mediation, it has own eff of Revolution led the allowed work to Just as the idea this expand. decisions they irreversible would not have revolutionaries to take that Constitution provided the moderns with the it, dared take without the mobilize things and people on a scale that they would otherwise daring to This modification of scale was achieved not - as they have disallowed. but, by of humans and nonhumans separation on the - the thought the amplification of their contacts. contrary, growth is in turn by This by idea of transcendent the (provided that it remains facilitated Nature e), by the idea of free Society (provided that it remains mobilizabl t), and by the absence of all divinity (provided that God transcenden to the . So long as their contraries remain simultaneously speaks heart) of unthinkable, long as the work so mediation multiplies and and present three ideas make it possible to hybrids, on a large scale. these capitalize moderns they have succeeded in think an expansion only The such they have carefully separated Nature and Society because bracketed (and God whereas they have succeeded only because they have mixed ), much masses of humans and nonhumans, without together greater anything and without ruling out any combination! The link bracketing work purification between the and the work of mediation has given of the birth but they credit only moderns, former with their success. to the In saying this I am not unveiling a practice hidden beneath an official reading, I am adding the bottom half to the upper half. They are simply necessary together, as long as we were modern, they simply both but appear one single and coherent configuration. not as could the moderns So of what they are doing or not? The solution are aware the paradox may not be too hard to find if we look at what to tell of anthropologists the premoderns. To undertake hybridization, it us always necessary believe that it has no serious consequences for the is to order. There are two ways of taking this precaution. The constitutional first consists thoroughly thinking through the close connections in that the social the natural order so between no dangerous hybrid will and be introduced carelessly. The second one consists in bracketing off entirely the of hybridization on the one hand and the dual social work natural on the other. While the moderns insure themselves by and order thinking at all about the consequences of not innovations for the their social the premoderns - if we order, to believe the anthropologists - are dwell endlessly and obsessively on those connections between nature and culture. To it crudely: those who think the most about hybrids put them as much as possible, whereas those who choose to circumscribe ignore them by insulating them from any dangerous consequences in develop to the utmost. The premodems are all monists them the of their nature-cultures. 'The native is a logical hoarder', constitution

49 CONSTITUTION 41 Levi-Strauss; 'he forever tying the threads, unceasingly writes Claude is all the of reality, whether physical, social or mental' turning over aspects mixes 19 p. 267). By saturating the 66, of divine, [19 (Levi-Strauss, 62] natural elements with concepts, the premoderns limit the human and of mixes. expansion It is the impossibility of changing the practical these natural - and vice versa - that order without modifying the order social the premoderns to exercise the greatest has Every obliged prudence. becomes visible and thinkable and explicitly poses serious monster for the social order, the cosmos, or divine laws (Horton, 19 67, problems 82). 19 writes about the Achuar: Descola of the 'cold societies' would be less the result The homeostasis of Amazonia of political of the implicit which Clastres credited alienation, rejection with than the effect of the inertia effect of a {Clastres, 'savages' 1974) ... unable thought the process of social izing nature in any system to represent other than through the categories that dictate the way real society way function. Running should to the overhasty technical determinism counter with evolutionist theories are often imbued, one might postulate that which a society its material base, this is conditioned by a prior when transforms of the forms of social organization that comprise the conceptual mutation of the material mode of producing. {Descola, [1986] 1993; framework added) p. 405; emphasis on the contrary, If, Constitution authorizes anything, it is surely the our accelerated socialization of nonhumans, because it never allows them to appear as of 'real societ y' . By rendering mixtures unthinkable, elements emptying, sweeping, and purifying the arena that is opened in by cleaning by moderns of power, the central space defined the their three sources practice the mediation to recombine all possible monsters allowed of letting them have any effect on the social fabric, or even any without with it. Bizarre as these monsters may be, they posed no problem contact they exist publicly and because their monstrous because did not What the premoderns have always consequences remained untraceable. social out moderns can allow, since the the order never turns out to ruled correspond, point for point, with the natural order. Boyle's air pump, example, might seem to be a rather frightening for since produces a laboratory vacuum artificially, a vacuum chimera, it simultaneously permits the definition of the Laws that Nature, the of action God, and the settlement of of in England at the time of disputes the Glorious Revolution. According to Robin Horton, savage thought once. would away its dangers at conjured From now on the English have seventeenth century will go on to construct Royalty, Nature and theology with the scientific community and the laboratory. The air' s spring will

50 THE END OF DENUNCIATION the actors inhabit England. Yet this recruitment of a new ally join that problem, poses is no chimera, since nothing monstrous has since no there discover the been done than to since been produced, nothing has more The scope is directly Nature. proportional to Laws of of the mobilization ing its relations with the social ity of the impossibil conceptualiz directly order. the moderns think they The blended, the more they blend. less are more is absolutely pure, the more it is intimat ely bound up The science fabric of society. The modern Constitution accelerates or with the the of collectives - which differ, as I indicated facilitates deployment from societies made up only of social relations - but does earlier, not allow concept ualization. their Denunciation 2.13 The End of sure, by affirming that the Constitution, if it is to be effective, has To be unaware allows, what it be I am practising an unveiling, but one to of the modern no the same objec ts as upon critique and is that longer bears longer triggered by the same mainsprings. So long as no adhered we willingly the Constitution, it allowed us to settle all disputes and to spirit, as for the critical basis providing individuals with served a their attacks and their operations justification for unveiling. But if the of Constitution a whole now appears as as one half that no longer only allows us to understand its own other half, then it is the very foundation of the critique that turns out to be ill-assured. I am thus trying modern tricky move unveil the modern Constitution without resorting to the to type accounting debunking. To do so I am modern for this vague the of as uneasy we have recently become that unable to denounce and feeling to modernize. The upper ground for taking a critical as seems to stance have us. escaped by appealing sometimes to Nature, sometimes to Yet Society, the God, by to opposing and transcendence of each sometimes constantly of these three one its immanence, the moderns had found the terms to mainspring their indignations well wound of What kind of a modern up. could no longer fall back on the transcendence of nature to criticize the obscurantism of On the immanence of Nature to criticize human power? ? On of immanence of Society to criticize the submission inertia the and the dangers the naturalism? On humans transcendence of society of to the human illusion of individual liberty ? On the transcendence criticize of God to appeal to the judgement of humans and the obstinacy of things? On immanence of God to criticize established Churches, the would naturalist socialist dreams ? It and be a pretty pathetic kind beliefs of modern, or else a postmodern: still inhabi ted by the violent desire to the denounce, would no longer have they strength to believe in the

51 CONSTITUTION legitimacy any of these six courts of appeal. To strip moderns of their of is to deprive it seems, of all self-respect. To strip indignation them, of bases for their denunciations is apparently the intellectuals six critical all our to live. In losing of wholehearted adherence to to rob them reason we we have the impression that not are losing the Constitution, the do ourselves? Was it not the origin of our best our moral strength, of energy, ethics? our Boltanski Luc done away with and Laurent Thevenot However, have my a in important for book own essay as denunciation, modern as Shapin er's. They have done for the work of critical and Schaff what Fran�ois Furet did earlier for the French Revolution. indignation French Revolution is over,' he wrote; in the same of the subtitle vein 'The es de Ia grandeur could been 'The modern denunciation is Economi have that and 91). Up to 19 point, critical (Boltanski Thevenot, over' be self-ev ident. It was only unmasking appeared of choosing a to a matter for and opposing false indignation with as much cause denunciations as possible. To unmask: that was our sacred task, the task passion of us moderns. reveal the true calculations underlying the false conscious­ To or true interests underlying the false calculations. Who is not nesses, the foaming slightly at the mouth with that particular rabies? Now still and Thevenot have invented the equivalent of an anti-rabies Boltanski of by comparing all sources vaccine denunciation - the Cities that calmly supply the various principles of justice - and by interweaving the thousand and ways we have, in France today, of bringing an affair to one They do denounce others. They do not unmask anyone. They justice. not we another. Instead go about accusing one how of a resource, show all competence critical a topic, one becomes among others, the the spirit of our indignations. Instead of practising a critical sociology grammar authors criticism. begin a sociology of the quietly by thanks little gap opened up this systematic study, we Suddenly, to no longer fully adhere to the spirit of the modern can How can critique. we wholehearted accusations when the scapegoating mechan­ still make sciences has obvious ? Even .the human ism are no longer the become ultimate reservoir that would make it possible at last to discern the real motives beneath appearances. too are made part of the analysis They jus 19 bring issues to ; they too tice, and become (Chateauraynaud, 90) and criticize. The tradition of the human sciences no longer has indignant privilege the rising above the actor by discerning, beneath his of actions, the reality that is to be brought to light (Boltanski, unconscious 19 90). It is impossible for the human sciences to be scandalized, without boxes hencef one of the occupying in our colleagues' grid. The orth denouncer is the brother of the ordinary people that he claimed to be work denouncing. of really believing in it, we now experience the Instead of denunciation as a 'historical modality' which certainly influences our

52 TH 45 ATION E END OF DENUNCI but does explain them any more than the revolutionary affairs not explained modality denuncia­ ts of 17 89. Today, the even of process the stale. and revolution have tion both gone work completes the movement predicted and Boltanski and Thevenot's can G by Rene longer moderns no described irard which to according Thevenot, make sincere do and accusatio unlike Girard, Boltanski but ns; objects. In order for the mechanism of victim-f ormation to scorn not accused function, the sacrificed in public who the crowd was person by be actually guilty (Girard, [1978] 19 87). had the victim became a to If the scapegoat, mechanis accusation became of some fall guy m visible: of innocent crime was wrongly accused, with no reason except to any reconcile community at his expense. The shift from sacrifice to the scapegoat thus This evacuation does not soften the voids accusation. for is of crimes reason precisely moderns, however, since the their series are never they make a genuine accusation of a truly guilty that able to (Gir ard, 1983). But Girard does not see that he himself is thus party a more since allegation, making he accuses objects of not really serious stakes So we imagine obj ective as for our disputes, he counting. long we are caught up in the illusion claims, mimetic desire. It is this desire, of and desire alone, that adorns objects this a value that is not their with own. In themselves, they do not count; they are nothing. By revealing the process of accusation, like Boltanski and Thevenot, forever Girard, our aptitude accuse. But he prolongs the tendency of exhausts to scorn Girard even further - and to tenders that moderns objects sees wholeheartedly; it, and he believes in this hard­ accusation he really scorn the highest proof of morality (Girard, 1989). Here is a won and greatness denouncer of Boltanski and Thevenot's book a half. The fact they exhaust denunciation even as they put the comes from the that engaged in tests of judgement at the heart of their object analyses. Are we devoid any moral foundation once denunciation has been of exhausted underneath moral judgement by denunciation, another ? But moral judgement has always functioned by triage and selection. It is called arrangement, combinazione, combine, but also combination, say or Peguy used to Charles that a supple negotiation compromise. y is infinit ely more exigent than a rigid morality (Peguy, 1 961 b). moralit same The for the unofficial morality that constantly selects and holds true It the solutions of the moderns. distributes is scorned because it practical does not allow indignation, but it is active and generous because it follows the meanderings of situations and networks. It is countless objects because scorned into account the it that are no more the takes arbitrary stakes of our desire alone than they are the simple receptacle for our mental categories. Just as the modern Constitution scorns the hybrids

53 CONSTITUTION that shelters, official morality scorns practical arrangements and the it that uphold it. the opposition between objects and objects Underneath is the subjects, the mediators. Underneath moral whirlwind there of ces and cases meticulous triage the grandeur there is circumstan of 1988). (Jonsen and Toulmin, Been Modem 2.14 We Have Never separation between either I believe in I now complete a choice: have the halves of the the Constitution, or I study both what this two modern allows what it forbids, what it clarifies and what it Constitution and I defend purification work of Either - and I myself serve obfuscates. the a purifier a vigilant guardian of the Constitution - or else I study as and the work of mediation and that of both - but I then cease to purification be modern. wholly claiming that modern Constitution does not permit itself to be By the proposing to reveal the practices that allow it by exist, by understood, to its that mechanism has outlived critical usefulness, am I asserting the as though we were entering a new era that would follow the era behaving the of ns? Would I then be, literally, postmodern ? Postmodernism moder It a a fresh solution. not lives under the modern is symptom, but it no longer believes in Constitution, guarantees the Constitution the offers. that something has gone It senses in the modern critique, but awry it is not able to do anything buf prolong that critique, though without believing in foundations (Lyotard, 19 79). Instead of moving on to its studies of networks that give meaning to the work of empirical the denounces, rejects all empirical work as it postmodernism purification deceptively scientistic (Baudrillard, 19 illusory Disappointed and 92). its adepts indeed sense that modernism is done for, but they rationalists, to accept its way of dividing continue time ; thus they can divide up up eras only terms of successive revolutions. They feel that they come in no ter' moderns, but with the 'af sentiment that there is the disagreeable more ter'. 'No future 'af is the slogan added to the moderns' motto ': this 'No past' . What rem ains ? Disconnected instants and groundless denun­ ciations, since the postmoderns no believe in the reasons that longer them denounce and to become indignant. would allow to different solution appears as soon as we follow A the official both Constitution what it forbids or allows, as and as we study in detail soon the work of production of hybrids and the work of elimination of these never same discover that we have then been modern in the hybrids. We sense of the Constitution, and this is why I am not debunking the false practise consciousness people who would of the contrary of what they

54 WE HAVE NEVER MODERN BEEN No one ever been modern. Modernity has never begun. There claim. has a modern world. use of the past perfect tense is has never been The it of a matter of a retrospective sentiment, for a important here, is entering our saying that we are I am not a new era ; of rereading history. no longer have to continue the headlong flight of the on the contrary we rnists; we no longer obliged to cling to the avant­ post-post-postmode are be the no longer seek to we even cleverer, even garde of avant-garde; even suspicion'. more we 'era of critical, No, instead the into deeper modern enter the Hence to discover the era. have begun never that we hint the ludicrous that of accompanies postmodern thinkers; they always claim come after a time that has not even started! to retrospective attitude, deploys instead of unveiling, adds This which subtracting, instead of denouncing, sorts out of fraternizes instead debunking, I characterize as nonmodern instead amoder n). A of (or is anyone who takes simultaneously into account the nonmodern Constitution and the populations of hybrids that that moderns' and proliferate. to Constitution rejects allows Constitution everything, but only by leaving out what The explained in the middle. 'It's nothing, nothing at all,' it said of the was networks, 'merely Now hybrids, monsters - what Donna Haraway calls residue.' and 'tricksters' (Haraway, 19 91) whose explanation it abandons ­ 'cyborgs' are just about everything; they compose not only our own collectives but also the illegitimately called premodern. At the very moment others, the twin Enlightenments of seemed to have explained when Marxism very when the failure of their total at the moment everything, postmoderns to founder in the despair explanation leads self­ the of we that the explanations had discover yet begun, and that criticism, not has always been the case; that we have this been modern, or never critical; there has never been a yesteryear or an Old Regime (Mayer, that 82); matrix we have never really left the old anthropological 19 that and have it could not behind, been otherwise. that modern notice To have never been that and that only minor we divisions separate us from other collectives does not mean that I am a reactionary. The reaction struggles fiercely against the effects antimodern Constitution, accepts it fully. Antimoderns want to defend of the but or spirit, or rationality, or the past, or universality, or liberty, localities, society, or God, as if these entities really existed and actually had the or the that official part of the modern Constitution granted them. form Only the sign and the direction of their indignation vary. The the antimoderns the chief oddity of accept moderns, the idea of a even time that passes irreversibly and annuls the entire past in its wake. a past or either to conserve such wishes abolish it, in one case Whether the revolutionary idea par excellence, the idea that revolution is possible,

55 CONSTITUT ION maintained. is idea strikes us as exaggerated, since Today, that very one many others in histories that have is only revolution resource among nothing irreversible, about them. 'In potentia' the nothing revolutionary, with is and irreversible invention that breaks a total the world modern were Revolution s the French or just as 'in potentia' past, Bolshevik as networks, at of a new world. Seen birth however, the midwives the than more revolutions, modern world, like permits scarcely anything extensions of practices, slight small in the circulation of accelerations knowledge, a tiny extension of societies, minuscule increases in the number of small modifications of old beliefs. When we see them actors, networks, and innovations remain recognizable as important, Western of they longer but as the stuff no saga, a vast saga of radical suffice rupture, fatal destiny, irreversible good or bad fortune. The antimoderns, the postmoderns, have accepted their adver­ like playing field. Another field - much broader, much less polemical ­ saries' has opened up before us : the field of nonmodern worlds. It is the Middle Kingdom, as vast as China and as little known.

56 3 D REVOLUTION 3.1 The of Their Own Success Modems, Victims apparatus If the has made them invincible, why of the critical moderns the over own destiny today ? If hesitating effectiveness of they are their depended precisely upon its obscure half, why the I now Constitution can it to luminous half? The bond between the two sets of practices relate its able to have for me to be indeed follow both the practices must changed purification and those of translation. If of can no longer adhere we wholeheartedly tasks of modernization, unforeseen obstacles must to the interfered with mechanism. What has happened that makes the have the ago of when a few years unthinkable, it was the work purification of networks that appeared absurd and deployment ? scandalous Let say that the moderns have been victims of their own us success. It is a crude I admit, yet it would appear explanation, the scope of the that mobilization of collectives had ended up multiplying hybrids to such an extent that the constitutional framework both denies and permits which existence could longer keep them in place. The modern their no has under its own weight, submer ged by the Constitution collapsed that it tolerated as material mixtures experimentation because it for simultaneously their impact upon the fabric of society. The dissimulated feel third estate ends too numerous to being that it is faithfully up represented either by the order of objects or by the order of subjects. When the thing at stake was the emergence of a few vacuum only two they still be subsumed under could classes, that of natural pumps, laws and that of political represen tations; but when we find ourselves invaded frozen embryos, expert systems, digital machines, sensor­ by equipped robots, hybrid corn, data banks, psychotropic drugs, whales outfitted with radar sounding devices, gene synthesizers, audience

57 REVOLUTION 50 and so when our daily newspapers display all these analyzers, on, page after and when none of these chimera can be monsters on page, object even or on the subject side, or the in between, properly on side of to It is as if the two poles done. the Constitution had has something be in the end precisely because of the practice of mediation been conflated Constitution at once liberates and disavows. It is as if there were that this the enough and critics to partition ges hybrids. The longer no jud has become as clogged as our judicial system. purification system modern the could have held up a little while longer Perhaps framework a its had not established development short circuit between if very on the one Nature and human masses on the other. So long as hand Nature remote and under control, it still vaguely resembled the was pole of tradition, seen as a mere constitutional and science could still be held uncover seemed to be Nature in reserve, to it. intermediary distant enough. But where are transcendent, to classify inexhaustible, we ozone story, or global warming or hole tation ? Where are we the defores put these hybrids ? Are they human ? Human because to are our they work. Are natural? Natural because they are not our doing. Are they they human masses or As for the Both. that have been made to local global? as a result of the virtues and vices multiply medicine and economics, of they no easier to situate. In are world are these multitudes to be what housed ? Are we in the realm of biology, sociology, natural history, ethics, sociobiology? This our own doing, yet the laws of demography and is are infinitely us. Is the demographic time bomb local economics beyond ? Both. of the two constitutional guarantees global the moderns or Thus, - inalienable rights of things, and the the of subjects - can universal laws longer be recognized either on the side of Nature or on the side of the no The the of Social. starving multitudes and the fate of our poor destiny that connected same Gordian knot the no Alexander will planet are by manage to sever. ever again us the then, that Let moderns have caved in. Their Constitution say, few absorb few counter-examples, a a exceptions - indeed, it could thrived on them. But it is helpless when the exceptions prolif erate, when the third of things and the Third World join together to invade all estate assemblies In order to accommodate those exceptions, its en masse. are hardly any different from those of savage thought (see below), which the we outline a space that is no longer the space of to modem need Constitution, because it fills the median zone that the Constitution claimed to empty. To the practice of purification - the horizontal line - we need add the practices of mediati on - the vertical line. to of fo llowing the multiplication of hybrids by projecting them Instead on to their longitude alone, we also need to identify them by means of a with which I latitude. diagnosis of the crisis The began this essay is now

58 51 IS A QUASI-OBJECT? WHAT Nature Pole The Modem The Multiplication of Hybrids The Nonmodem Dimension 3. 1 Purification Figure and mediation of hybrids has saturated the proliferation the constitutional clear: quite moderns have framework been using both of the moderns. The always practice, dimensions have always been explicit about each of in they but have never been explicit they the relation between the them, about sets of practices. Nonmoderns have to stress two beteen the relations if are to understand they moderns' successes and their both the them postmodernism. failures, not lapse into still By deploying both recent and at once, we may be able to accommodate dimensions hybrids and the give a place, a name, a home, a philosophy, an them and, I ontology hope, a new constitution. 3.2 What Is a Quasi-Object? Using the two dimensions at once, the longitude and the latitude, we may now be to locate the position of these strange new hybrids and to able understand for science studies we had to wait that in order to how come what, following Michel Serres (1987), I define call quasi-obj ects, shall quasi-subjects. little so, simply have to follow To do we comic strip in the Figure 3.2. Social scientists have for long allowed themselves to denounce the belief system ordinary people. They call this belief system 'naturalization' of people and 19 92 ). Ordinary (Bourdieu imagine that the Wacquant, power of gods, the obj ectivity of money, the attraction of fashion, the nature beauty art, come from some objective properties intrinsic to the of of things. Fortunately, social scientists know better and they show that

59 REVOLUTION 52 The double denunciation and its destruction Dualism - -- - - � � no.1 Denunciation no.l Society I o. n Nature -- -- � ... ... � , ' , h' e- hard' 'so ... ... no.2 �ety no.2 Narure ' � � , _____ ... ... - - - - 'soft' 'hard' - Belief no.1 3 1 - no.2 Belief _ Society no.l _ _ ,_ I no. Nature _ _ -- ... , -- - , ... ... 'hard' ... 'soft' J ··�di r.Q VP ... Nature no.2 ' ... ty � no.2 ... .,. ... ___ ... ... - - - - - 'soft' 'hard' Denunciation no.2 4 2 - - Quasi-object -- ... ... - , Nature ... ... , _____ ... ... Society Dialectic The locus of the quasi-object 6 5 Figure 3.2 What is a quasi-object? the arrow goes in fact in the other direction, from society to the objects. Gods, money, fashion art offer only a surface for the projection of and least since and interests. At needs Emile Durkheim, such has r social u o 15] en the price of entry int o the sociology profession (Durkheim, [19 e b 96 5). To become a social scientist is to realize that the inner properties 1 mere objects do not count, that they are human receptacles for f o tegories. a c The difficulty, however, is to reconcile this form of denunciation with of exactly in which the directions one the arrows are other reversed. n a Ordinary people, mere social actors, average citizens, believe that they their and motives their desires, their can modify they and e free that r a goes from the s now tional strategies at will. The arrow of their belief a r social fortunately, ct/Society pole scientists Nature pole. But to the ubje S

60 53 ? WHAT IS A QUASI-OBJECT standing guard, they denounce, and debunk and ridicule this naive are and the freedom of human subject and society. This time they use belief in the things results that is the indisputable of of the sciences - to the - nature and pliable determines, and moulds the soft informs wills of it show how humans. 'Naturalization' is no longer a bad word but the the poor that allows scientists to ally themselves with the shibboleth the social the All are now mobilized to (natural and social) sciences natural sciences. into humans the tum manipulat ed by objective forces - many puppets so which natural or social scientists happen to know. the only When together resources are put critical we now understand two the it is so difficult why social scientists to reach agreement on objects. for They 'see doubl e'. In the first denunciation, objects count for too they are there to be used as the white screen on to which nothing; just its second, But in the projects they are so powerful that society cinema. social the society, while the human construction of the they shape that have produced them remains invisible. Objects, things, sciences goods, of consumer art are either too weak or too strong. But still works are successive roles given to society. In the first denunciation, stranger the is so powerful that it is sui generis, it has no society cause than the more transcendental it replaces. It is so ego that it is able to mould originary and shape what is nothing more than an arbitrary and shapeless matter. In the form of denunciation, however, it has become powerless, second in turn powerful obje ctive forces that completely shaped by the too action. either too powerful or is weak vis-a-vis its Society determine alternatively too powerful objects which too arbitrary. are or solution this double contradictory to is so pervasive The denunciation it has been providing social scientists with most of their common that it sense; called dualism . The Nature pole will be partitioned into two is parts the will incude its 'softer' list - screens for projecting sets: first -w hile the second list social categories include all its 'harder' parts - will causes determining the fate of human for that is, the sciences categories: and the technologies. The same partition will be made on the Subject/ Society pole will be its 'harder' components - the sui generis social : there - 'softer' components - determined by the forces factors and its by sciences and technologies. Social scientists will happily discovered from to the alternate other showing without any trouble that for one the instance mere idols shaped by are requirements of social order, gods while the rules of society are determined by biology. To be this alternation is not very convincing. First, the lists are sure, the nature haphazardly, 'soft' list of the pole gathering all the made things social scientists happen to despise - religion, consumption, all popular and politics - while the 'hard' list is made of culture the sciences they naively believe in at the time - economics, genetics, biology,

61 REVOLUTION linguistics, brain sciences. Second, it is not clear why society needs to or projected on arbitrary objects if those objects count for nothing. Is be to weak that it continuous resuscitati on ? So terrible that, society so needs it And be seen only in a mirror? face, if religion, Medusa's should like 'materialize', 'embody' to 'reflect', 'reify', are or arts necessary styles then are - some of the social theorists' favourite verbs society - to use in not, end, its co-producers ? Is not society built literally - not the objects - machines, sciences, arts and gods, But then metaphorically of styles? illusion of the 'common' where in the bottom arrow of Figure is the actor .1? Maybe social scientists have simply forgotten that before 3.2 itself on to things society has projecting be made, built, constructed ? to And of what material could it be built if not out of nonsocial, non­ out resourc es ? social theory is forbidden to draw this conclusion human But no handed of objects except the one it has down to it because conception strong alternative sciences which are so 'hard' that they simply by the social order which in turn becomes flimsy and immaterial. determine Dualism may a poor solution, but it provided 99 per cent of the be sciences' repertoire, and nothing would have disturbed its social critical ul asymmetry if science studies had not blissf the applecart. Up to upset that point, had seemed to work, since dualism 'hard' part of society the was used on the 'soft' objects, while the 'hard' objects were used only on the 'soft' of society (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 19 92). Social scientists part denounce the did not believe in by using the solid could practices they society the had concocted and embracing of sciences they science they the confidence so as to establish complete social order. It is the had in of the Edinburgh school of social studies of science to have glory a crossover attempted (Barnes, 19 74 ; Barnes and Shapin, forbidden 81; 79; 6] 19 91; MacKenzie, 19 [197 Shapin, 19 92). They used 19 Bloor, critical repertoire that was reserved for the 'soft' the to parts of nature debunk 'harder' parts, the sciences themselves! In short, they wanted the had done for do science what Durkheim to religion, or Bourdieu for for fashion and taste; and they innocently thought that the social sciences would remain as easily as religion or unchanged, swallowing science invisible arts. was a big difference, there until then. Social the But did not really believe in religion and popular consumption. scientists did believe They science, however, from the bottom of their scientistic in hearts. Thus this breach of the dualists' game immediately bankrupted the whole enterprise. What had started as a 'social' study of science could not only succeed, and this is why it lasted course, a split second - just long of enough to reveal the terrible flaws of dualism. By treating the 'harder' is, parts nature in the same way as the softer ones - that of as arbitrary constructions determined by the interests and requirements of a

62 55 PHILOSOPHIES YAWNING GAP ... OVER THE society - the gh daredevils deprived the dualists - and sui generis Edinbur as indeed to realize - of half of their they were themselves, soon to everything had arbitrarily including the resources. Society produce laws of physics! The order, cosmic biology, chemistry, and the y of this claim was so blatant for the 'hard' parts of implau sibilit nature we that suddenly as ones was for the 'soft' it realized implausible how well. - categories social receptacles of shapeless not are the Objects ones nor the neither the ones. By disturbing the dualist pack 'hard' 'soft' cards, the social students of science, revealed the complete asymmetry of of the and second denunciations, and they also revealed - at least first - how badly were the social theory as well as the negatively constructed went with those denunciations. Society that neither that epistemology is that that nor are neither weak; weak nor that strong. The strong objects position of objects and society had to be entirely rethought. double resort dialectical To reasoning was no way to exit out of the to into which studies' had put the social sciences. Linking difficulty 'science of nature and society by as the two poles arrows and feedback many loops one wishes does not as the quasi·obj ects or quasi·subject relocate that I want to take into account. On the contrary, dialectics makes the ignorance of locus still deeper than in the dualist paradigm since it that to overcome by loops and spirals and other complex acrobatic feigns it literally . Quasi-objects around the bush Dialectics are in figures. beats very below two poles, at the and place around which between the and dialectics had turned endlessly without being able to come dualism terms to them. Quasi-obj ects are much more social, much more with much than the 'hard' parts of nature, but they fabricated, more collective in no way the arbitrary receptacles are full-fledged society. On the of a other are much more real, hand they and objective than those nonhuman shapeless screens on which society - for unknown reasons - needed to be 'projected'. By the impossible task of providing social explanations trying social scientific after generations of - scientists had tried for hard facts to denouce 'soft' facts or either use hard sciences uncritically - science to studies have forced everyone to rethink anew the role of objects in the construction of collectives, thus challenging philosophy. 3.3 Philosophies Stretched Yawning Gap Over the to have major How attempted the absorb both the modern philosophies Constitution and the quasi-obj ects, that Middle Kingdom which kept on expanding? we can identify three principal By simplifying considerably, strategies. objects first consists in establishing a great gap between The

63 REVOLUTIO N 56 subjects and increasing the distance between them; the and continually as the turn', focuses on the middle and second, known 'semiotic thus the the idea of Being, isolates rejecting abandons extremes; third the between objects, discourse whole subjects. divide and the a rapid survey of the undertake group. The more quasi­ Let me first objects multiply, the more the treat the two philosophies major as poles while they assert that incommensurable, constitutional even no urgent than their reconciliation. So these is there task more rate philosophies modern paradox in their own fashion by illust the what allow and allowing what they they Each of these fo rbidding forbid. is, of course, infinitely more subtle than my philosophies inadequate summary; one is by definition nonmodern since modernism has each begun; thus explicitly addresses the same problem I am never really each to address; their official and popularized attempting but awkwardly attest, on this point, to an interpretations nevertheless astonishing in way they define their the how to multiply quasi­ consistency task: without accepting them, in order to maintain objects Great Divide the that us both from our past and from other nature-cultures. separates and only as we have seen, fought so much Hobbes because they Boyle, just managing were to separate the. pole of natural mute barely from the pole of conscious speaking citizens. The two nonhumans artifacts were still so similar and so close to their common origin that the two could do no more than make a small cut through philosophers hybrids. It with Kantianism that our Constitution receives its truly the is What a mere distinction is sharpened into a formulation. was canonical a Copernican Revolution. Things-in-themselves become total separation, symmetrically, inaccessible transcendental subject becomes while, the the The two guarantees remain clearly infinitely remote from world. however, since knowledge is possible symmetrical, at the median only point, of phenomena, through an application of the two pure forms, that thing-in-itself subject. Hybrids are indeed accepted, but solely the and the mixtures of pure forms in as proportion. To be sure, the work of equal mediation remains visible, since Kant multiplies the stages needed to pass from the remote world of things to the still more remote world of the Ego. These however, are accepted only as simple inter­ mediations, forms which or transmit pure betray - the only mediaries, merely izable ones. Multiplying layers of intermediaries recogn it possible make to the role of the accept but without giving them an quasi-objects, ontology that would call the 'Copernican Revolution' back into question. This Kantian is still visible today every time the human mind formulation impose is the capacity to with forms arbitrarily on amorphous credited but real matter. To be sure, the Sun King around which objects revolve will be overturned in favour of many other pretenders - Society,

64 57 PHILOSOPHIES THE YAWNING GAP 0 0 0 OVER mental structures, categories, intersubjectivity, lan­ epistemes, cultural these palace guage; not alter the focal point, which I revolutions but will ociety. Subj reason, have called, for ect/S that derives from its attempt to traverse the The greatness of dialectics encompassing time, by all complete one premoderns, last the of circle divine, natural beings, in order to avoid the Kantianist social and the contradiction of purification and that of mediation. But between role the wrong It did manage to identify the picked contradiction. dialectics the Subject pole and the Object pole, but one did not see the between it between of the modern the whole that was establishing one Constitution and the proliferation of quasi-objects - a proliferation that itself marked the however, as much as it has marked our own. Or nineteenth century, dialectics thought absorb the second by resolving the rather, it would by abolishing that he was Yet Kant's separation between first. believing the subject, Hegel brought the separation even things-in-themselves and fully to life. He raised it to the level of a contradiction, pushed it to more limit the beyond, then made it the driving force of history. The and distinction a separation in the eighteenth seventeenth-century becomes then an even more complete contradiction in the nineteenth. It century, the mainspring of the entire plot. How could the modern became be better illustrated? Dialectics further enlarges the abyss that paradox separates the Object pole from the Subject pole, but since it surmounts and abolishes abyss in the end, it imagines that it has gone beyond this Dialectics speaks nothing but mediations, yet the countless Kant! of which it its grandiose history are only with peoples mediations transmit pure ontological qualities - either intermediaries the that of in right-wing version, or of matter, its its left-wing version. In spirit, in end, if there is a pair that no one can reconcile, the pole of Nature it is the and pole of Spirit, since their very opposition is retained and the - that than to say, denied. One can hardly be more modern abolished is The all our greatest modernizers, this. dialecticians were incontestably fact more in the they seemed in powerful to have gathered up the that totality of knowledge and the past and brought to bear all the resources of the critique. modern quasi-objects continue proliferate: those monsters of the first, But to third industrial revolutions, those socialized facts and these second and turned humans elements of the natural world. No sooner are into totalities in on themselves than closed start cracking all over. The they end of history is followed by history no matter what. to Again, time, phenomenology was last establish the great split, one but this time with less ballast: it jettisoned the two poles of pure itself, consciousness object and spread pure literally, over the middle, and could no an attempt to cover the now gaping hole that it sensed it in

65 REVOLUTION 5I ) nsurability hyper-incomme (postmoderns ) (Habermas incommensurability OF WORK PURIFICATION Nature Pole WORK OF MEDIATION of Multiplication The more the quasi-objects y, jects multipl quasi-ob the greater the grows between distinction the two poles Nonmodern Dimension Figure paradox 3.3 The modern Once again absorb. modern paradox is taken further. The longer the of intentionality transforms a distinction, a separation, a notion into contradiction, insurmountable tension between object and an since The dialectics are abandoned, of this tension offers subject. hopes resolution. The phenomenologists have the impression that they have no gone further than and Hegel and Marx, since they no longer Kant or any either to pure subjects attribute to pure objects. They essence really have the impression that they are speaking only of a mediation that does not any pole to hold fast. Yet like so many anxious require no that but a line between poles modernizers, they longer trace anything thus given objectivity greatest importance. Pure are and pure the consciousness are but they are nevertheless - indeed, all the missing, more - in place. The 'consciousness of something' becomes nothing more than a slender footbridge a gradually widening abyss. Pheno­ spanning they had menologists in - and to did. During the same period, cave Gaston Bachelard's dual enterprise - which further exaggerates the sense, objectivity the sciences by dint of breaking with common of and symmetrically exaggerates the objectless power of the imaginary by dint

66 9 5 THE END OF ENDS epistemological breaks - offers the symbol for this impossible of perfect drawing and (Bach elard, 19 67; Tile, 19 84) . this crisis, quartering 3.4 End of Ends The e story takes The involuntarily comic turn. The further th sequel to this an stretched, the more the whole business looks like a tightrope gap is great the splits. Up to this doing all these great philosophical point, walker movements and profound explored, serious; were they established, they prodigious the of quasi-objects; they accompanied they development believe, in spite wanted everything, that these objects could be to of up and digested. By speaking only of purity, they were aiming swallowed at grasping the work of the hybrids. All these thinkers only were passion interested in the exact sciences, in technologies and ately they recognized them both the risk and the economies, because in salvation. philosophies what can be said of the of that possibility But we to call later? the first place, what are in them ? Modern ? came And no longer attempt to hold on to both ends of the chain. No, because they Not is the worst Postmodern? still to come. Let us call them pre­ yet; They to they are transitional. that raise what had postmodern, indicate only a distinction, then a separation, then a contradiction, then been an insurmountable to the level of an incommensurability. tension, The modern as a whole had already declared that there is Constitution no common measure between the world of subje cts and the world of objects, but Constitution at once cancelled out the distance by that same the contrary, measuring humans and things alike with the practising by by intermediaries. mediators in the guise of yardsticks, same multiplying part, that their speaking subjects The pre-postmoderns, for truly believe with incommensurable objects and with technological are natural or that speaking subj ects ought efficacy, become so if they are not to incommensurable enough Thus they cancel out the modern already. while since that they are restoring it, project they comply with claiming of the the Constitution that speaks of purity but neglect the other half half, which practises only hybridization. They imagine that there are not - that there not be - any mediators. On the subject side, they invent must hermeneutics drift meaning, and they let the world of things speech, and of in void. On slowly other side of the mirror, its course, scientists the and technocrats take the symmetrical attitude. The more hermeneutics spins its web, the more naturalism does the same. But this repetition of E. 0. the history becomes a caricature: of Wilson and his genes divisions on one side ; Lacan and his analysands on the other. This pair of twins is intention, no faithful to the modern longer since they no longer make the

67 REVOLUTIO N 60 to think through paradox that consists in multiplying below the effort the existence hybrids above, and in imagining impossible is p whose recluded two. between relations the t the threat the modern worse when still It is project agains is defended of Habermas 87) makes one (19 the most Jiirgen of disappearance. Is he going to show at last that nothing has desperate attempts. ever things people? Is he going to take up the profoundly separated from once ? Will he demonstrate the practical arrange­ project again modern underlie the justifications of the Constitution ments finally that and the of hybrids as de masses and Nixon finally recognized accept Gaulle Chi na ? Quite the contrary: he judges that mainland supreme danger the arises the confusion of speaking and thinking subjects with the pure from and technical that is allowed by the old philosophy scientific rationality paradigm ss ! 'I suggested that the already of the consciousne have of objects has to be replaced by knowledge paradigm of mutual of the subj capable of speech and ects (p. 295-6 ). understanding between action' anyone has ever picked the wrong If it is surely this displaced enemy, twentieth-century that attempts to widen the abyss between Kantianism objects by the subject on the one hand, and communicational the known on the other; whereas the old consciousness had at reason the merit least of aiming the object, and thus of at the artificial origin of the recalling two constitutional poles. But Habermas wants to make the two poles incommensurable, at very moment when quasi-obj ects are multi­ the to such extent that it appears impossible to find a single one plying an or or a free speaking subject resembles a reified natural more less that was already unable to bring it off object. the middle of the Kant in Revolution; could Habermas manage how the sixth or Industrial it after revolutio n? And even seventh Kant multiplied the layering of so, intermediaries allowed him to re-establish the transitions between that is -themselves transcendental Ego. There the nothing of the things-in and when technological reason has to be kept as remote as sort from possible the discussion of human beings. free pre-postmoderns The something in common with the feudal have reaction at the very end of the Old Regime: never was the sense of honour more nor the calculation of degrees of nobilit y more prickly a radical yet late to bring off a bit separation between the precise; it was estate and the nobility! In the same third it is a bit too late to carry way, off coup of the Copernican the and make things revolve Revolution around intersubjectivity. Habermas and his disciples hold on to the modern project only abstaining from all empirical inquiry - not a by pages single in the five hundred study of his master work case (Habermas, [198 1] 1989); such an inquiry would bring the third estate to too quickly, and would be too intimately mixed up with the poor light

68 61 ENDS THE END OF subjects. Let perish, Habermas would say, speaking the networks communicational that to triumph. reason provided appears honest caricature respectable. Even in the remains Nevertheless, he and we still recognize the faded splendour of the the modern project of can eighteenth-century eenth-century ninet echo of the the ment, Enlighten or in this obsession with separating objectivity from Critique. Even communication w a scar trace, a reminder, arising from the grasp e can a postmod­ the very off such a separation. With of ty impossibili bringing the of the modern project is consummated. I have not erns, abandonment to designate found words ugly enough intellectual movement - or this rather, intellectual immobil ity thr ough which humans and non­ this are left drift. I call it 'hyper-incommen surability'. humans to A will the abdication of thought single modern example as illustrate postmodern the defeat of the as project. 'As a well self-inflicted I offer a balance sheet of disaster,' replies Jean-Fran�ois philosopher, who Lyotard, being asked by some well-meaning scientists to was conceptualize the links science to the human community: bond that maintain is nothing there I simply human about scientific expansion. that Perhaps brain is only the temporary bearer of a process of our complexification. It would then be a matter of detaching this process from what has supported to now. I am convinced that that is what you it up [scientists !] are in the process of doing. Computer genetic people science, and astrophysics, robotics, these discip­ physics engineering, astronautics, working toward preserving that complexity under lines are already of life on of life independent But I do not see in what conditions Earth. human, if by human this is collectivities with their cultural respect we mean established in a given period in precise traditions, on this planet. I locations don't doubt that this 'a-human' process may have some useful for a second benefits alongside its destructive effects. But this has fringe for humanity to do with the emancipation of human beings. (Lyotard, 1988, nothing p. xxxviii) To scientists who are surprised the this disastrous reckoning, and by continue to believe in the usefulness of philosophers, Lyotard replies lugubriously: 'I you have a long time to wai t!' But the debacle is think of 19 not that of philosophy (Hutcheon, that 89; postmodernism, 1991). they postmoderns believe Jameson, are still modern because The the total division between the material and technological they accept world on the one hand and the linguistic play of speaking subjects on the half other forgetting the bottom thus of the modern Constitution; or - because they relish only in the hybrid character of free floating networks upper and - thus forgetting the collages half of that same Constitution.

69 REVOLUTIO N 62 are mistaken, true moderns have always surreptitiously But they because order multiplied intermediaries to conceptualize the massive to in try sciences as their purification. The as have hybrids well expansion of communities as Boyle's pump always been as intimately linked to or It is the double that is modern, the Hobbes's contradiction Leviathan. and of Nature contradiction between the two constitutional guarantees and between the practice of pu rification and the Society on the one hand, on the other. practice believing in the total separation of of mediation By terms, really believing that scientists are extraterrestrials, the three by is immaterial, that technology is matter that politics is pure ahuman, that in fact finish the postmoderns modernism, by definitively simulacrum off away the mainspring that had been taking source of its tension. the There one positive thing to be said about the postmoderns: after is only there is nothing. Far being the last word, they mark the end of them, from moving is, end of ways of ending and of - that on that led to the ends the at an ever more vertiginous rate, of ever more radical and succession, revolutionary critiques. could we go further in the absence of How between or in the separation between the tension Nature and Society, of hybridization and that of purification? work we have to imagine Will some super-hyper-incommensura bility ? The 'postmods' are the end of history, and the most amusing part is that they really believe it. And to make quite that they are not naive, they claim to be delighted with clear end ! 'Y have nothing to expect from us,' Baudrillard and Lyotard that ou in in But it is no more indeed. their power to end delight saying. No; than it is not to be naive. They are simply stuck in the impasse of history avant-gardes that have no more troops behind them. Let them sleep all the let of the millennium, as Baudrillard advocates, and till us move end our to on Or rather, let us retrace other steps. Let us stop moving things. on. 3.5 Semiotic Turns While the modernizing philosophies were doing the splits between the two poles the Constitution in order to absorb the proliferation of of in cts, was being put strategy place to seize the middle quasi-obje another whose dimensions were continuing ground, expand. Instead of to concentrating on extremes of the the of purification, this strategy work concentrated on one of its mediations, language. Whether they are called 'semiotics', 'semiology' 'linguistic turns', the object of all these or is to make discourse not a transparent intermediary that philosophies would put the human subject in contact with the natural world, but a mediator independent of nature and society alike. This autonomization

70 SEMIOTIC TURNS 63 best minds of our time for the of the sphere of meaning the has occupied into an impasse, it is not because past half-century. If they too have led us reference', as the modernist they have man', 'forgotten 'abandoned or reaction they themselves have limited today, is declaring but because their enterprise to discourse alone. have deemed it impossible to autonomize meaning These philosophies by bracketing off, on the the question of reference to except one hand, and, on the other, of speaking and thinking world the natural the identity still occupies that median space of modern subje cts. For them, language the meeting point of phenome na); but instead of philosophy (for Kant, g it more or more or less opaque, more or less makin or less transparent faithful or less treacherous, it has taken over the entire space. or more Language a law unto itself, a law governing itself and its own has become The 'system of language', of language', the 'signifier', world. the 'play 'textuality', are some 'discours e' - these the 'text', 'writing', 'narratives', that designate Signs - to expand Barthes's title of the terms the Empire of [197 0] 19 82). While modernizing philosophers were increas­ (Barthes, reviving that separated objects from subjects by the distance ingly g them incommensurable, of language, discourse or makin philosophies middle ground that had texts were occupying the left vacant, been thinking themselves far removed from the natures and societies that they had bracketed off (Pavel, 1986). The greatness of these was that they developed, protected philosophies the dual tyranny of referents subjects, the concepts from and speaking that the mediators - mediators that are no longer give their dignity or simple vehicles conveying meaning simple Nature intermediaries from or vice versa. Texts and language make meaning; they even to Speakers, references internal to discourse produce installed and to the speakers within (Greimas, 19 76; Greimas and Courtes, 19 82). In order discourse natures need they to produce only themselves, and, by a and societies bootstrapping operation they extract their principle of reality strange from other narrative forms. Given the primacy of the signifier, the signifieds bustle in the vicinit y without retaining any special about The primary ; what it expresses or conveys is privilege. text becomes Speaking subjects secondary. into so many fictions are transformed generated by meaning effects; as for the author, he is no longer anything but the artifact of his own writings (Eco, 19 79) . The objects being spoken of become reality gliding over the surface of the writing. effects sign and sign system: architecture and cooking, Everything becomes fashion and mythology, politics - even the unconscious itself (Barthes, [19 19 88). 85] The great weakness of these philosophies, however, is to render more difficult the connections between an autonomized discourse and what

71 REVOLUTION they had shelved: the referent - on Nature's side - and the provisionally - on side of society/ subject. Once again, science studies speaker the to scientific disturbing applied semiotics played they role. their When only autonomization literatures of fiction, the not of discourse, and to As as (Bastide, in press ). artifice for rhetoric, it appeared discourse an meaning entirely when it had truth and changed to absorb its proof of and seduction (Latour, 1987 ). When we are dealing instead conviction technology that hard to imagine for long and we are a with science it is by that is discourse that is speaking all itself, a itself , a play of text writing without signifieds. It is hard to reduce the entire cosmos to signifiers a grand the physics of subatomic particles to a text, subway narrative, to rhetorical all social structures to discourse. The systems devices, Signs and no longer than Alexander's, of like Alexander's Empire lasted (Pavel, was and parcelled out to its generals up 19 89). Some it carved to render the autonomous system of language more plausible by wanted speaking subject or even the social group, and to that reestablishing the they went off search of the old sociology. Others sought to make end in less absurd by reestablishing contact with the referent, and they semiotics chose the world of science that of common sense in order to anchor or discourse again. Sociologization, naturalization; the choice is never once very broad. Others retained the original impetus of the Empire and set about deconstructing autono�ous glosses on autonomous themselves, to the point autodissolution. glosses, of only crucial we have learned that the point, way to this turning From the parallel traps of escape and sociologization from naturalization in language its autonomy. Without granting how could we consists it, that median space between natures and societies deploy to so as accommodate quasi-obj quasi-subjects? The various forms of semio­ ects, the offer chest for following excellent tool mediations of language. tics an by avoiding the double problem But connections to the referent and of connections the context, they prevent to from following the quasi­ us objects to the end. These latter, as I have said, are simultaneously real, discursive, and They belong to nature, to the collective and to social. If autonomizes discourse by turning nature over to the discourse. one and giving up society to the sociologists, one makes epistemologists it impossible to these three resources back together. stitch postmodern condition The recently sought to juxt apose these three has great resources of the modern critique - nature, society and discourse - are without connect them. If they to kept distinct, and if all even trying three are separate from the work of hybridization, the image of the modern they give is indeed terrifying: a nature and a technology world consciouness, are absolut ely sleek; a society made up solely of false that

72 WH O 65 H AS FORGOTTEN BEING? illusions; simulacra consisting only in meaning effects a and discourse ing; of appearances keeps everyth and this whole world detached from of networks that can be afloat other disconnected elements combined collage from all places and all times. Enough, indeed, to by haphazardly contemplate jumping off a cliff. Here is the cause of make one the flippant one that has taken over from the angst of postmoderns' despair, masters the absurd. However, postmoderns would predecessors, their of reached this never not they and dereliction have had derision degree of Being. cap - that they - to forgotten it all believed had Has Forgotten Being? 3.6 Who the beginning, though, the idea of the dif ference In Being and between beings seemed fairly good means of harbouring the quasi-obj ects, a a to that the modernizing philosophers and to that third strategy added of turns. or ects do not belong to Nature, linguistic to Society, of Quasi-obj language, to they do not belong to subject; either. By deconstruct­ or the metaphysics (that is, the modern Constitution taken in its isolation ing the work hybridizatio from n), Martin Heidegger designates the central of ects where together, remote from subj holds and objec ts point everything 'What is strange in the thinking of Being is alike. simplicity. Precisely its this us from it' (Hei degger, 19 keeps a). By revolving around this navel, 77 this omphalos, the philosopher does assert the existence of an articula­ tion between metaphysical and the work of mediation. purification is on descent to the poverty of its provisional essence. 'Thinking the into is the saying. In this way language gathers language Thinking simple of Being, the of are the clouds as the sky' (p. 24 2). language clouds immediately the philosopher loses this well-intentioned simplicity. But Ironically, Why? himself indicates the reason for this, in an apologue he a baker's Heraclitus to take shelter in used oven. 'Einai gar kai on who theous' - 'here, too, the entautha are present,' said Heraclitus to gods visitors who astonished to see were warming his poor carcass like an him ordinary mortal (Heidegger, 19 77b, p. 23 3). 'Auch hier niimlich wesen Gotter an.' is taken in as much as those naive visitors, But Heidegger he along his epigones do not expect to find Being except since the and Forest Holzwege. Being in reside Black ordinary beings. Every­ cannot in there where, The gods cannot reside is technology - that pure desert. Enframing (Zimmerman, 19 90) of being [Ge-Stell], that ineluctable fate are [Geschick supreme danger [Gef ahr] . They that not to be sought in ], science, either, since science has no other essence but that of technology (Hei 19 77 b). They are absent from politics, sociology, psychol­ degger, ogy, its history - which is the history of Being, and counts anthropology,

73 REVOLUTION 66 in millennia. The gods in economics - that pure epochs cannot reside mired calculation They are not to be found in beings forever and worry. both lost sight of their in ontology, of which in philosophy, either, or ago. Thus Heidegger treats destiny world as the 2,500 years the modern with contempt. Heraclitus: visitors treat too the gods are presen And plant on yet - 'here t': in a hydroelectric of the Rhine, particles, in Adidas shoes as well as the banks in subatomic hollowed in agribusiness as well as clogs out by hand, in the old wooden in shopkeepers' calculations as well in timeworn landscapes, as in heartrending verse. But why do those philosophers no longer Holderlin's them? Because they believe recognize the modern Constitution says what about This paradox should no longer astonish us. The moderns itself! declare that technology but pure instrumental mastery, indeed is nothing Enframing [Das Ge-Stell], Stamping pure that econo­ science and pure is pure capitalism pure reproduction, the subject pure mics calculation, Purity everywhere ! They claim this, but we must be consciousness. not to take at their careful word, since what they are asserting is them half of the modern work of purification that distils what only world, the of hybridization supplies. the work has forgotten Being ? No one, no one ever has, otherwise Nature Who be truly would as a pure 'stock'. Look around you: scientific available objects are circulating simul taneously as subjects objects and discourse. Networks are full of Being. they are laden with subjects As for machines, How could lose its difference, its incompleteness, and collectives. a being of Being in anyone's power; otherwise its trace ? Th is is never its mark, to imagine that we have we should been modern, we should be have truly in by the upper half of the modern Constitution. taken however, actually forgotten Being Has someone, who ? Yes: anyone really has really been forgo tten. As Levi-Strauss says, thinks that Being is first and foremost the who believes in barbari sm.' 'the barbarian man [1952] 1987, p. 12). Those who have (Levi-Strauss, to undertake failed empirical studies of sciences, technologies, law, politics, economics, religion or fiction have lost the traces of Being that are distributed everywhere among If, scorning empiric ism, you opt out of the beings. sciences, then sciences, then traditional philosophy, exact the human of language, and you hunker down then the sciences forest - then in your you will indeed feel a tragic loss. But what is mi ssing is you yourself, not the world! Heidegger's epigones have converted that glaring weakness into a strength. 'We don't know empirical, but that doesn't anything since your matter, is empty of Being. We are keeping the little world flame of Being safe from everything, and you, who have all the rest, have and nothing.' On the contrary: everything, since we have Being, we have beings, and we have never lost track of the difference between Being

74 THE 67 PAST BEGINNI NG OF THE We are carrying out the impossible by and beings. project undertaken what Heidegger, said about itself the modern who believed Constitution is at issue half of a larger is only that what without understanding there abandoned the old anthropological matrix. which mechanism has never since there has never been a modern world, or, No one can forget Being, token, by the We have always remained pre-Socratic, same metaphysics. pre-Cartesian, can No radical revolution schean. pre-Nietz pre-Kantian, these us from so there is no need for reactionary counter­ separate pasts, revolutions us back to what has never been abandoned. Yes, to lead Heraclitus is a surer than Heidegger: 'Einai gar kai entautha guide .' theous Beginning of the Past l. 7 The cts was thus by three different of quasi-obje greeted The proliferation the ever-increasing separation between strategies: of first, the pole - things-in-themselves - and that of Society or the subject - Nature second, the autonomization of language or people-among-themselves; finally, meaning; of Western metaphysics. Four the deconstruction resources the modern critique to develop these acids: different allow sociologization, discursivization, naturalization, the forget­ and finally ting of Being. No single one of these resources makes it possible to understand the modern world. If they are put together but kept separate, the situation is still worse, results lead only to the ironic despair for their is postmodernism. All these resources share the whose symptom critical both of hybrids of the proliferation to follow and the failure the work of purification. to exit from the postmoderns' paralysis, it work In order to reutilize all these resources, but they must be pieced together suffices to work in shadowing quasi -objects or networks. and put we to make critical resources work together, given But how are these they have emerged only that their disputes with one as a result of another ? We have to retrace our steps, in order to deploy an intellectual space large enough to accommodate both the tasks of purification and the tasks - that is, the two halves of the modern world. But of mediation can we retrace by the the modern world marked how our steps? Isn't of time? Doesn't it the past? Doesn't arrow it break definitively consume the past? Doesn't the very cause of the current prostration come with precisely from a 'post' modern era that would inevitably succeed the preceding one, in a series of catastrophic upheavals, itself which, succeeded eras? Hasn't history already ended ? By seeking the premodern to harbour at the same time as their Constitution, we are quasi-objects we to consider the temporal framework of the moderns. Since obliged

75 REVOLUTION 68 refuse to postmods , we cannot propose to return to pass a the ter' 'af nonmodern we left, without a modification in the never have world that itself. time of passage We of the of quasi-objects to that definition time, and time from are led a modern and a nonmodern dimension, a longitude and a too has one latitude. better than Charles Peguy in his Clio, No has expressed this on also brewing of history (Peguy, 19 61a ; see meditation a stunning the to a 77) time 19 well situate events with respect . Calendar Latour, may historicity situates the same events with regulated series of dates, but to respect intensity. This is what the muse of history drolly explains their in comparing Hugo's terrible play Les Burgraves - an accumula­ Victor of time without oricity - to a little phrase of Beaumarchais - a tion hist historicity history: of without perfect example am told that Hatto, the son of Magnus, the Marquis 'When I of Verona, of Nollig, is the father of Gorlois, son of Hatto (bastard), the Burgrave of Sareck, I learn nothing,' she [Clio] says. 'I do not know them. I Burgrave shall never them. But when I am told that Cherubino is dead, in a know storming he had not been assigned, oh, then I really swift of a fort to which something. And I know quite well learn I am being told. A secret what trembling alerts me to the fact that I have heard.' (p. 276; original emphasis) The modern passage of time is nothing but a particular form of historicity. Where we get the idea of time that passes? From the do Constitution itself. is here to remind us: the modern Anthropology as time of interpreted in several ways - can a cycle or as passage be as a fall or as instability, as a return or as a continuous decadence, Let of call the interpretation presence. this passage temporalit y, in us to it carefully from time. The moderns ha ve a peculiar distinguish order for understanding time that passes as propensity it were really if abolishing past behind it. They the take themselves for Attila, in all whose footsteps no grass grows back. They do not feel that they are removed from Middle Ages by a certain number of centuries, but that the are separated Copernican revolutions, epistemological breaks, they by ruptures so radical that nothing of that epistemic survives in them - past nothing of that past ought to survive in them. 'That theory of progress amounts essentially to a theory of savings banks,' says Clio. and universally, it presupposes, it create s an enormous 'Overall, universal bank for the entire human community, a huge intellectual savings savings bank, general and even universal, automatic, for the whole human community, in the sense that humanity would make deposits in automatic it and the never withdraw from it. And in the sense that would

76 THE 69 OF THE PAST ING BEGINN keep on depositing tirelessly, on their own contributions themselves, would of progress. initiative. A And such are Such is its blueprints. the theory , p. 129} (Peguy, stepladder.' 1961a moderns is for everything the eliminated indeed passes Since that ever, an irreversible arrow, as sense as progress. But time as capitalization, temporality imposed upon a temporal is that works this since regime ferently, the quite of discord are multiplied. As Nietzsche dif symptoms long the moderns suffer from the illness of historicism. observed ago, to they everything, date everything, because they think want They keep broken with their more The definitively they accumulate have past. the save; the more they capitalize, the more they revolutions, more they on display in museums. Maniacal destruction is put by counterbalanced an maniacal conservation. Historians reconstitute the past, detail equally detail, all more carefully inasmuch as it has been swallowed up for by the are as as far removed from our past But we want to think we we ever. because modern temporality does not have much effect on the ? No, are time. The past remains, therefore, and even returns. Now this passage of is incomprehensible to the moderns. Thus they treat it as the resurgence 'If of view it as an archaism. They we aren't careful,' return the repressed. think, 'we're going to return to the they we're going to fall back into past; the Age s.' Historical reconstitution Dark archaism are two symp­ and toms of the moderns' incapacity to eliminate what they nevertheless have to eliminate in to retain the impression that time passes. order I explain that attempt to abolish the past but cannot do If revolutions run a reactionary. risk of being taken for I again This is because so, the enemies, the as for their antimodern - as well as for their for modems enemies - time's arrow is unambiguous: one can false postmodern go forward, then one must break with the past; one can choose to go but but avant-gardes, one has to break with the modernizing backward, then have own radically with their which past. This diktat organized broken thought until the last few years - without, of course, having any modern effect on the practice of mediation, a practice that has always mixed up epochs, genres, ideas as heterogeneous as those of the premoderns. If and out, is we are incapable of carrying thing we now know, it is a there one whether it be in science, revolution, politics or philosophy. technology, But are still modern when we we this fact as a disappoint ment, interpret as if archaism had invaded everything, as if there no longer existed any public where we could pile up the repressed material behind us. dump We are still postmodern when we attempt to rise above this disappoint­ times ment juxtaposing in a collage elements from all by - elements that are all equally outdated and outmoded.

77 REVOLUTION 70 Revo lutionary 3.8 The Miracle between the modern form What is of temporality the connection and the tacitly the two asymmetries of Nature which links modern Constitution, to proliferate underneath? Why and Society the and allows hybrids does us to experience time as a revolution that oblige modern Constitution and over always again, has has to start over again? The answer, once offered foray of science studies into history. The social been by the daring the usual of cultural tried to apply history no history of science tools to the soft local human events but to the hard longer contingent and universal phenomena of Nature. Once again, necessary historians be an easy task simply adding a new wing to the that it would believed of history. And, again, the absorption of sciences forced them castle once of the hidden assumptions of 'norm al' history exactly to reconsider most sociology, philosophy or anthropol­ as it had done for the assumptions of conception of time, as it is embedded into the discipline ogy. The modern story - strangely of hi enough - on a certain conception of depends that suppresses objects and presents science the ins and outs of Nature's sudden emergence as if it were miraculous. their Modern time of inexplicable apparitions attributable to is a succession between the history of sciences or technologies and just the distinction plain history. If you suppress Boyle and Hobbes and their disputes, if you eliminate the work the pump, the domestication of of constructing the invention of a crossed-out the restoration of English colleagues, God, are you going discovery ? The air's how to account for Boyle's Royalty, nowhere. spring fully armed. In order to explain comes from It emerges becomes a great mystery, you are going to have to construct an what time that is adapted image of emergence of new things to this miraculous always been there, and to human fabrications that no that have already has ever made. The idea of radical human is the only solution revolution the moderns have imagined to explain the emergence of the hybrids that their Constitution simultaneously forbids and allows, and in order to avoid another the notion that things themselves have a monster: history. There are reasons for thinking that the idea of political good was borrowed from the idea of scientific revolution (Cohen, revolution why. How could Lavoisier's chemistry not 1985). We can understand have been an absolute novelty, since the great scientist eradicated all the traces of his construction bound him to his and cut all the ties that whom predecessors, to obscurity? That he should have been he relegated executed with the same guillotine he had used on his elders, and in the name of the same obscurantist Enlightenment, is a sinister irony of

78 THE 71 MIRACLE REV OLUTIONARY history 1989). The genesis of scientific or technologi­ (Bensaude- Vincent, in the modern Constitution because cal innovations is so mysterious only and laws becomes of local fabricated the universal transcendence a scandal. The history of unthinkable, and has to remain so, to avoid to remain contingent, agitated by is going for its part, human beings, From sound and fury. histories: two different be on there now will thus universal one dealing that have always been with things and necessary lacking any present, historicity or epistemo­ but that of total revolutions logical breaks; the other focusing on the more or less contingent or more agitation of poor human beings detached from or less durable things. Through between the contingent and the necessary, the this distinction and the atemporal, of the moderns will be historical the history to the emergence - the Pythagorean owing of the nonliumans punctuated the laws of gravity, the steam engine, theorem, heliocentrism, Lavoisier's Pasteur's vaccination, the atomic bomb, the computer - and chemistry, occasion time will be reckoned starting on each miraculous from these beginnings, each incarnation in the history of transcendent secularizing ' ' People to distinguish the time sc sciences. are going 'AC' with and respect to computers as do the years 'before Christ' and 'after they the vocal tremors that often accompany declarations on the Christ'. With modern destiny, people even go to the extent of speaking of a 'Judaeo­ Christian conception whereas that notion is an anachronism, of time', neither Jewish nor Christian theologians have had any since mystics Constitution. have con­ the modern They inclination whatsoever for regime of time around Presence structed is, the presence of their (that not around the emergence of the vacuum, or DNA, or God), and or automated factories ... microchips, temporality Modern 'Judaeo-Christian' about it and, has nothing nothing It is a projection of the Middle fortunately, durable either. on to a line transformed into an arrow by the brutal separation Kingdom what has no history but emerges nevertheless in history - the between things - and what never leaves history - the labours and of nature passion of hu mans. The asymmetry between nature and culture then becomes an asymmetry past and future. The past was the between of things will no longer confuse confusion and men; the fu ture is what Modernization consists in continually exiting from an obscure age them. the needs of society with scientific truth, in order to enter that mingled into age that will finally distinguish clearly what belongs to a new a temporal nature and what comes from humans, what depends on things and what to signs. Modern temporality arises from a super­ belongs position of the difference between past and future with another difference, more important, between mediation and purifica­ so much revolutions, The present is outlined by a series of radical breaks, tion.

79 REVOLUTION n constitute so irreversible ratchets which many us from ever that prevent this line is as empty as the scansion of a In going backward. itself, to line on that the moderns will project the metronome. this Yet it is and, with the aid of these objects, will quasi-objects multiplication of series of irreversible advances: one upward, toward trace two progress, the downward, toward decadence. and other 3. 9 The End of the Pass ing Past the world and of communities on of ever-larger scale The mobilization an actors who make up multiplies natures and our societies, but the our in their mobilization implies an ordered and systematic passage nothing time. However, thanks to their quite of form of temporality, the peculiar moderns will the proliferation of new actors either as a form of order an accumulation conquests, or as an invasion of capitalism, of succession are catastrophes. Progress and decadence a barbarians, of same great two the two have the resources, origin. On each of their and three lines - calendar time, progress, decadence - it will these be possible to the antimoderns, who accept modern temporality but reverse its locate In they to wipe out progress or degeneracy, direction. want to order the if there were - as return toward a past! past that is What the very modern impression the source we are living a of new time that breaks with the past ? Of a liaison, a repetition that in itself has nothing about it (Deleuze, 196 8)? The impression of temporal irreversibly is only when we bind together the cohort passing generated systematic that up our elements universe. It is their make of day-to-day and the replacement of these elements by others rendered just cohesion, coherent in the subsequent period, which gives us the impression of as time that of a continuous flow going from the future toward the passes, - made a stepladder, as Peguy says. Entities have to be past of other things by in contemporary and have to be replaced by moving step equally well aligned if time is to become a flow. Modern temporality is the result of a retraining imposed on entities which would pertain to all sorts of and possess all sorts of ontological statuses without this times disciplining. harsh vacuum pump in itself is no more modern than it is revolutionary. The actors, associates, and redeploys countless combines some of whom are It fresh and novel - the King of England, the Vacuum, the weight of air - but not of whom can be seen as new. Their cohesiveness is not all to allow a clean break with the past. A whole supplementary sufficient work of sorting out, cleaning up and dividing up is required to obtain the in impression a modernization that goes of step with time. If we place

80 T HE 73 PAST END OF THE PASSING in eternity Boyle's upon England, and they now discoveries fall suddenly and Descartes g them of Galileo by linkin if we connect them with those we reject Boyle's belief in a 'scientific method ', and if, finally, in miracles get the impression of a radically new modern time. we then as archaic, irreversible arrow - progress or decadence - stems The notion of an from ordering cts, of quasi-obje proliferation an the moderns whose cannot is itself due to the time Irreversibility explain. of in the course transcendence of the which indeed escape all sciences and technologies, for the moderns, since the two halves of their Constitu­ comprehension tion specified are never It is a classificatory device for together. ing the inadmissib le origin and social entities dissimulat of the natural of mediation down Just as they eliminate the ins the work below. from so the moderns interpret and outs of all the hybrids, the heterogeneous as systematic totalities in which everything would hold rearrangements Modernizing progress is thinkable only on condition that all the together. that are contemporary elements to the calendar belong to the according For this to be the case, these elements have to form same time. a complete Then, izable cohort. time forms a continuous and recogn and only then, flow, and progressive the moderns declare themselves the avant­ of which garde and the antimoderns the rearguard while the premoderns are left on the sideline of complete stagnation. This beautiful order is disturbed once the quasi-objects are seen as mixing up different periods, or genres. Then a historical ontologies will give the impression of a great hotchpotch. of a fine period Instead we will most a turbulent flow of whirlpools and ary flow, often get lamin becomes reversible instead rapids. At first, this does Time of irreversible. the moderns. They consider everything that does not march in not bother progress archaic, step with or conservative. And as there are irrational antimoderns are delighted to play the reactionary role that the who scenario dramas the great modern of luminous has prepared for them, against obscurantism progress struggling the mad (or the anti drama of revolutionaries against reasonable conservatives) can be deployed, all the same, for the greater pleasure of the spectators. But if the modernizing temporalit y is to continue to the impression of an ordered front function, sharing contemporary time has to remain credible. of entities the same there must not be too many counter-examples. Thus prolif erate If they too much, it becomes impossi ble to speak of archaism, or of a return of the repressed. The proliferation of quasi-objects has exploded modern temporality along with The moderns' flight into the future ground to its Constitution. a halt perhaps years ago, perhaps ten, perhaps last year, with the twenty multiplication of exceptions that nobody could situate in the regular flow of time. First, there were the skyscrapers of postmodern archit ecture -

81 ON REVOLUTI 74 ecture is at the origin of expre ssion) ; then (archit this unfortunate revolution, Khomeini's managed to peg as which Islamic no one then on, the exceptions popped From have revolutionary or reactionary. categorize up without that belong to the cease. No one can now actors 's in a single coherent group. No one knows any longer ame time' whether of the bear kolkhozes, aerosols, the Green the reintroduction in Pyrenees, vaccine, the Muslim religion, the anti-smallpox Star Wars, Revolution, the French Revolution, service partridge labour hunting, industries, cold fusion, Bolshevism, relativity, Slovak nationalism, commer­ unions, and so on, are outmoded, cial sailboats, futuristic, atemporal, up to date, nonexistent, It is this whirlpool in the temporal flow that or permanent. have sensed so early so much sensitivity in the the postmoderns and with of fine arts and politics (Hutcheon, movements two avant-garde 1989). is a symptom, not a solution. The As always, however, postmodernism the modern framework but disperse the elements that postmoderns retain grouped together in a well-ordered cluster. The the modernizers are right postmoderns the dispersion; every contemporary about is polytemporal. are wrong to retain the framework assembly But they on believing in the requirement of continual and to keep that novelty modernism demanded. By mixin g elements of the past together in the form of collages and citations, the postmoderns recognize to what extent these citations outdated. Moreover, it is because they are are truly that the postmoderns up, in order to shock the outmoded dig them avant-gardes know no longer 'modernist' at what altar to former who a provocative quotation extracted out worship. But it is a long way from finished past to a reprise, of a truly or revisiting of a past that repetition . has never disappeared. and Multiple 3.10 Triage Times nothing obliges us to maintain modern temporality with Fortunately, its succession of radical revolutions, its antimoderns who return to what they think is the past, and its double concert of praise and complaint, for or against continual for or against continual degeneration. We progress, for ever to this temporality us to understand are not attached that allows our past nor our future, and that forces us to shelve the totality neither of the human and nonh uman third worlds. It would be better to say that modern temporality has stopped passing. Let us not bemoan the fact, for our real history the vaguest of relations with the Procrustean had only and their enemies imposed on it. bed that the modernizers Time is not a general framework but a provisional result of the connection among entities. Modern discipline has reassembled, hooked

82 TRIAGE AND TIMES MULTIPLE 75 together, of contemporary elements to hold it systematized the cohort to eliminate together to the system. those and thus that do not belong it has - there failed. There are no longer has failed; This attempt always but elements that elude the system, objects been have never - anything and duration are uncerta in. It is not only the Bedouins and whose date and traditional the !Kung who plastic mix up transistors behaviours, n vessels. country could not be called 'a and animal-ski What buckets all reached the point of mixin land of contrast We s'? We have g up times. all become premodern again. If we can no longer progress in the have of the moderns, fashion we regress in the fashion of the must antimoder pass from one temporality to the other, ns? No, we have to a temporality, in itself, has nothing about it. It is a means since temporal and filing the classifica­ away. If we change entities of connecting them we get a different on the basis of the same tion principle, temporality events. for example, that we are going to regroup the Let us suppose, contemporary elements a spiral rather than a line. We do have a along past, in the form of a circle expanding future and a but the future takes and the past but revisited, all directions, repeated, is not surpassed surrounded, recombined, reinterpreted and reshuffled. Elements protected, that appear remote if we follow the spiral may turn out to be quite nearby if we compare loops. elements that are quite Conversely, if we judge by the line, become quite remote if contemporary, we traverse does not us to use the labels 'archaic' a temporality oblige a spoke. Such every cohort of contemporary elements may or 'advanced ', since bring elements from all times. In such a framework, our actions are together recognized at last as polytemporal. use an electric drill, I may use a hammer. The former is but I also thirty-five old, the latter hundreds of thousands. Will you see me as years expert because I mix up gestures from different a DIY 'of contrasts' ? Would I be an ethnographic curiosity times show me ? On the contrary: an activity that is homogeneous from the point of view of the modern time. Some of my genes are 500 millio n years old, others 3 million, others 100,000 years, range in age from a few days to several and my habits As Peguy's said, and as Michel Serres repeats, 'we thousand years. Clio and brewers of time' (Serres and Latour, 1992). It is this are exchangers that defines us, not the calendar or the flow that the moderns exchange had constructed for us. Pile up the burgraves one behind the other, and you will still not have time. Go down sideways to grab hold of the event of Cherubino in its intensity, and time will be given unto you. 's death traditional, then? Not that either. The idea of a stable tradition Are we is an illusion that anthropologists have long since set to rights. The immut able traditions have all budged - the day before yesterday. Most

83 REVOLUTION 76 folklores are the 'centenary' Scottish kilt, invented out of ancestral like at the beginning the nineteenth century (Trevor-Roper, whole cloth of the town du Tastevin of my little or in Burgundy, 19 83), Chevaliers without old. 'Peoples history' whose millennia} not years fifty ritual is were thought theirs was radically new (Goody, invented by those who 19 In the former innovate constantly ; the latter are forced to practice, 86). indefinit through the same rituals of revolutions, repass ely pass and and quarrel of the epistemological the Moderns. breaks, Classics against not traditional; one chooses born become traditional by One is to innovation. The idea of an identical repetition constant past and of the that a radical rupture with any past are two symmetrical results of a of conception of We cannot return to the past, to tradition, to single time. these great the domains are because inverted image repetition, immobile to earth is no longer promised the us today: progress, permanent of that modernization, forward flight. revolution, are can do, if we What move neither forward nor backward? we to our We have never moved either forward or Displace attention. We have always actively sorted out elements belonging to backward. times. different can still sort. It is the sorting that makes the times, We that make the sorting. Modernism - like its anti- and post­ not the times modern corollaries - was only the provisional result of a selection made by a small of agents in the name of all. If there are more of us number regain the capacity do our own sorting of the elements that who to our of we will rediscover the freedom to movement that belong time, have denied that, in fact, we freedom never really lost. modernism us - a are not emerging from an obscure past that confused natures and We in order to arrive at a future in which the two poles will finally cultures cleanly We to the continual revolution of the present. separate owing never and into a homogeneous have planetary flow arriving plunged depths either or from the future of time. Modernization has from the never occurred. There is no tide, long in rising, that would be flowing again today. There has been such a tide. We can go on to other never that - that the multiple entities return to have always passed in things is, ferent way. a dif Copernican er-re 3.1 1 A volution Count the we been able If keep had human multitudes and the nonhuman to environment repressed behind us longer, we would probably have been modern able to believe that continue times were really passing while to eliminating everything in their path. But the repressed has returned. The as human are here again, in the East masses well as in the South, and the

84 77 A COPERNICAN COUNTER-REVOLUTION variety of nonhuman have arrived from Everywhere. They infinite masses can be surpassed, because can no longer be exploite no longer d. They nothing than There is nothing greater the surpasses them any longer. us; Eastern peoples can no longer be reduced to their nature surrounding proletarian World masses, nothing will des; as for the Third avant-gar How can we absorb them? The moderns raise the circumscribe them. How can all be modernized? We might have in anguish. they question we could do it; we can no longer believe done it; we thought it possible. liner that slows down and then comes to a standstill in Like a great ocean Sea, the moderns' time has the Sargasso been suspended. But time finally has nothing to it. The connections among beings alone make do with It was the systematic connection in a coherent whole that time. of entities of modern that this laminary Now the flow flow has constituted time. we can give up analyses of the empty framework of become turbulent, and return to passing time - that is, to beings and their temporality the networks that construct ibility and rever­ relationships, to irrevers y. sibilit for classifying entities be changed ? How can But how can the principle multitudes be given a representation, a lineage, a civil the illegitimate ? How status terra incognita that is nevertheless so familiar to us can this ? How can we go from the world of objects or that of subjects be explored to wh at I have called quasi -objects or quasi-subje cts? How can we move from transcendent/immanent to a nature that is still just as real, Nature the scientific laboratory transformed into but extracted from and then ? How from immane nt/transcendent Society reality can we shift external ? How toward collectives the of humans and nonhumans can we go from God to the God of origins who transcendent/immanent crossed-out perhaps be called the God below? How are we to gain access should to networks, those whose topology is so odd and whose ontology is beings more beings that possess both the capacity to connect and even unusual, divide - that is, the capacity to produce the capacity to time and both space ? How are we to conceptualize the Middle Kingdom ? As I have said, we have to trace both the modern dimension and the nonmodern dimension, we have the latitude and longitude that will allow to deploy maps both to the work of mediation and to the work us to draw adapted of purification. knew perfectly well how The moderns of this Kingdom. to conceive They did not make quasi- objects disappear by eradication and denial, as if they wanted to simply repress them. On the contrary, they recogn ized their existence it of any relevance by turning full-blown but emptied mediators intermediaries. An intermediary - although recog­ into mere nized as necessary - simply transports, transfers, transmits energy from one of the poles of the Constitution. It is void in itself and can only be

85 REVOLUTION 78 less faithful A mediator, however, is an original or more or less opaque. what event the entities between which it translates and creates as well as If we simply role to all this mediating role. it plays the mediating restore the same composed of exactly the same entities exactly the agents, world modern and becomes what it has never ceased to be - that is, cease being did the modern nonmodern. to specify and cancel out the How manage both at By conceiving every hybrid as a mixture of mediation once? work explanations consisted in splitting the of two pure fo rms. The modern in order to extract from them what came from the subject apart mixtures came from the object. Next they (or the social) and what the multiplied intermediaries to reconstruct the unity they had broken and in order none the less to retrieve blends of pure forms. So these wanted through and three always had of analysis aspects: a operations synthesis a divided separation, and a progressive reblend­ preliminary purification, explanation always began from the poles and headed ing. The critical toward the middle, was first the separation point and then the which point resources - the place of phenomena in conjunction for opposing great narrative. In this way the middle was simul Kant's taneously maint and abolished, recognized and denied, specified ained and silenced. This is why I can say without contradicting myself that no one has ever been modern, and that we have to stop being so. The necessity of multiplying intermediaries lost unity has always been to reconstruct the - thus no one except the postmods believes in the two recognized really Nature radically distinct from free-f loating poles of and Society extreme - but as long as those and disconnected were networks intermediaries as mixtures made of pure forms, the belief in the existence of a seen world was inescapable. The modern difference hinges on the whole apparently nuance between mediators and intermediaries (Hen­ small 1991). nion, seek to deploy the Middle Kingdom for itself, we are obliged to If we the general explanations. invert The point of separation - form of the tion - becomes the point of departure. The explanations no and conjunc longer proceed from pure forms toward phenomena, but from the centre toward the extremes. latter are no longer reality's point of The but so many and partial results. The layering of attachment, provisional is replaced by chains of mediators, intermediaries to the model according proposed by Antoine Hennion. Instead of denying the existence of hybrids - and reconstructing them awkwardly under the name of intermediaries - this explanatory allows us instead to integrate the model work of as a particular case of mediation. The only purification difference between the modern and nonmodern conception is therefore requiring breached, purification is considered as a useful work since instruments, institutions and know-how whereas in the modern para-

86 FROM INTERMEDIARIES TORS TO MEDIA 79 digm function and no apparent necessity in the there was no explicit work of mediation. Kant's offers a perfected Copernican Revolution, seen, as we have by making the object revolve for modernizing model explanations, [foyer] and multiplying the intermediaries to cancel around a new focus the two poles little by little. But nothing obliges us out distance between event us for ever on the sure as a decisive that sets to take that revolution morality and theology. path reversal may be likened to of science, This Revolution with which it is linked : they are excellent tools for the French makin g time but they are not irreversible in themselves. I call irreversible, reversal - or rather centreward and this reversed this shift of the extremes that makes revolve object and subject a movement downward, both the practice cts and mediators - a Copernican around of quasi-obje We do not need to attach our explanations to the counter-revolution. two pure forms as the Object or Subject/Society, because these known contrary, and purified results of the central practice are, on the partial our sole concern. The explanations that is will indeed obtain we seek Nature and Society, but only as a final outcome, not as a beginning. Nature does revolve, but not around the Subject/Society. It revolves around the collective things and people. The Subject does that produces but not around Nature. It revolves the collective out of revolve, around and things At last the Middle Kingdom is people are generated. which and societies represented. satellites. Natures are its Intermediaries to Media tors 3. 12 From as we bring about the Copernican counter-revolution As soon and place the quasi-object below and equidi stant from the former in a position and the former ong-themselves, when things-in-themselves humans-am to our usual practice, we notice that there is we return no longer any reason to limit the ontological varieties that matter to two (or three, counting the crossed-out God). Is the vacuum pump that has served as our example hitherto a new ontological variety right? We cannot use asymmetrical in its own to answer since they will be unable to locate the historians this question, ontological problem. Some common be historians only of will seventeenth-century England, and will have no interest whatsoever in the pump except to make it emerge miraculously from the Heaven of Ideas to establish their On the other side, scientists and epistemolog­ chronology. ists will describe of the vacuum without paying the slightest the physics attention to England, or even to Boyle. Let us set aside these asymmetrical tasks, one of which ignores nonhumans and the other

87 REVOLUTION 80 historians who will compare the two humans, al and suppose symmetric balance sheets or int�rmediaries. using when mediators In be Copernican Revolution there will the no world modern of the new are supposed to split entities, in two dividing its since we it the two poles: part would head a first the right among originality toward become 'Laws of Nature'; a second part and move leftward would would become English societ y'; while we would mark and 'seventeenth-century the phenomenon, still empty place where the two poles of this the place be stitched back together. Then, by multiplying have to intermediaries, were to take what we had supposed separated and bring them we just together. We were to closer that the laboratory pump 'reveals' or say 'represents' 'materializes' or 'allows us to grasp' the Laws of Nature. or to say, that the wealthy English gentlemen's We were similarly, it and to 'int erpret' air pressure made to 'representations' possible closer to the a vacuum. By moving of the point of 'accept' existence and conjunction, we were to pass from the global context to separation the local and we were to show how Boyle's gestures and the context, of Royal Society allowed them to understand the defects of pressure the pump, its leaks and its the By multiplying intermediary aberrations. terms, have ended up reconnecting the we were to parts that were at two first infinitely distant from Nature and from the Social. According to an explanation, nothing essential has happened. To such air pump, simply plunged a hand alternately either into explain our we eternity the one beings of Nature, or into all the urn that contains for the has the sempiternal contains the social world. Nature mainsprings that of always comprises the same resources, always been unchanging. Society same interests, the same passions. In the modern perspective, Nature the Society allow explanation because they themselves do not have to be and Intermediaries of course, and their role is precisely to explained. exist, the link between the two, but they establish links only because establish themselves lack any ontological status. They merely transport, they two transfer convey, of the only the beings that are real, Nature power and Society. To be sure, they may do a bad job of the transporting; they may be or obtuse. But their lack of faithfulness does not give unfaithful, that any their own right, since in is what proves, on the them importance their intermediary status. Their competence is not their own. contrary, At worst, they are brutes slaves; at best, they are loyal servants. or If bring about the Copernican counter-revolution we are then we obliged to take the work of the intermediaries much more seriously, since it is task to transmit the power of Nature and that of no longer their the Society, nevertheless all produce since they same reality effects. If and we now enumerate the entities endowed with autonomous status, we find dozens. far more than two three. There are or Does nature ab hor a

88 F ROM 81 TO MEDIA TORS INTER MEDIARIES a real vacuum some subtle in the pump, or not? Is there or could vacuum in? How going Society's witnesses slipped to ether are the Royal have in the air pump? How is the King of England going leaks account for the people go back to talking about the properties of matter to consent to let and reestablishing when the question of absolute privat e cliques just about to is finally power ? Is the auth�nticity of miracles be resolved or not? Is Boyle going supported by the mechanization of matter to a respected experimenter if he devotes himself to pursuing these become experimental tasks and abandons the deductive explanation, the vulgar one worthy of a scholar questions are no longer caught only ? All these and Society, they all redefine what Nature may be Nature since between is. Nature and Society are no longer and what terms Society explanatory something that requires a conjoined explanation. Around the but rather of the air pump we witness the formation of a new Boyle, a new work a new theology Nature, a new scholarly sociability, a new of miracles, that henceforth include the vacuum, scholars, and the Society will History does something. Each entity laboratory. is an event. We shall explain the innovation of the air pump by reaching no longer into the two urns of Nature and Society. On the contrary, we alternately will refill these urns, or at least profoundly modify their contents. Nature will emerge altered from laboratory, and so will English society; Boyle's and Hobbes also change in the same degree. Such but Boyle will if only two Nature incomprehensible and metamorphoses are beings, have from time immemorial, or if the first remains eternal Society, existed the second alone is stirred up by history. These metamorphoses while explicable, on the contrary, if we redistribute essence to all the become that make But then they stop being simple, more entities up this history. intermediaries. They become mediators - that is, actors or less faithful, endowed with the capacity what they transport, to redefine to translate it, redeploy it. The serfs have become free citizens it, and also to betray once more. By offering to all the mediators the being that was previously captive in Nature and in Society, of time becomes more comprehensible the passage of the Copernican in which everything again. In the world Revolution, between the poles of Nature and Society, history did had to be contained not really count. Nature discovered, or Society was deployed, was merely or one was to the other. Phenomena were nothing but the applied encounter of already-present elements. There was indeed a contingent history, but for humans detached from the necessity of natural alone, things. as we start from the middle, as soon as we invert the As soon arrows of the explanation, as soon as we take the essence accumulated at the two extremes it to the whole set of intermediaries, as and redistribute soon then the latter to the status of full-fledged mediators, as we elevate

89 CONST m..JTION 82 Time in fact history is there not for naught, but for becomes possible. to real. does Something in fact happen to the to the air's spring, Boyle, vacuum, They all come out to the King, to the air pump, to Hobbes. the All the essences by changed. events, the air's sprin.g same become of simply Cherubino. History is no longer the death the history as token it becomes the history of natural things as well. people, of Causation Accusation, 3.13 amounts to modifying the place Copernican of counter-revolution This to the bring it and ren1ove it fron1 things-in-themselves to the object but \\"ithout bringing it closer to society. Michel Serres's con1n1unity, is no less important than Shapin or Bennion's and Schaffer's work for As Serres writes in one descent. this displacement or achieving of his best 'We want to describe not the emergence of the object, books: of only of tools things in general, but or beautiful statues, ontologically speaking. the object come Iiow is human?' 1987). But to what (Serres, does his is that he 'can't in books that recounts find anything problem the the which the objecr as such constituted prin1itive experience during because books are vvritten to entomb this very experi­ human subject, all ence, to block to it, and because the noise of discourse drovvns access happened silence' out ':vhat (p. 216). in that utter We possess of myths describing the way subjects (or the hundreds Kant's or intersubjectivity, or epistemes) the construct collective, object- Copernican Revolution Yer ,� .. e is only one in a long line of examples. objects that recounts aspect of the story: ho�r the other have nothing Shapin and Schaffer have access the subject. to of construct thousands on Boyle's ideas, pages but nothing about the archival and Hobbes's, practice of the air pump or on the dexterity it required. tacit The to this second half of history are constituted not by texts or witnesses but by silent, remainders such as pumps, stones and brute languages Even is statues. archaeology below Serres's several levels though situated that of the air pump, the same silence. he encounters people of The chant psalms before the dismantled Wailing Wall: of Israel the temple, not one stone remains standing on another. 'Xlhat did the \vise by Th4Jeaes and thi�k, see, the Egyptian pyramids, do, a time as ren1ote in for the for o f Cheops was us as him? Why did he invent geometry by time this pile of stones? All Islam dreams of traveling to lvlecca v.rhere., in the \Vas Kaaba, Stone is preserved. Modern science Black born, in the the the from n study of fa ground. li Renaissance, g bodies: stones fall to the l an1 did Jesus establish the Why Church on a man called Peter? I Christian

90 ACCUSATION. CAUSATIO N 8l deliberately mixing in these examples of inauguration. religion with science p. 213) (Serres, 1987 , seriously these a hasty generalization of all we take Why such should stone with Galileo's up a black religious petrifications, one that mixes ? For the same reason that I have taken Shapin and falling bodies work seriously, mixin g religion and sciences in Schaffer's 'deliberately of inauguration' science and politics. They had examples of modern these ballasted an unknown new epistemology a leaky, pieced­ with actor, handmade air pump. Serres ballasts epistemology with an together, unknown new silent things. They all do it for the same actor, anthropological reas and religion are linked by a profound on: science of what it means and put to the test. For Boyle reinterpretation to accuse is a branch : science of the judiciary as for Serres, of Europe, In all and south alike, the word 'thing', the languages north its form, has as its root or origin the word 'cause', taken from the whatever realm of law, or criticism generally speaking. As if objects politics, existed according to the debates of an assembly or after a themselves only issued by a jury. Language wants the world decision from language to stem alone. At least this is what it says ... (Serres, 1987, p. 111) Thus in Latin the word for 'thing' is res, from which we get reality, the object of judicial or the cause itself, so that, for the Ancients, the procedure bore the name because the magistrates were suing him. As if accused reus reality from human tribunals alone. (p. 307) came the only see the miracle and find the solution to the ultimate enigma. we shall Here 'cause' designates the root or origin The word 'thing' : causa, of the word cosa, or Ding . ... The tribunal stages the very identity of cause and chose, of word and object, or the passage of one to the other by thing, A thing emerges there. (p. 294) substitution. Thus with three citations Serres generalizes the results that Shapin and Schaffer brought together so much difficulty: causes, stones and with never the position of the thing- in-itself. Boyle wondered facts occupy to put an end to civil wars. By compelling matter to be inert, by how God not to be directly asking by constructing a new closed space present, where the existence of the vacuum would become in a container manif est, by renouncing the condemnation of witnesses for their opinions. No ad hominem will prevail any longer, Boyle said; accusation no human will be believed; only nonhuman indicat ors and witness instruments observed by gentlemen will be considered trustworthy. The stubborn of matters of fact will establish the foundations accumulation of the pacified a This invention of facts is not, however, collective.

91 REVOLUTION discovery that are out there; it is an anthropological of the things that redistributes will, love, hatred and justice. Serres creation God, the same makes no idea of the aspect things point. precisely We have the tribunal, and outside our civil wars, outside our would have beyond we have no causes to and our courtrooms. trials Without accusation assign causes to phenomena. This anthropological plead, and we cannot to our prescientific situation since it belongs more to is not limited past, present. our scientific Thus not because, unlike all the is modern we live in a society that liberating itself from the hell of social relationships, others, it is finally the obscurantism of religion, from the tyranny from but of politics, because, it is redistributing the accusations that just like all the others, a cause - judiciary, social - by a cause - scientific, replace collective, � tual. can on an object and a observe matter-of-fac nonsocial, Nowhere and another be primitive subject, one society that would that would be modern. Series of substitutions, displacements and translations mobilize and things on an ever-increasing peoples scale. I at the origin, a rapid whirlwind in which the transcendental imagine, of the object would be nourished, as in return, constitution by the subject the symmetrical constitution of the subject by the object, in crushing by semi cycles that are endlessly begun anew, returning to the origin ... There exists a transcendental objective, a constitutive condition of the subject through the appearance as object in gener al. Of the inverse or of the object the whirling cycle, testimony, traces or symmetrical condition on we have in the labile ... But of the direct constitutive written languages narratives, of the object we have condition that are tangible, on the basis witnesses formidable, tacit. However far back we go in talkative visible, concrete, or silent prehistory, history are still there. (Serres, 1987, p. 209) they Serres, so-unmodern work, a pragmatogony that is as in his recounts as Hesiod's or Hegel's. However, Serres fabulous old cosmogony, proceeds or dialectics, but by substitutions. The not by metamorphosis new sciences that deviate, transform, knead the collective into things that no one has made, are simply latecomers in that long mythology of substitutions. Those networks, or study the sciences, are only who follow the whose loop in the spiral documenting fabulous beginning Serres nth for us. Contemporary science is a way of prolonging what we sketches have already done. Hobbes constructs a political body on the basis of artificial animated naked finds hi mself with the gigantic : he bodies prosthesis of the Leviathan. Boyle concentrates all the dissension of civil wars on an air pump: he finds himself with the facts. Each loop in the spiral defines a new collective and a new objectivity. The collective in

92 VARIABLE ONTOLOG IES 85 permanent organized around things in permanent renewal renewal that is evolving. We have left the anthropological has never stopped never Ages or, if you prefer, Dark - we are still in the matrix we are still in the world's infancy. 3.14 Variable Ontologies historicity to all the actors so that we can As soon as we grant of quasi-o bjects, Nature and Society have accommodate the proliferation They become convenient and East. and no more existence than West points that moderns use to differentiate intermediaries, relative reference are called 'natur al' and others 'social', while still others of which some termed 'purely natural' and others 'purely social', and yet others are are considered 'not natural 'but also' a little bit social. The analysts who only' left will be called realists, those who head right will be called head while Pickering, 1992). Those who want to constructivists (Latour, 1992b; a position plumb in the middle will invent countless combina­ maintain in order to mix Nature with Society (or subjects), alternating the tions 'symbolic dimension' with the 'natural dimension' of societies. of things more imperialistic Others, one-sided, will try to naturalize or more Society by integrating it into Nature (Hull, 1988), or to socialize Nature by getting it digested by Society (Bloor, [1976] 1991) (or by the Subject, which is more ult). diffic these reference points remain one-dimensional. Still, and discussions set of entities from the single line that runs the entire To classify along to Societ amount to drawing cartographic maps on the Nature y would of longitude alone, thereby reducing them to a single basis line! The second di makes it possible to give every latitude to the entities mension to deploy the modern that registers, as I have said, both the map and Constitution How will we define this equivalent of and its practice. and South ? Mixing my metaphors, I would say that it has to be North defined as a gradient that registers variations in the stabilit y of entities from event to essence. nothing at all about the air pump We still know we say that it is the representation of Nature, or the when of the Laws of English Society, or the product of representation the two opposite constraints of Nature and Society. We still need to be told whether what is at stake is the air pump as a seventeenth-century event or the air pump as a stabilized essence century or the twentieth century. of the eighteenth The degree - the latitude - is as important as the position of stabilization on the line that runs from the natural to the social - the longitude (see Cussins, 1992, for another and more precise mapping devic e).

93 REVOLUTION 86 Subject/Society Nature Pole Essence Pole C A' ' B' D" latitude E" vacuum D E vacuum No.4 No.5 " C '-----i C vacuum N 3 o . B vacuum B" t----' No.2 A vacuum No.1 longitude Existence Figure 3.4 The modern Constitution and its practice of mediators thus has a variable The ontology What Sartre geometry. said of humans - that their precedes their essence - has to be existence ts: of the air's spring as well as society, said of all the actan of matter as We do not have to choose between vacuum no. 5, well as consciousness. of external nature whose essence does not depend on any a reality human, and vacuum no. 4, a representation that Western thinkers have taken centuries . Or rather, we shall be able to choose between to define once are stabil ized. About the very unstable vacuum the two only they laboratory, we cannot say whether it is natural no. 1, in Boyle's or social, only artificially in the laboratory. Vacuum no. 2 may be that it emerges an artifact by human hands, unless it is transmuted into vacuum made no. 3, which begins to become a reality that eludes humans. What is a vacuum, then? None positions . The essence of the vacuum is the of these trajectory links them all. In other words, the air's spring has a that history. Each of the actants possesses a unique signature in the space any deployed In order to trace them, we do not have to form in this way. hypotheses about the essence of Nature or the essence of Society.

94 VARIABLE ONTOLOGIES 87 Superpose the shapes of what the all the signatures and you will have call, in order to summarize 'Nature' and moderns wrongly and purify, 'Society'. trajectories line that connects all these on to the single But if we project with the former 'Societ y/Sub ject' pole, 'Nature' pole the former hopelessly confused. All the points (A, B, C, D, E) everything becomes the single along (A', B', C', D', E'), with the will be projected latitude A localized phenomena - precisely point at the site of the former central modern scenario, nothing is supposed where, since it is in the to happen, but the meeting point of the two extremes of Nature and Society nothing resides the whole of reality. in which this single line, realists and With constructivists be able to quarrel over the interpretation of the will centu ries: the former that no one has fabricated vacuum for will declare that our hands fashioned this social fact; the the latter alone this real fact; ground will waver between the advocates of the of the middle two senses 'fact', using - for better or for worse - the formula 'not only ... but word is because the fabrication is below the line, also ... '. This of in the work mediation, only if we also take into account the degree of visible (B", C", D", E"). stabilization great masses of Nature and Society can be compared The to the cooled-down continents of plate tecton ics. If we want to understand their movement, we have to go down into those searing rifts where the magma erupts and on the basis are produced - much later and of this eruption farther off, by cooling progressive stacking - the two much and on which Like are firmly planted. plates the continental our feet we too have to go down and approach the places where geophy sicians, are made that will become - but only much later the mixtures - aspects of Nature Is it too much to ask of our discussions that or of the Social. now on we should of the entities we are talking from spell out the latitude as well as their longitude, and that we should view essences as about and traject ories? events We now have a better understanding of the paradox of the moderns. By using both the work of mediation and the work of purification, but never representing they were playing simultaneously on the two together, and the immanence two entities, Nature and the transcendence of the That gave them four contradictory Society. which allowed resources them an unusual freedom of movement. Now if we draw the map of the ontological varieties, we note that there are not four regions but three. The double transcendence on one side and Society on the other of Nature corresponds to set of stabilized essences. For each state of one single Society there exists a corresponding state of Nature. Nature and Society are not two opposite transcendences but one and the same growing out

95 REVOLUTION 88 of mediation . On the other the imman ence of of the work hand, corresponds naturing-natures to a single and collectives region: that of of mediation. that of the work The modern the instabil ity of events, s is indeed an abys Constitution is theref ore correct: there between but this abyss is only a delayed result of stabilization. and Society, Nature separates the work The only diation from the abyss that counts of me to the very becom constitutional formatting, but this abyss es - owing of hybrids gradient that we are able proliferation to - a continuous as soon once again what we have never stopped traverse as we become nonmoderns. If we add being: stable version of the to the official, Constitution 'hot' or unstable version, the middle is what its unofficial, and the extremities are emptied. fills up, on the contrary, We understand are not the successors The former the nonmoderns to the moderns. why denied practice. At the price of only make official the latter's a little we finally understand retrospectively what we had counter-revolution, done. always the Four Repertoires 3.15 Connecting Modern up the two modern and nonmodern, by operating By setting dimensions, this Copernican counter-revolution, by making object and subject both centreward and slide perhaps we shall now be able to downward, capitalize on the best resources of the modern critique. The moderns have developed four different repertoires, which they see as incompat ible, to accommodate the proliferation The first deals with the of quasi-objects. reality of a nature we are not masters, which exists external of which and has neither nor our desires, even ourselves outside our passions we are capable and constructing it. The second though of mobilizing with the social bond, with what attaches human beings to one deals with the pas�ions and desires that move us, with the personified another, that structure society that surpasses us all, even though forces - a society making. The third deals with signification it is of our own and meaning, , with the actants that make up the stories we tell ourselves with the ordeals they undergo, with the adventures they live through, with the tropes and genres organize them, with the great narratives that that us infinitely, they are at the same time dominate merely texts even though and discourses. fourth, finally, speaks of Being and deconstructs The what we invariably forget when we concern ourselves with beings alone, is even of Being is distributed among beings, the presence though coextensive with their very existence, their very historicity. These resources are incompatible only in the official version of the Constitution. In practice, we have trouble telling the four apart. We

96 CONNECTI NG THE MODERN REPERTOIRES FOUR 89 shamelessly with natural entities - that is, with the confuse our desires sciences which very much look like socially constructed in turn our society. as we are on the trail of some and trace discourses As soon quasi-obj ect, it appears to us sometimes as a thing, sometimes as a as a social bond, without ever being reduced to a narrative, sometimes Our pump being. traces the spring of air, but it also mere vacuum and defines a new in seventeenth-century society sketches likewise that of the account of a laboratory experiment. In literary genre, the pump, do we have that everything is rhetorical, following to pretend is natural, is socially constructed, or or that everything or that everything is stamped and stocked ? Do we have that everything that the to suppose same is in its essence sometimes an object, sometimes a social pump and sometimes ? Or that it is a bit of each? That bond, discourse being, by the sometimes it is marked it is a mere sometimes and difference Being and beings ? And what if it were we ontological between the moderns, who artificially divided a unique trajectory, ourselves, would object, which nor subject, nor meaning effect, be at first neither being if the separation of the four repertoires were nor pure ? What only to stabilized and later stages ? applied proves that these resources remain incompatible when we Nothing move essences to events, from purification to mediation, from the from modern dimension to the nonmodern dimension, from revolution to the Copernican counter-revol Of quasi- objects, quasi-subj ects, we ution. simply say that they trace They are real, quite real, and shall networks. are collective because have not made them. But they we humans they in our hands and define attach us to one another, because they circulate bond very circulation. They are discursive, however; our social by their are narrated, historical, passionate, and peopled with actants they of autonomous They are unstable and hazardous, existential, and forms. forget on of the four repertoires in the same never Being. This liais once they are officially represented allows networks a us to construct dwelling large enough to house the Middle Kingdom, the authentic common home of the nonmodern world as well as its Constitution. The linkage is impossible as we remain truly modern, since as long Discourse, and Being surpass us infinit ely, and because Nature, Society four sets are defined only by their separation, which maintains these our constitutional But continuity becomes possible if we add to guarantees. the practice of mediation that the Constitution allows the guarantees because it denies it. The moderns are quite right to want reality, language, society all at once. They are wrong only in believing and being that these sets are forever contradictory. Instead of always analyzing the trajectory objects by separating these resources, can we not of quasi- ? as if they ought to be in continuous connection with one another write

97 REVOLUTION 90 well escape from the prostration itself caused by We might postmodern repertoires. an overdose of the four critical locked yourselves into language Are you not fed up at finding forever representations alone, as so many social alone, or imprisoned in social to be? We want access to things like you would scientists to gain to their phenomena. The real is not remote; themselves, not only rather, in all the mobilized throughout the world. Doesn't it is accessible objects abound us? here among reality external right more have enough of being continually dominated by Do you not than that is transcendent, unknowable, inaccessible, exact, and a Nature true, peopled simply entities that lie dormant like the Sleeping with until the day when scientific Charmings finally discover Beauty Prince we live in are more more productive, more ? The collectives active, them things-in-themselves socialized than the tiresome led us to expect. tired of those sociologies constructed around the Are you not a little only, which is supposed to hold Social through the repetition of up solely the words and 'legitimacy' because sociologists cannot cope 'power' with the world of objects or with either of languages that the contents nevertheless society ? Our collectives are more real, more construct naturalized, more discursive than the tiresome humans-among­ themselves led us to expect. not fed up with language and with the eternal Are you games, of meaning is not a world of the deconstruction ? Discourse scepticism but a population of actants that mix with things as well unto itself as uphold the former and the latter alike, and hold on to with societies, them Interest in texts does not distance us from reality, for things both. too have to the dignity of narrative. As for texts, why deny to be elevated the grandeur that holds the social bond them us together? of forming Are you not of being accused of havin g forgotten Being, of living tired in a base world emptied of all its substance, all its sacredness and its art? In order to rediscover treasures, do we really have to give up the these scientific world in which we live? To apply oneself historical, and social sciences, to technologies, to markets, to things, to the distance does not us any more from the difference of Being with beings than from society, politics, or language. Real as Nature, as Discourse, collective as Society, existential narrated as Being: are the quasi-objects that the moderns have caused to such proliferate. As such it behoves us to pursue them, while we simply become once more what we have never ceased to be: amoderns.

98 4 D RELATIVISM 4. 1 How to End the Asymmetry I proposed of this essay for anthropology At the beginning as a model since alone seemed capable of our world, describing anthropology of quasi-obje cts as a whole. I quickly linking up the strange trajectory that this model recognized, usable, since it did however, was not readily to science While ethnographers were quite not apply and technology. of retracing the links that bound the ethnosciences to the social capable they were world, to do so for the exact sciences. In order to unable why it was so difficult to apply freedom of tone to understand the same our Western world, I needed to the sociotechnological networks of what we meant by modern. If we understand understand in modernity terms Constitution that has to make a total distinction of the official between s and nonhumans on the one hand and between human purification and mediation on the other, then no anthropology of the modern world But if we link together in one single picture the is possible. of purification of mediation that gives it meaning, we work and the work retrospectively, that we have never been truly modern. As a discover, result, the anthropology has been stumbling over science and that up to now could once again become the model for description technology that I have been seeking. Unable to compare premoderns to moderns, it could compare both to nonmoderns. them it is not easy to reutilize Unfortunately, as it stands. anthropology Shaped by moderns studying people who were said to be premodern, anthropology has internalized, in its practices, concepts and questions, the impossibility above. It rules out studying objects of I mentioned nature, limiting the extent of its inquiries exclusively to cultures. It thus remains asymmetrical. If anthropology is to become comparative, if it is

99 RELATIVISM 92 forth between and nonmoderns, it to be able to go back and moderns capable of symmetrical. must To this end, it be made must become s that do not us directly - we are always confronting not belief touch we adhere to which of them critical enough - but the true knowledge be made capable therefore the sciences by It must totally. of studying of knowledge and, above all, of surpassing the limits of the sociology epistemology. first principle upset traditional sociology of know­ of symmetry The by requiring error and truth be treated in the same terms ledge that 1991). In the past, the sociology (Bloor, by [1976] of knowledge, g a great profusion of social factors, had explained only marshallin with deviations to the straight and narrow path of reason. Error, respect beliefs, be explained socially, but truth remained self-explanatory. could possible to analyze flying saucers, but not the It was certainly a belief in holes the illusions analyze of black of parapsychol­ knowledge ; we could we could analyze Spencer's ogy, but not the knowledge of psychologists; but not Darwin's certainties . The same social factors could not be errors, equally to both. In this double standard we recognize the split in applied sciences, were not open to study, and anthropology between which which were. ethnosciences, of the sociology of knowledge would not have The presuppositions intimidat long, if epistemologists - especially in the ed ethnologists for French tradition - had not erected as a founding principle this same asymmet ry between and false sciences. Only the latter - the true sciences - can be related context. As for the 'outdated' to the social they become scientific tear because they sciences, 'sanctioned' only away all context, from any traces of contamination by themselves from from any naive perception, and escape even their own past. Here history, is the difference, for Bachelard history and the and his disciples, between (Bachelard, [1968] 1988). History history of sciences 1967; Canguilhem, but that hardly matters, because it never deals with may be symmetrical, the history of science, on the other hand, must never be real science; because it deals with science and its utmost duty is to make symmetrical, the epistemological break more complete. A single example to what lengths the rejection of will suffice to show anthropolog when epistemologists have to all symmetrical y can be taken true sciences differently from false treat When Georges Canguil­ beliefs. hem distinguishes scientific ideologies from true sciences, he asserts not only that it is impossible to study Darwin - the scientist - and Diderot ­ the ideolog terms, but that it must be impossible to lump ue - in the same them toget her: 'Distingu ishing between ideology and science prevents us from continuities where in fact there are only elements of ideology seeing such in a science that has supplanted an earlier ideology. Hence preserved

100 93 HOW ASYMM ETRY TO END THE ons of the Origin of prevents a distinction us from anticipati seeing in [Diderot's] Species ' (Canguilhem, [1968] 1988 Dream of d' Alembert breaks p. 39). Only what It is difficult is scientific. ideology for ever with the ins and outs of quasi- while following such a to pursue indeed objects they have principle. into the hands of such epistemologists, Once passed they Objects alone will remain, excised will be pulled out by the roots. network But why even meaning. the entire mention from that gave them or Spencer take an interest in error? Because without it the Diderot ? Why would shine too brightly! 'Recognizing the connections between truth and science should prevent us from reducing the history of ideology to a featureless landscape, without relief' (p. 39). For such science a map history to be overcome but a 'Whiggish' is not a mistake epistemologists, out with utmost rigour. The history duty should to be carried of science with history (Bowker and Latour, 1987). The false is not be confused the true stand out. What Racine did for the Sun King what makes under the lofty of historian, Canguilhem does for Darwin under the name usurped of historian of science. equally label of symmetry, on the contrary, reestablished continuity, The principle and - we may as well say it - elementary justice. David Bloor historicity, is Canguilhem's number, just as Serres is Bachelard's. 'The only opposite pure myth is the idea of a science devoid of all myth,' writes the latter as he breaks with (Serres, 1974). For Serres, as for actual epistemology of science, Diderot, Malthus and Spencer have to be historians Darwin, to the same and the same causes ; if you according principles explained for the belief in flying want make sure your to account saucers, can be used, symmetrically, for black holes (Lagrange, explanations to debunk parapsychology, can you 1990). If you claim use the same factors (Collins and Pinch, 1982)? If you analyze for psychology successes, terms allow you to account for his Pasteur's do the same (Latour, 1988b)? failures all, the first of symmetry Above proposes a slimm ing principle treatment of errors offered by social scientists. It had for the explanations become so easy to account for deviation! Society, beliefs, ideology, symbols, the unconscious, -everything was so readily availa ble madness were obese. But truths? When we lost our that explanations becoming recourse to epistemological breaks, we soon realized, we who study facile the sciences, that of our explanations were not worth much. most Asymmet all, and simply added insult to injury. ry organized them Everything changes if the staunch discipline of the principle of symmetry forces only the causes that could serve both truth and us to retain falsehood, belief and knowledge, science and parascience. Those who while weighed with one scale and the losers with another, the winners shouting 'vae victis!' (woe to the vanquishe d), like Brennus, made that

101 RELATIVISM 94 of symmetry incomprehensible discrepancy up to now. Whe n the balance with precision, is reestablished allows us to the discrepa ncy that why win and others lose stands out all the more understand some sharply. of Symmetry Generalized 4.2 The Principle offers The advantage of of symmetry first principle the incomparable with epistemological doing with a priori separations away breaks, 'sanctioned' 'outdated' sciences, or artificial divisi ons between and who who knowledge, those sociologists study belief between study and who study the sciences. Formerly, when the systems, those returned anthropologist land to discover sciences that from his remote had been up by epistemology at home, he could establish no tidied between ethnoscience knowledge. Thus with continuity and scientific he abstained and settled for studying nature, reason analyzing good from when he returns and discovers studies - becoming more cultures. Now by the day - that focus on his own sciences and technologies at numerous home, the abyss is already He can move without too much narrower. Trobriand to those of the United States Navy difficulty from navigators 1980); from calculators in West Africa to arithmeticians (Hutchins, in California (Rogoff and Lave, 1984); from technicians in the Ivory Coast to a Nobel laureate in La Jolla (Latour and Woolgar, [1979] 1986); from sacrifices to the god Baal to the Challenger (Serres, 1987). He is explosion required to limit to cultures, since Nature - or, rather, no longer himself similarly (Pickering, to study - have become 1992). natures accessible the principle defined by Bloor leads rapidly to However, of symmetry If it requires an iron discipline in its explanation, an impasse. the principle asymmetrical, as the following diagram will make clear. itself is and sociologists explained truth through Epistemologists of knowledge with natural reality, its congruence through the constraint and falsehood of social categories, epistemes or interests. They were asymmetrical. Bloor's principle seeks to explain truth and falsehood alike through the same categories, the same and the same interests. But what epistemes does ? Those that the sciences of society offer social terms it choose - that is, Hobbes scientists his many successors. Thus it is and asymmetrical not because it separates ideology and science, as epistemo­ logists do, but because it brackets off Nature and makes the 'Society' pole carry the full weight where Nature is of explanation. Constructivist it is realistic concerned, Society (Calion and Latour, 1992; Collins about and Yearley, 1992). But Society, as we now know, is no less constructed than Nature, since it is the dual result of one single stabilization process. For each state of

102 THE OF SYMMETRY GENER ALIZED PRINCIPLE 95 Nature Pole Subject/Society Pole ASYMMETRICAL �� EXPLANATIONS 0 --0 � Truth is explained Falsehood is explained by Nature by Society FIRST PRINCIPLE OF 0 0 SYMMETRY explains Nature neither are Truth and falsehood truth or falsehood both explained by Society GENERALIZED PRINCIPLE OF explamed TRY SYMME O��� o � . The explanation from starts quasi-objects Figure of symmetry 4.1 The principle there of society. a correspon ding state Nature If we are to be realist exists we have realist in the one case, in the other; if we are constructivist to be in one instance, to be constructivist for both. Or rather, as then we have our investigation of the two modern practices has shown, we must be able to understand simultaneously how and Society are imman­ Nature of mediation - and transcendent of ent - in the work - after the work Nature do not offer solid hooks to which we purification. and Society attach our interpretations (which should be asymmetrical might in Cang sense, or symmetrical in Bloor's), but are what is to be uilhem's explained. appearance of explanation that Nature and Society The provide comes only in a late phase, when stabilized quasi -objects have become, after objects of external reality on the one hand, cleavage, on the other. Nature and Society are part of the subjects of Society problem, not part of the solution. If anthropology it has to do more is to become symmetrical, therefore, than take in the first principle of symmetry - which puts a stop to only the most flagrant injustices of epistemology. It has to absorb what Michel

103 RELATIVISM 96 calls the Callon generalized symmetry: the anthropologist of principle has to position where he at the median can follow the himself point and human properties (Callan, 1986). He attribution of both nonh uman to explain society, or to use power reality to use external is not allowed for what shapes external reality. In the same way, he is games to account realism and of course forbidden realism to alternate natural sociological 'but also' Society, keep the two Nature in order to by using 'not only' even while concealing original of the one asymmetries the weaknesses those of the other (Latour, 1987). under were modern, it was impossible to occupy So long as we this central place which the symmetry between Nature and Society becomes from last, because only central position visible at it did not exist! The as we have was seen, by the Constitution, the recognized already the meeting where the Nature pole and the Subject phenomenon, point applied to one another. Hitherto this point has remained pole were a no­ man's a nonplace. Everything changes when, instead of constantly -land, alternating one pole of the modern dimension and exclusively between we move down along and the other, dimension. The the nonmodern unthinkable nonplace becomes the point in the Constitution where the work of mediation emerges. It is far from empty: quasi-ob jects, quasi­ subjects, proliferate No longer unthinkable, it becomes the terrain in it. studies carried of all the empirical out on the networks. prepared the one that anthropology so painstak­ But isn't this place the course of a century, the one the ethnologist occupies so ingly over when she sets out to study other cultures? Indeed, we today effortlessly her move, without modifying her analytical can watch from tools, meteorology system, from the nature of plants to their to the kinship representation, political organization to ethnomedicine, cultural from mythic structures to ethnophysics or to hunting from es. To be techniqu sure, the ethnologist draws the courage to deploy this seamless web from her profound conviction that she is dealing merely, and solely, with representations. Nature, remains unique, external and for its part, But if we superpose - the one that the universal. the two positions occupies effortlessly in order to study ethnologist and the one cultures that we have made a great effort to define in order to study our own nature - then comparative anthropology becomes possible, if not easy. It no longer cultures, setting aside its own, which through some compares astonishing privil ege possesses a unique access to universal Nature. It compar Are they comparable ? Are they similar ? Are es natures-cultures. they the same? We can now, perhaps, solve the insoluble problem of relativism.

104 THE IMPORT T SYSTEM -EXPOR ,., 4.3 - Export System of the Two Great Divides The Import are absolutely 'We others !' - such is the different Westerners from lament. Us Divide between cry, or protracted moderns' victory The Great - everyone from the China seas to the - and Them - Occidentals else, the Inuit to the Tasmanian aborigines Yucatan, to from - has not ceased obsess history along with them in us. Whatever they do, Westerners bring caravels of their gunboats, in the cylinders of their the hulls and their pistons and the immunizing syringes. They bear this telescopes of their man's burden sometimes as an exalting challenge, sometimes as a white but always tragedy, They do not claim merely that they as a destiny. others as the Sioux the Algon quins, or the Baoules differ from differ from but that they to the extent the Lapps, differ radically, absolutely, from up on one side and all the cultures on the that Westerners can be lined the latter all have in common the fact that they are precisely since other, among others. In Westerners' eyes the West, and the West alone, cultures not merely a culture. is not a culture, does see itself this way? Why would the West and only Why the West not be a culture ? In order to understand the Great Divide the West between Us and Them, to go back to that other Great Divide we have humans and nonhumans that I defined above. In effect, the first between is the exportation of the second. We Westerners cannot be one culture among others, we also mobilize Nature. We do not mobilize an since or a symbolic representation the way the other societies image of Nature, least to the sciences - which it is, or at as it is known do, but Nature as unstudied, unstudiable, miraculously remain in the background, con­ with Nature itself. Thus at the heart of the question of relativism flared of science. If Westerners had been we find the question with content trading conquering, looting and dominating, they would not and themselves radically tradespeople other distinguish and conquerors. from from invented But no, they totally distinct science, conquest an activity and trade, politics and morality. Even those who have tried, in the name of cultural relativism, to defend the continuity without ordering them in a progressive of cultures and without them in their separate prisons (Levi-Strauss, series, isolating they can do this only by bringing [1952] 1987), think as close as them possible to the sciences. 'We have had to wait until the middle of this century', writes Levi­ Strauss in The Savage Mind, 'for the crossing of long separated paths: that which arrives world by the detour of communication at the physical [the savage mind] , and that which, as we have recently come to know, arrives at the world of communication by the detour of the physical [modern science]' (Levi-Strauss, [1962] 1966, p. 26 9).

105 IVISM RELAT .. false antimony logical and prelogical mentality was sur­ The between mounted at the same is as logical in the same sense mind time. The savage though is only when it is applied ours, and the same fashion as as our own to of a knowledge it recognizes physical universe in which and semantic properties ... It will be objected remains a major simultaneously that there thought of difference and our own: Information between the primitives is concerned genuine messages whereas primitives mistake Theory with estations determinism for messages ... In treating manif of physical mere and plant kingdoms the sensible properties the of the animal as if they were of a message, and in discovering 'signatures' - and so signs - in elements men [those with savage them, have made mistakes of identification: minds] the meaningful was not always the one they supposed. But, element perfected instruments would have permitted them to place it without which often at the microscopic it most level - they already where is - namely, a glass darkly' principles of interpretation whose discerned 'as through value and accordance with reality have been revealed to us only heuristic through very and recent inventions: telecommunications, computers microscopes. (Levi-Strauss, 1966, p. 268) electron [1962] defence a generous imagines no mitigating circum­ Levi-Strauss, lawyer, than stances other g his clients look as much like scientists as makin possible! If primitive peoples do not differ from us as much as we think, it is because they anticipate the newest conquests of information theory, molecular biology , but with inadequ ate instruments and and physics of identification '. The sciences that are used for this 'errors very Conceived of epistemology, are now off limits. promotion in the fashion remain sciences external, quasi -objects purged of these objective and networks. Give the primitives a microscope, and they will think their as we do. Is a better exactly way to finish off those one wants to there conde ? For Levi-Strauss (as for Canguilhem, Lyotard, save from mnation and the majority of French intellec tuals), this new Girard, Derrida, scientific knowledge lies entirely culture. It is the transcendence outside - conflated of science Nature - that makes it possible to relativize all with cultures, theirs and ours alike - with the one caveat, of course, that it is precisely our culture, that is constructed through biology, not theirs, microscopes networks ... The abyss electronic and telecommunication that was to supposed to be narrowing opens up again. in our societies, Somewhere in ours alone, an unheard-of and transcendence has manif ested itself: Nature as it is, ahuman, sometimes inhuman, always extrahuman. Since this event occurred - whether one situates it in Greek alian physics, German chemistry, mathematics, It nuclear engineering or Belgian thermodynamics - there has American been a total asymmetry between the cultures that took Nature into account and those that took into account only their own culture or the

106 THE IMPORT SYSTEM - EXPORT " dis that they might have of mat ter. Those who invent torted versions sciences discover never deal exclusively with physical and determinisms accident. The others have only representations beings, human except by that are more or less of or coded by the cultural Nature disturbed of humans that occupy them fully the fall only by preoccupations and chance through a glass darkly' -o - 'as as they are. n things The First Great Internal Divide: Partition The Modern (as practised but denied by the moderns) The Premodern Overlap (as seen by the modems) The Second Great Divide: External 4.2 The two Great Divides Figure the Internal Great Divide accounts for the So Great Divide : External we only ones who differentiate absolutely between Nature and are the our between and Society, whereas in Culture, eyes all the others ­ Science whether they are Chinese or Amerindian, Azande or Barouya - cannot really separate is knowledge from what is Society, what is sign from what is thing, what from Nature as it is from what their cultures what comes they do, however adapted, regulated and functional require. Whatever may be, they they always remain blinded by this conf usi on; they are will prisoners the social and of language of Whatever we do, however alike. criminal, however imperialistic we may be, we escape from the prison of a the of language to gain access to things themselves through or social providential exit gate, that of scientific knowledge. The internal partition between humans and nonhumans defines a second partiti on - an external apart one time - through which the moderns have set themselves this Nature from premoderns. For Them, the and Society, signs and things,

107 RELATIVISM 100 virtually are should never be . Even though we Us they coextensive. For recognize might societies some fuzzy areas in madness, still in our own animals, and women's bodies (Haraway, 1989), children, popular culture those ourselves from horrible mixtures we extirpate our duty believe is to as possible by no longer confusing what pertains to mere forcibly as and social pertains to the real nature of things. preoccupations what Home the Tropics Comes from 4.4 Anthropology comes home from the tropics in order to rejoin When anthropology the of modern world that is ready the waiting, it does so at anthropology and with caution, not to say with pusillanimity. At first, it thinks first it can apply its methods when Westerners mix up signs and things the way only thought does. will therefore look for what most resembles its savage It as Great by the External terrains Divide. To be sure, it traditional defined great sacrifice but not at exoticism, cost, since anthropology has to its critical distance by studying only the margins maintains fractures and of or the realms beyond rationality. Popular medicine, rationality, life in (Favret-Saada, 1980), peasant Bocage in the shadow witchcraft the nuclear power plants (Zonabend, 1989), of representations ordinary the people of technical risks (Douglas, have all these can be excellent 1983) - field study topics, because the question of Nature - that is, of science - is not yet raised. the great repatriation stop there. In fact, by However, cannot the loses what constituted the very exoticism, ethnologist sacrificing her research as opposed to the originality ttered studies of of sca economists, psychologists or historians. In the tropics, the sociologists, did not settle for studying the margins anthropologist other cultures of (Geertz, If she remained marginal by vocation and method, and 1971). necessity, nevertheless claimed to be reconstituting the centre out of she cultures: their belief system, their technologies, of those ethno­ their sciences, power plays, their economies their in short, the totality of - their existence (Mauss, [1923] 1967). If she comes back home but limits herself to the marginal aspects of her own culture, she loses all studying hard-won of anthropology. For example Marc Auge the advantages he resided among the lagoon-dwellers of when Ivory Coast, sought to the understand the entire social phenomenon revealed by sorcery (Auge, 1975). His marginality did not hinder him from grasping the full social to fabric culture. But back at home he has limited himself Alladian of studying the most superficial aspects of the metro (Auge, 1986), interpreting some graffiti on the walls of subway corridors, intimidated own this by the evidence of his time marginality in the face of Western

108 ANTHROPOLOGY COMES FROM THE TROPICS HOME 101 economics, A symmetrical Marc Auge would technologies and science. the sociotechnological network of the metro its have studied itself: and its the employer­ its directors clients, as well as its drivers, engineers - simply State, at home what he had always the whole shebang doing Western ethnologists cannot limit themselves to the done elsewhere. still asymmetrical, otherwise, would show boldness periphery; they timidity themselves. Back home anthropology others, toward toward the marginal discipline of the margins, need up the not become picking that fall from the other disciplines' banquet table. crumbs to achieve such freedom of movement In order however, one and tone, has to be able the two Great Divides in the same way, and to view as one particular definition of our world and its consider them both the others. these Divides do not define us any relationships Now with better define others; they are no more an instrument of than they than is the Constitution alone, or modern temporality alone knowledge Section 3.7). To become symmetrical, anthropology needs a (see overhaul retooling so that it can get around complete and intellectual Divides at once by believing neither in the radical distinction both humans and nonhumans at home, nor in the total overlap of between knowledge and society elsewhere. Let us imagine an ethnologist who goes out to the tropics and takes along with Great Divide. In her eyes, the people she her the Internal continually confuse of the world - which the studies knowledge scientistic possesses as her birthright ­ as a good Westerner, investigator, functioning. The tribe and the requirements her thus of social that greets one vision of the world, only one representation of Nature. To has only to the expression Marcel Mauss and Emile go back made Durkheim famous, projects its own social categories on to Nature this tribe and Mauss, our 1967; Haudric ourt, 1962). When (Durkheim [1903] explains that they ethnologist must be more careful to to her informers separate as it is from the social representation they provide for the world it, they are scandalized or nonplussed. The ethnologist sees in their rage and their misunderstanding obsession. the very proof of their premodern in which she lives - humans on one side, nonhumans The dualism on the over signs over here, things - is intolerable to them. For other, there reasons, our ethnologist social this culture requires a monist concludes, attitude. in ideas; [the savage mind] hoards 'We traffic up' (Levi­ them Strauss, [1962] 1966, p. 267). But let us suppose now that our ethnologist returns to her homeland and tries to dissolve the Internal Divide. And let us suppose that Great a series of happy accidents she sets out to analyze one tribe through among others - for example, scientific researchers or engineers (Knorr­ Cetina, 1992). The situation turns out to be reversed, because now she

109 SM RELATIVI 102 of monism she thinks she from her earlier applies the lessons has learned tribe of scientists that in the end they are experience. Her claims of the world from the necessities separating completely knowledge their eyes, of In the observer's 1988). (Traweek, morality politics and is never very this separation only the by­ however, visible, or is itself product more mixed of a much some tinkering in and out of the activity, laboratory. claim that they have access to Nature, but the Her informers sees perf that they have access only to a vision, a ethnographer ectly well of Nature that she herself cannot distinguish neatly from representation and social politics (Pickering, 1980). This tribe, like the earlier interests one, projects its own categories on to Nature; what is new is that it social pretends it has not done so. When the ethnologist exp lains to her informers that they separate Nature from the social representa­ cannot they formed of it, they are scandalized or nonplussed. Our tion have sees in their rage and incomprehension the very proof of their ethnologist modern obsess in which she now lives - humans are ion. The monism always up with nonhumans - is intolerable to them. For social mixed reasons, our ethnologist concludes, Western scientists require a dualist attitude. for Us' 'Them 'Us for Us' 2 VIEWED BY "US" VIEWED 3 BY "THEM" 'Us for Them' 'Them for Them' Figure 4.3 Them and Us However, her double conclusion is incorrect, for she has not really heard her informers were saying. The goal of anthropology is not to what the twice over, or to provoke incomprehension twice in a row: scandalize

110 THERE ARE NO CULTURES 101 first time Great Divide and imposing dualism by exporting the Internal it; the second time by the External Great on cultures that reject cancelling on a rejects our own - that monism it Divide culture, and imposing must realize that the two Great anthropology absolutely. Symmetrical reality - our own as well as that of others - but Divid es do not describe way Westerners had of est ablishing their relations define the particular . as long felt modern 'We', however, do not others as they with Nature and Society more distinguish 'They' make them between than If we take into account the networks that we allow to prolif erate overlap. the official part of beneath they look a lot like the our Constitution networks say they live. Premoderns are said never to in which 'They' beween signs but neither do 'We' (Figure 4.3.3 distinguish and things, very alike). If, through of 4.3.1 look an acrobatic and the bottom much experiment, go further and ask 'Them' to try to map on thought we could own networks our strange obsession with dichotomies and to try to their in their own terms, what it could mean to have a pure Nature to imagine, a pure with they would draw, and extreme difficulty, a Society provisional which Nature and Society would barely escape from map in the networks (Figure 4.3.4). But what does this picture represent, this picture in which Nature appear to be redistributed among and Culture and to escape from them as if in dotted lines? It the networks only fuzzily as we now nonmodern eyes! It is our world see it through is exactly I have tried to offer from exactly in which the the picture the beginning, and lower halves of the Constitution gradually merge. Premoderns upper Once they are considered symmetrically, they might are like us. offer a better of the Westerners than the modernist anthropology analysis of the premoder we can now drop entirely offered ns! Or, more exactly, and 'Them' dichotomy, and even the 'Us' between the distinction moderns and premoderns. We have both always built communities of natures and societies. There is only one, symmetrical, anthropology. 4.5 There Are No Cultures that anthropology, come home from the tropics, Let us suppose having sets itself by occupying a triply symmetrical position . It uses out to retool the same terms truths and errors (this is the first principle of to explain symmetry the production of humans and nonh umans ); it studies simultaneously (this is the principle of generalized symmetr y); finally, it refrains from makin a priori declarations as to what might g any distinguish from Others. To be sure, it loses exoticism, but it Westerners gains new fields of study that allow it to analyze the central mechanism of all collectives, including the ones to which Westerners belong. It loses its

111 RELATIVISM lo-t attachment to alone - or to cultural dimensions alone exclusive cultures tion, natures. The two positions - it gains acquisi but a priceless I have been out beginning of this essay staking the one the - the since the ortlessly, and the one eff analyst of the ethnologist is occupying now striving toward with great difficulty - can now be sciences was superimposed. Network a hand to anthropology, and analysis extends job that offers ready and waiting. has it the been relativism is of becoming less difficult. If science question The already along the epistemologists' as made the problem insoluble, conceived lines suffices, is often the case, to as the conception of scientific it change in order to dispel the artificial practices What reason difficulties. complicates, explicate. It is the peculiar trait of Westerners that networks have imposed, their official Constitution, the total separation of they by nonhumans - and the Internal Great Divide and have thereby humans - one scandal the others. 'How can the be a Per sian ?' artificially created of can one not establish a radical difference between universal Nature How relative the very notion of culture But and is an artifact created culture? universal ing Nature -d ifferent or Cultures - do not exist, by bracket off. more than Nature does. There are only natures-cultures, and these any the only possible basis for comparison. As soon as we take practices offer purification as as practices of well into account, we discover of mediation that the moderns do not separate humans from nonhumans any more than the totally superimpose signs and things. 'others' now compare forms of relativism according to whether they I can the natures do into account the construction of take as well. or not do presupposes cultures that are Absolute and incom­ relativism separate and be ordered in any hierarchy; cannot is no use mensurable there about it, since it brackets off talking As for cultural relativism, Nature. which is subtle, Nature comes into play, but in order to exist it does more presuppose scientific work, any society, any construction, any not any tion, ·any network. It is mobiliza revisited and corrected by Nature epistemology, which scientific practice for remains off camera, hors still champ. Within this tradition, the cultures are thus distributed as so many more or accurate viewpoints on that unique Nature. Certain societies less thick it 'as through others see it through darkly', fog, still others see a glass clear skies. Rationalists will insist on under common aspects of all the these relativists will insist viewpoints; the irresistible distortion that on social structures impose on all perception. The former will be undone if it can be that cultures do not superimpose their categories; the latter shown that will if it can be proved ground the categories are superimposed lose (Hollis and Lukes, 1982; Wilson, 1970). as without wever, as soon ho Nature comes into play practice, being In attached to a particular culture, a third model is always secretly used : a

112 THERE ARE NO CULTURES lOS ABSOLUTE RELATIVISM CULTURAL RELATIVISM Culture without hierarchy is present cultures; Nature but outside contacts, and without cultures all have a more or less precise all incommensurable; point of view toward Nature Nature is bracketed Society 1 re Pole Natu Subject/Society A part) (society Pole PAR TICULAR UNIVERSAUSM ANIHROPOLOGY SYMMETRICAL One of the cultures (A) has All the collectives similarly constitute a privileged to Nature access natures and cultures; only the which from the others sets it apart mobilization scale of the varies 4.4 Relativism and universalism Figure - and it of universalism I would call type One society that 'particular'. is always the Western one - defines the general framework of Nature with respect to which the others are situated. This is Levi-Strauss's solution: he distinguishes society, which has a specific inter­ Western of Nature, that Nature itself, miraculously known to our pretation from The first half of the argument allows for society. relativism (we modest are one interpretation among others just the ·second permits the ), but surreptitious return of arrogant universalism - we remain absolutely different. In Levi-Strauss's however, there is no contradiction eyes, en the two betwe precisely because our Constitution, and it alone, halves, allows us to distinguish society A 1, made up of humans, from society A 2, composed of nonhumans but forever removed from the first one! The

113 RELATIVISM 106 in the eyes of symmetrical contradiction stands only out today model is the common of the other two, anthropology. This latter stock anything but cultures) may whatever the relativists relativize never (who say. The never been convincing on the subject of the relativists have equality since they limit consideration precisely to of cultures, their Nature to them, it is the same for all, since And ? According cultures. defines it. In order to get universal they science out of this contradiction, either have to limit all peoples to a representation of the world by then them up for ever in the prison of their own societies locking or, conversely, have to reduce all scientific results to products of local they contingent social in order to deny science any and constructions billions of people in distorted But to imagine imprisoned universality. since views of time is as difficult as it is to of the world the beginning neutrinos and quasars, DNA and universal gravitation, imagine as Texan, British social productions. The two responses are or Burgundian and that is why relativism debates over equally absurd, never the great It is as impossible to un lead anywhere. nature as it is to reduce iversalize it to the narrow framework of cultural relativism alone. The solution appears along with the dissolution of the artifact of cultures. All natures-cultures in that they simultaneously are similar humans, divinit umans. None of them inhab its a construct ies and nonh symbols imposed of signs or on an external Nature world arbitrarily to us alone. of them - and especially not our own - lives in known None of things. All of them sort out what will bear signs a world will and what not. If there we all do, it is surely that we construct both our is one thing collectives In constitut­ human and the nonhumans that surround them. collectives, some mobilize ancestors, lions, fixed stars, ing their and the coagulated blood of sacrifice; in constructing ours, we mobilize genetics, zoology, cosmology and hrematology. 'But those are scienc es!' the moderns will exclaim, at this confusion. 'They have to escape horrified of society possible extent !' Yet the the representations to the greatest of the sciences does not suffice to break presence such is the symmetry; the discovery of comparative anthropology. From cultural relativism we move on to 'natural' relativism. The first led to absurditi es; the second will allow on common sense. us to fall back 4.6 Sizeable Differences Still, the problem of relativism has not been solved. Only the confusion resulting the bracketing off of Nature has been provisionally from of natures- We now find ourselves confronting productions eliminated.

114 SIZEABLE DIFFERENCES 107 cultures - as different, it should be recalled, that I am calling collectives construed by sociologists - as from the society - men-among-themselves imagined - things-in­ the Nature by epistemologists are from they themselves. these collectives are In the view of comparative anthropology said, in that they distribute both what will later, after all alike, as I have elements become and elements of the social stabilization, of Nature of a collective heaven No one has ever heard that did not mobilize world. along with bodies and souls, prope and earth in its composition, rty and ancestors, powers and beliefs, beasts and fictional beings . law, gods and . Such is the ancient anthropological never the one we have matrix, . . abandoned. But this common only the point of departure of matrix defines All collectives from one another anthropology. are different comparative in the properties they attribute to them, in the way they divide up beings, acceptable. These differences constitute they consider in the mobilization countless divides, and there is no longer a Great Divid small e to take one apart all the others. Among these small divides, there is one that we from capable izing as such, one that has distinguished the are now of recogn version of certain segments official collectives for three of certain centuries. This is our Constitution, which attributes the role of nonhumans to one set of entities, the role of citizens to another, the function of an arbitrary God to a third and cuts off the and powerless of mediation from purification. In itself this Constitution work that of us significantly since it is added to the long not separate from others, does that define us in the eyes list of differential traits of comparative Those traits could be transcribed as a set of entries in the anthropology. data base of anthropology huge -which would then simply departments have 'Human and Nonhuman Relations Area Files'! to be rechristened of variab entities, we are as different In our distribution le-geometry the Achuar as they are from the Tapirape or the from No more Arapesh. so, and no less. Such a comparison, however, respects only the conjoined production of one nature-culture, which is only one aspect of collectives. It may satisfy our sense but in various ways it encounters the same of ju stice, as absolute relativism, since ely abolishes differences by difficulty it immediat them all equally different. It does not allow us to account rendering for that other aspect of what I have been pursuing since the beginning of this essay ­ the scope of the mobilization, a scope that issimu ltaneously the consequence and the cause of its demise. of modernism This is because the principle of symmetry aims not only at establishing equality - which is only the way to set the scale at zero - but at registering es - that is, in the final analys is, asymmetri es - and at differenc understanding to means that allow some collectives the practical

115 RELATIVISM 108 might be they similar in the principle of dominate others. Even though may di ffer in size. At the of the their beginning co-production, collectives a nuclear plant, or a hole in the ozone layer, process, power weighing-in or a map metro train, or a of the human genome, or a rubber-tyred or a cluster of galaxies, weighs no more than a wood satellite network, fire, our heads, or a cart, or or a genealogy, or the sky that may fall on or a cosmogony. is is not visible in the heavens, spirits As I said above, th the symmetry. In each case these quasi-objects trace, yet enough to break both forms and forms of with their hesitant trajectories, of nature When, the weighing is complete, the first lot outlines an society. however, different collective from the second. entirely new differences, These measurable because the scales have first been calibrated by the only of symmetry, have to well. principle be recognized as the differences but they are only of size. words, are sizeable, In other (and the error of cultural They is that it ignores are important relativism ), but they are not disproportionate (and the error of universalism is them up as a Great Divid e). The collectives are all similar, that it sets them except for their helixes of a single spiral. The fact size, like the successive needs fixed stars while another that one of the collective ancestors and more eccentric, needs genes one, quasars, is explained by the and dimensions of the collective to be held together. A much larger number of objects requires a much larger number of subjects. A much greater degree of subjectivity requires greater degree of objectivity. If you want a much and his descendants, you have and his as well. If Hobbes to take Boyle you have the air pump too. This is the the Leviathan, to have you want e to resp stance that makes (the dimensions of it possible ct the differences do vary) while at the same time respecting the similarities (all the helixes mix human and nonhuman entities collectives in the same way). together Relativists, strive to put all cultures on an equal footing by viewing who as equally world whose y codings of a natural all of them arbitrar is unexplained, in respecting the succeed production efforts do not collectives to dominate one another. And universalists on the other make hand, are incapable of understanding the deep fraternity of collectives, since they are obliged access to Nature to Westerners alone, and to offer all others categories from which they will escape to imprison in social scientific, modern and Westernized. only by becoming Sciences and technologies not because they are true or are remarkable efficient properties in addition, and for reasons entirely - they gain these different from those the epistemologists provide (Latour, 1987) - but because multiply the nonh umans enrolled in the manuf acturing of they with and because they make the community that we form collectives of beings a more intimate one. The extension of the spiral, the scope these the enlistments it will bring about, the ever-increasing lengths to which it

116 ARCHIMEDES' COUP O'tTAT 109 goes beings, are what characterize the modern sciences, to recruit these break that would off for ever from epistemological not some cut them Modern knowledge different past. not in their prescientific and power are of the social, but in that they at last that they would escape the tyranny more hybrids in order to recompose the social /ink and extend many add Not the air pump but also microbes, electricity, atoms, only its scale. equations, automatons miJI.� and second-degree and robots, stars, and neurotransmitters. At each turn pistons, the unconscious in the a new translation of quasi-obj ects gives new impetus to the spiral, of the social redefinition subjects and objects alike. Sciences and body, of technologies, for 'Us', society any more than Nature reflects do not reflect structures for 'Them with mirrors. It is a matter social '. No one is fiddling themselves larger that grow collectives and of constructing on scales are indeed differences, but they are differences in size. There larger. There in nature - still less in culture. are no differences coup 4.7 Archimedes' d'etat explains this new asymmet ry which the principle of symmetry, What allows will be The relative size of collectives generalized, us to detect? modified type of a particular profoundly of non­ by the enlistment humans. us understand this variation in size, there is no more To help striking emblem than an impossible experiment recounted by Plutarch - Michel Authier it 'the canon of the savant' (Authier, 1989), has called as Boyle's air pump and it is as striking : was a kinsman of King Hiero, wrote to him who and friend Archimedes, that force it was possible to move any given weight; and with any given as we are told, by the strength of his demonstration, he emboldened, that if there were another Earth, and he could go to it, he could declared this one. was astonished and begged him to put his proposition move Hiero and show him some great weight moved by into execution, force. a slight Archimedes therefore fixed upon a three-masted merchantman of the royal fleet, which had been dragged ashore by the great labours of many men, and after putting many passengers and the customary freight, he on board himself from he seated at a distance any great effort, but r, and without setting in motion with his hand a system of compound pulleys, quietly drew her towards him smoothly and evenly, as though she were gliding through the water. Amazed then, and comprehending the power of at this, his art, the King Archimedes to prepare for him offensive and persuaded defensive engines in every kind of siege warfare. (Plutarch, to be used Perrin) us' Life, xiv, 7-9, transl. Bernadotte Marcell

117 LATIVISM 110 RE did Archimedes overturn relations through the inter­ Not only power he also reversed mediary by political of the compound pulley, relations one man offering the king a real mechanism for making physically represented time, the Sovereign stronger the a multitude than . Up to that masses whose spokesperson he was, but he had no greater strength as a procured a different principle of composition result. Archimedes for the by transforming of political representation into a Leviathan the relation proportion. geometry and statics, the of mechanical Without relation forces that infinitely Sovereign had to reckon with social overpowered But if you add the lever of technology to the play of political him. alone, representation you can become stronger than the multitude ; then you can attack yourself. It is not surprising that Hiero was and defend of technology (sunnoesas tes tecnes ). 'amazed' at the power ten dunamin until political to bring to him, power into then, It had not occurred the compound pulley. with relation lesson goes still further. This first moment through But Plutarch's Archimedes (physical) which force commensurable with (political) makes owing and small, of proportion between large force to the relation the reduced and the life-size application, between is coupled with a model even more decisive moment: second, And yet, Archimedes [after equipping Syracuse with war machines] possessed such spirit, so profound a soul, and such a wealth of a lofty theory, that although had won for him a name and scientific his inventions for superhuman he would not consent to leave behind him fame sagacity, on this subject, but regarding the work of an engineer and any treatise art that of life as ignoble to the needs every and vulgar, he ministers his earnest only to those studies. the subtlety and charm of devoted efforts are not affected by the claims which (Plutarch, xvii, 4-5 ) of necessity. Mathematical demonstrations remain incommensurable with lowly manual trades, vulgar politics, mere applications. Archimedes is div ine, the power of mathematics All vestiges of composition, is supernatural. alliance, the two moments are now effaced. connection, liaison between treatises have to disappear without trace. The Even moment first produced an unknown hybrid thanks to which the weaker became the stronger through the alliance he established between political forms and the laws of proportion. moment purifies politics and science, The second of men and the empyrean of mathematics, and renders them the empire incomparable (Serres, 1989). The Archimedean point is to be sought not in the first moment, of the two: how are we to but in the conjunction undertake politics commensurable, new means rendered suddenly with

118 ABSOLUTE RELATIVISM, RELATIVISM RELATIVIST Ill while absolutely incommensurable activities ? rejecting any link between is doubly positive defends Syracuse with the The balance sheet : Hiero to calculate through machines whose dimensions we know how also grows but the origin and the collective proportions, proportionally; of this commensurability, disappears for ever, of this variation in scale, the empyrean of mathematics of fresh forces, always leaving as a resource visible. pursued science is indeed politics le, never by other availab Yes, that are powerful only because they remain radically other means, means (Latour, 1990b). of Archimedes' coup (or rather, Plutarc h's) we identif y the By learning entry point type of nonhumans into the very fabric of the of a new It is not a matter of trying to geometry 'reflects' collective. find out how or how of 'is constrained' by the laws interests, Hiero's Syracusan society A new is constituted by enlisting geometry and geometry. collective that it has done so. Society cannot explain geometry, since it is a denying y-based new geometr that begins to defend the walls of Syracuse society Politics-based is an artifact obtained by the against Marcellus. society ion of walls and levers, pulleys eliminat just as the social and swords, context of seventeenth-century England could be obtained only by the preliminary exclusion of the air pump and the nascent science of physics . It is only when the nonhumans churned up by the collective we remove the residue, which becomes incomprehensible, that we call society, lity and its One no longer have a cause. size, its durabi because its solidity well the Leviathan with naked citizens and the social might as sustain alone, without air pumps, sword, blade, invoices, contract computers, files and palaces and Latour, 1981; Latour, 1988c; Strum and (Calion 1987). The social not hold without the objects that the Latour, link does branch of the Constitution permits other to mobilize and to us both render forever incommensurable with the social world. 4.8 Absolute Relativism and Relativist Relativism The question of relativism however, even if we take into is not closed, simultaneously likeness of natures-cultures - the account the profound matrix - and the di fference in size, the old anthropological of the scope mobilization of these collectives. In fact, as I have indicated several times, size is related to the modern Constitution. It is precisely because the Constitution that quasi-obj ects will be absolut ely and guarantees irreversibly transformed, either into objects of external nature or into subjects of society, mobilization of these quasi-objects can take that the has to amplitude . Symmetrical anthropology thus on an unprecedented

119 IVISM RELAT Ill do justice adding to it any epistemological to this peculiarity, without Metaphysical Divide, between prelogical break, any Great any difference an Archime­ 'cold' ones, between and logical so cieties, and 'hot' ones des in who meddles divine Archimedes with his head in the and a politics celestial of Ideas. The whole of the exercise is to Heavens challenge of differences of means (Goody, a maximum by a minimum generate 1977; Latour, 1990a). premoderns by this single trait: they Moderns to do differ from refuse quasi- objects as such. In their eyes, hybrids present the conceptualize that must be avoided at all costs by a ceaseless, even mania horror cal purifi this difference in constitutional representation cation. By itself, not matter very since it would not suffice to set moderns would much, others. processes are as many purifi cation from as there are There apart machine for creating differences is triggered by the But the collectives. to conceptualize quasi-obje cts, because this very refusal leads to refusal the uncontrollable proliferation type of being: the object, of a certain of the social, from the social world, attributed to a constructor expelled however, not divine - a world that produces, transcendent world that is, in contrast, a floating of law and morality. Boyle's air subject, bearer pump, microbes, Archimedes' pulleys, are such objects. These Pasteur's new nonh umans possess miraculous properties because they are at one and the same time social and asocial, producers of natures and both of subje cts. They of comparative anthro­ constructors are the tricksters this opening, and technologies will emerge in Through sciences pology. a mysterious way that this miracle society Westerners in such will force as completely different from others. The first miracle to see themselves rise to a second (why don't the others do the same gives a third ?), then l?). This feature generates a cascade of small are we so exceptiona (why that will be collected, arized and amplified by the Great differences summ the great narrative of the West, set radically apart Divide, from all cultures. Once this feature has been pinpointed, and thereby neutralized, relativism offers no more significant difficulties. Nothing keeps us from reopening the question to establish relationships among of how by defining that have hitherto been conflated. collectives two relativisms e; the second is relative. The first locked The first is absolut away cultures in exoticism and strangeness, because it accepted the universalists ' viewpoint while refusing to rally round it: if no common, uniqu e and transcendental measuring exists, then all languages are instrument untranslatable, emotions incommunicable, all rites equally all intimate respectable, all paradigms incommensurable. There is no arguing about tastes or colours. Whereas universalists declare that this common

120 ABSOLUTE RELATIVISM. RELATIVISM RELATIVIST Ill yardstick absolute relativists are delighted that there is no does exist, Their groups agree in asserting attitudes thing. may differ, but both such yardstick dispute. their absolute that the reference to some is essential to to not taking of relativism, or even the word amounts This the practice seriously. To establish relations; relativism, them very to render to regulate instruments; to institute commensurable; measuring to draw of correspondences; to chains; up dictionaries metrological of norms and standards; to extend discuss the compatibility calibrated s; to set up and negotiate valorimeters - these are some of the network of the word 'relativism' (Latour, 1988d). Absolute relativism, meanings brother like its enemy forgets that measuring instruments rationalism, to be set up. By ignoring of instrumentation, by conflating have the work nature, the anything about with science one can no longer understand of commensurability They neglect even more thoroughly notion itself. efforts Westerners have made to 'take the measure' of the enormous peoples, to 'size them up' by rendering them commensurable and other by creating that did not exist before - via military measuring standards and scientific expeditions. this task of measuring, we need to reinforce But if we are to understand the noun with 'relativist', which compensates for the noun's the adjective foolishness. Relativist relativism restores the compatibility that apparent was assumed to have been lost. To be sure, relativist relativism has to abandon what the common argument of the universalists as constituted as the earliest cultural - that is, the word 'absolute'. well relativists midway, to the end and rediscovers, in of stopping it continues Instead and montage, practice and controversy, the form and of work conquest the process of establishing relations. A little relativism domination, us from the univer sal; a lot brings us back, distances but it is a universal in networks mysterious properties. that has no more defined The absolute relativists The universalists a single hierarchy. all hierarchies equal. The relativist relativists, more modest but made more empirical, point out what and what chains serve to instruments create and equalities, hierarchies and differences (Calion, asymmetries 1992). Worlds appear commensurable or incommensurable only to those who cling measures. Yet all measures, in hard and soft to measured alike, a measuring measures, and they construct science are also that did not before their commensurability own calibration. exist Nothing either reducible or irreducible to anything else. is, by itself, Never by itself, but always through the mediation of another. How can one claim that worlds are untranslatable, when is the very translation of the process soul How can one say that worlds are of relating? dispersed, when there are hundreds of institutions that never stop totalizing them? Anthropology itself - one discipline among many

121 RELATIVI SM ... others, one institution - participat es in the work of others among many and museums, missions, relating, of sending of constructing catalogues and filing systems questionnaires, and investigators, maps, expeditions (C Fabian, opans 1983, 1986). and Jamin, 1978; 1983; Stocking, measuring measures that resolves the question Ethnology is one of those terms in practical a certain commensurab­ of relativism by constructing is insoluble, relativism - or, to of relativism relativist ility. If the question relation ism - presents no difficulty put it more elegantly, in principle. If to be completely modern, relationism will become one of the we cease resources for relating the collectives that essential will no longer be targets for Relationism will serve as an organon for modernization. negotiations over the relative that we are groping to planetary universals construct. 4.9 Small Concern ing the Disenchantment of the Mistakes World indeed from others, but we must not situate the We are different where the now-closed question differences had located of relativism them. As collectives, Except in the matter of we are all brothers. which small differences in the distribution dimension, is itself caused by we can recognize a continuous gradient of entities, premoderns between and nonmoderns. Unfortunately, the difficulty of relativism does not arise only from the bracketing off of Nature. It stems also from the related belief that the modern is truly disenchanted. It is not only world that Westerners think are radically different from out of arrogance they and by way of self-punishment. like it is also out of despair, They others, their own destiny. Their voices to frighten when themselves with quaver to Greeks, or the Centre to the Periphery, or they contrast Barbarians they celebrate when of God, or the Death of Man, the the Death European imperialism, anomie, or the end of the civilizations that Krisis, are mortal. pleasure do we get so much we now know out of being Why only so different not others but from our own past? What from psychologist will be subtle enough to explain our morose delight in being in perpetual crisis an end to hist ory? Why do we like to and in putting small differences among collectives into huge dramas ? transform in scale to bypass completely the modern In order prevents us from pathos that recogn izing the fraternity of collectives, and thus to sort them more freely, comparative anthropology has to measure these effects of size with Now the modern Constitution requires that the scaling precision. effects of our collectives be confused with their causes, which the Constitution cannot indicate without ceasing to be operative. Rightly

122 SMALL MISTAKES 115 astounded that they require by the size of the effects, the moderns believe And as the only causes prodigious Constitution recognized causes. by the they are reversed, have to because the moderns clearly appear miraculous from ordinary imagine y. In their hands, themselves as different humanit Americanized, scientifized, technologized acculturated, the uprooted, a Spock-like mutant. Haven't we shed enough tears Westerner becomes of the world over 't we frightened ourselves the disenchantment ? Haven enough the poor who is thrust into a cold soulless with European on an inert planet cosmos, devoid of meaning ? wandering in a world 't we shivered enough before the spectacle of the mechanized Haven is subject to the absolute domination of a mechanized proletarian who and capitalism bureaucracy, abandoned smack in the a Kafkaesque of language games, and formica? Haven 't we felt middle lost in cement sorry for the consumer the driver's seat of his car only enough who leaves to in the TV room move he is manipulated by the to the sofa where of the media and the postindustrialized societ y?! How we do love powers we shirt of the absurd, and what even greater pleasure the hair to wear nonsense take in postmodern ! However, we have never abandoned the old anthropological matrix. never stopped building our collectives We have raw materials made with of poor humans and humble nonh umans. How could we be capable of disenchanting the world, when every day our laboratories and our factories popula with hundreds of hybrids stranger than te the world of the day bef ore? Is Boyle's than the those air pump any less strange houses 1980)? Does it contribute any less to spirit (Tuzin, Arapesh England? How could we be victims constructing seventeenth-century of when each scientist multiplies new entities by the reductionism, in order to be reductionist for a few of them? How thousands we could be rationalists, we still don't see beyond the tip of our own noses? when could materialists, when every matter we invent possesses How we be properties that no single new allows us to unify (Dagognet, matter 1989)? How could we be victims of a total technological system, when machines are made of subjects and never succeed in settling into more or stable (Kidder, 1981; Latour, 1992a)? How could we be systems less cold of the sciences, when the sciences are hot and chilled by the breath human and controvers ial, full of thinking fragile, and of subjects reeds s who are themselve inhabit ed by things (Pickering, 1992)? The error the moderns make about themselves is easy enough to sy understand, mmetry has been reestablished and once both the once on and the work of translation have been taken into of purificati work account. The moderns confused products with processes. They believed that the production presupposed rational of bureaucratic rationalization bureaucrats; on the production of universal science depended that

123 LATIVISM RE 116 scientists; that the production technologies led to universalist of effective production of abstraction was of the effectiveness engineers; that the of formalis We formal. that the production itself abstract; m was itself oil in a refined manner, or just as well say that might produces a refinery produces 'science', that a dairy The words way! in a butterly butter 'economy', ', 'organization', 'abstraction', 'technology 'formalism', many that we must indeed respect designate and 'universality' real effects to account. and for which the we have But in no case do they designate of these same effects. These words are good nouns, but they make causes adjectives and terrible adverbs. Science lousy not produce itself does scientifically than technology produces itself technologically or any more in the lab, Boyle's descendants, know economy economically. Scientists but as soon to reflect on what they do, this perfectly as they set out well, that sociologists and epistemologists, Hobbes's they pronounce the words mouths. in their descendants, put The paradox of the moderns (and the antimoderns) is that from the they have accepted massive outset or psychological explana­ cognitive tions to explain equally massive effects, whereas in all other in order domains causes small scientific for large effects. Reductionism they seek has never applied to the modern world, whereas it was supposed to been have been applied to everyth ing! Our own mythology consists in imagining ourselves different, even before searching out as radically differences and small divides as soon �s the double small . However, mythology as well. As soon as the Divide disappears, this unravels Great taken work simultaneously with the work of of mediation is into account ordinary humanity and ordinary inhumanity must purification, come back surprise, we then discover that we know very little in. To our great causes technologies, organizations and economies. about what sciences, books on social science Open will see how and epistemology, and you they use the adjectives and adverbs 'abstract', 'rational' , 'systematic', 'universal', 'scientific', 'organized', 'total', 'comple x'. Look for the ones that try to explain 'abstraction', 'rationality', 'system', the nouns 'organization', 'complexity', without ever 'universal', 'science', 'totality', the corresponding adjectives, or the equivalent adverbs, and you using to find a dozen. Paradoxically, we know more about the will be lucky the Arapesh or the Alladians than we know about ourselves. As Achuar, long as small local causes lead to local differences, we are able to follow them. would we no longer be capable of following the thousand Why paths, with their strange topology, that lead from the local to the global return to the local ? Is anthropology forever condemned to be and reduced to territories, unable to follow network s?

124 EVEN A LONGER REMAINS LOCAL NETWORK 117 4.10 Even Remains Local at All Points a Longer Network To measure without reducing them as of our take the precise differences exaggerating as modernizers to do, and without relativism used them the moderns us say that simply invented longer to do, let tend have a certain type of nonhumans. The networks by enlisting network­ process interrupted in earlier periods, because it lengthening had been the maintenance (Deleuze and threatened of territories would have 1983). But by multiplying the hybrids, Guattari, and [1972] half object and facts, collectives have changed half subject, that we call machines topog raphy. Since their of new beings had enormous this enlistment scaling by causing relations to vary from local to global, but we effects to think about in terms of the old opposite categories of continue them we tend to transform and contingent, networks universal the lengthened of Westerners into systematic and global totalities. To dispel this it suffices to follow the unaccustomed paths that allow this mystery, in scale, of facts variation and laws rather as one and to look at networks at gas lines pipes. looks or sewage explanation of the effects of size proper to the West is easy The secular in technological networks (Bijker and others, 1987). If relativism to grasp applied had been first, it would have had no trouble understanding there this relative universal that is its greatest claim to glory. Is a railroad local or global? Neither. It is local since you always find sleepers at all points, railroad workers, have stations and automatic ticket and and you along since Yet it is global, scattered it takes you from machines the way. or from Brest to Vladivostok. However, it is not Madrid to Berlin enough to be able to take you just anywhere. It 'is impossible to universal the little Auvergnat village of Malpy by train, or the little reach village of Market There are continuous paths that Staffordshire Drayton. the local to the global, from the circumstantial to the universal, lead from from the contingent only so long as the branch lines are to the necessary, paid for. The railroad model can be extended to all the technological networks that we encounter daily. It may be that the telephone has spread everywhere, but we still know that next to a phone line if we can die right and a receiver. system may be we aren't plugged into an outlet The sewer but nothing guarantees that the tissue I drop comprehensive, on my bedroom floor will end up there. Electromagnetic waves may be everywhere, but I still have to have an antenna, a subscription and a decoder if I am to get CNN Netw ork). Thus, in the case of (Cable News technological we have no difficulty reconciling their local networks, aspect and their global dimension. They are composed of particular places, aligned by a series of branchings that cross other places and

125 RELATIVISM 118 other branchings to spread. Between the lines of the require in order is, strictly network at all: no train, no telephone, speaking, there nothing no television as the name pipe, set. Technological networks, intake no over indicates, and they retain only a few are nets thrown spaces, of those spaces. They are connected lines, not surfaces. scattered elements comprehensive, They or systematic, even though are by no means global without them, and extend a very long embrace surfaces covering they relative universalization remains way. The work of an easy-to-grasp that relationism can follow in a thoroughgoing way. Every category every alignment, every connection branching, can be documented, since it generates and every one of them has a cost. It can be extended tracers, everywhere; it can be spread as well as in space, yet almost out in time time and space 1983). filling (Stengers, without laws, and skills, however, the model For ideas, knowledge, of the network seems inadequate to those who are highly technological by the effects of diffusion, those who impressed what epistemol­ believe ogy says about The tracers become more difficult to follow, the sciences. cost is no longer and one risks losing sight of their so well documented, the local to the global. So the ancient the bumpy path that leads from the philosophical radically different from of the universal category contingent circumstances is applied to them. It seems, then, that ideas and knowledge can spread everywhere without cost. Certain ideas appear others global. Universal to be local, appears to be active present everywhere; we are gravitation and Planck's of it. Boyle's laws, Mariotte's laws, convinced constants and are constant everywhere. As for Pythagoras' legislate everywhere they seem so universal that they may theorem and transfinite numbers, escape this world here below to rejoin the works even of the divine Archimedes. that the old relativism and its enemy brother It is here begin their faces, since it is in relation to these rationalism to show and only these, universals, or the poor Arapesh that the humble Achuar or the unfortunate Burgundians appear desperately contingent and arbitrary, forever imprisoned within the narrow confines of their regional peculiarities and their local (Geertz, 1971). If we had had knowledge the world-economies Genoan or American only of the Venetian, if we had had only telephones and television, railroads and merchants, Western domination would never have appeared as anything but sewers, and fragile extension of some frail and tenuous networks. the provisional But there is science, which always renews and totalizes and fills the gaping holes in order to turn them into sleek, unified left by the networks that are absolutely universal. Only the idea that we have had of surfaces science up to now rendered absolute a dominion that might have remained relative. All the subtle pathways leading continuously from

126 EVEN A LONGER REMAINS LOCAL NETWORK 119 circumstances to been broken off by the epistemologists, have universals found and we have contingencies pitiful with on one side and ourselves necessary of course, able to - without, on the other Laws being their conceptualize relations. 'local' and 'global' work well for surfaces and as concepts, Now, badly geometry, and topology. The belief in but very for networks is a simple mistake. One branch of mathematics rationalization category with or The itinerary of ideas, knowledge confused has been another! would been understood with no trouble if we had treated them facts have networks (Schaffer, 1988, 1991; Shapin like technological and Schaffer, 1985; Warwick, the assimilat ion is made easier not 1992). Fortunately, by the end of epistemology but also by the end of the Constitution, only transformations it authorizes without and that by the technological The itinerary of facts becomes as easy to follow including of them. as that or telephones, thanks to the materialization of the spirit that railways machines and computers allow. When information is measured thinking in bytes and bauds, one subscribes to a data bank, when one can when into from) a network of distributed intelligence, it is plug (or unplug to go on picturing universal thought harder over the as a spirit hovering waters (Levy, 1990). Reason today has more in common with a cable television network than with Platonic ideas. It thus becomes much less difficult than and our constants, our it was in the past to see our laws and our theorems, as stabilized that circulate demonstrations objects but remain metrological networks to be sure, within well-laid-out widely, they are incapable of exiting - except through branchings, from which and decodings. subscriptions To speak in popular terms about a subject that has been dealt with in learned discourse, we might compare largely facts to frozen scientific fish: the cold keeps them fresh must not be interrupted, chain that briefly produces the same effects as however . The universal in networks l, but it no longer has the same the absolute universa causes. It is fantastic possible to verify gravitation 'everywhere', but at the price of the relative extension of the networks for measuring and interpreting. The air's spring can be verified provided that one hooks up to an air everywhere, that little by little throughout Europe owing to the pump spreads transformations of the experimenters (Shapin multiple fer, and Schaf 1985). Try to verify the tiniest fact, the most trivial law, the humb lest constant, without subscribing to the multiple metrological networks, to laboratories and instruments. theorem and Planck's The Pythagorean spread constant and rockets, machines and instruments, but into schools they do not exit from their worlds any more than the Achuar leave their villages. constitute lengthened networks, the latter territories The former not is important and must be respected , but let us or loops: the difference

127 RELATIVISM 120 the former into universals into use it to justify transforming and the latter the West localities. gravitation is may believe To be sure, that universal of any instrument, any in the absence any calculation, universal even of New Guinea decoding, any laboratory, just as the Bimin-Kuskumin y, but these are respectable all of humanit they comprise may believe that anthropology is no longer obliged to share. belief s that comparative is a Skein 4. 1 1 The Leviathan of Networks have unable to keep from exaggerating the as the moderns been Just (by pulling away the subtle network universality of their sciences of instruments and institutions that paved the way from practices, to necess ities), symmetrically, they have been contingencies unable to do anything the size and solidity of their own societies. They but exaggerate themselves thought they invented the universality revolutionary because torn peculiarities were for all time, and of sciences that out of local they invented rationalized organizations that broke with because gigantic the local loyalties of the past. In so doing, they missed the originality all of their twice over: a new topology that makes it possible own inventions everywhere, occupying anything except narrow to go almost yet without of force and a continuous hybridization between lines objects socialized and societies rendered more durable through the proliferation of nonh umans. The moderns got excited about virtues they are incapable of possessing (rationalizati they likewise flagellated themselves for on), but quite incapable of committing again)! In sins they are (rationalization they length or connection for differences in level. cases, mistook both They really were such things as people, ideas, situations thought there were local and organizations, that rules that were global. They laws, believed were contexts and other situations that enjoyed the that there property of being 'decontextualized' or 'delocalized'. And mysterious indeed, network of quasi- objects is not reconstituted, if the intermediary it becomes just as difficult to grasp society as scientific truth, and for the same reasons. mediators that have been effaced had contained The while the isolated, once everything, are no longer anything at extremes, all. Without the countless objects that ensured their durability as well as their solidity, the traditional objects of social theory - empire, classes, professions, organizations, - become so many mysteries (Law, States 92; Law and Fyfe, 1988). What, for example, is the size of IBM, 1986, 19 or the Red Army, or the French Ministry of Education, or the world size, since market these are all actors of great ? To be sure, they mobilize hundreds of thousands or even millions of agents. Their amplitude must

128 LEVIATHAN IS A SKEIN OF NETWORKS THE Ill therefore stem that absolutely causes collectives of surpass from the small the if we wander inside IBM, if we follow the However, about past. of the chains of command of the Red Army, if we inquire in the corridors the process of selling and buying a bar study if we Ministry of Education, leave the local level. We are always of soap, with we never in interaction the building always has his territory four or five people; superintendent conversations just like those of the out; the directors' sound well staked employees; as for the salespeople, they go on and on giving change and invoices. Could the filling be made up of micro­ out their macro-actors (Garfinkel, 1967)? Could IBM be made up of a series of local actors ns? The Red Army of an aggregate of conversations in the mess interactio ? The Ministry of a mountain of pieces of paper ? The of Education hall of a host of local exchanges ? world market and arrangements problem of trains, telephones, or the same as that We rediscover How can one be connected without universal either constants. being or global? Modern sociologists and economists have a hard time local the problem. Either they remain at the 'micro' level, posing of that interpersonal or they move abruptly to the 'macro' level and no contacts, deal alized anything, they believe, but decontextu with and longer depersonalized The myth of the soulless, agentless rationalities. like that of the pure and perfect marketplace, offers the bureauracy, mirror-image of the myth of universal scientific laws. Instead of the continual progression inquir y, the moderns have imposed an of an difference as radical sixteenth-century differentiation ontological as the worlds knew neither change nor uncer­ the supralunar that between same tainty. had a good laugh with Galileo at that (The physicists distinction - but then they rushed to reesta blish it in order to ontological the laws of physics from social corruption !) protect is an 's thread that would allow us to pass with Yet there Ariadne from the local to the global, from the human continuity to the nonhuman. of networks of practices and instruments, of It is the thread and translations. An organization, a market, an institution, documents are not supralunar objects made of a different matter from our poor local sublunar relations (Cambrosio 1990). The only difference stems et al. the fact that they up of hybrids and have to mobilize a from are made numb er of objects for their description. The capitalism of Karl great or Fernand Marx is not the total capitalism of the Marxists Braudel (Braudel, of somewhat longer networks that rather 1985). It is a skein inadequately embrace a world on the basis of points that become centres of profit In following it step by step, one never crosses and calculation. the mysterious limes that should divide the local from the global. The organization of American described by Alfred Chandler big business (Chandler, is is not the Organization described by Kafka. It 1977, 1990)

129 R LATIVISM 122 E a braid of networks order slips and flow charts, local in materialized procedures perm it it to spread to an and special which arrangements, so long as not cover that continent. One can continent entire it does of an organization in its entirety without ever follow the growth and without ever discovering 'decontextualized' changing levels rational­ size State is obtained only by the very of a totalitarian ity. The of statistics and calculations, construction and of a network of offices iries, which in no way corresponds to the fantastic topography of the inqu State (Desrosieres, 1990). The scientific o-technological empire of total Kelvin Lord by Norton Wise (Smith and Wise, 1989), or the described market as described Hughes (Hughes, 1983), never electricity by Tom the particularities room the meeting us to leave require of the laboratory, Yet these centre. of power' and these 'lines of or the control 'networks do extend across the entire world. The markets described force' by the Economy are indeed regulated and global, even though of conventions of the causes regulation and that aggregation is itself either none of that or total. The aggregates are not made global some substance from different from what they are aggregating (Thevenot, 1989, 1990). No visible or invisib le hand suddenly descends to bring order to dispersed and chaotic individual local and global, are atoms. The two extremes, less interesting than arrangements that we are much the intermediary networks. calling 4. 12 A Perverse for the Margins Taste and 'social' designate representations Just as the adjectives 'natural' of that are neither natural nor social in themselves, so the words collectives and 'global' offer points of view 'local' that are by nature on networks neither nor global, but are more or less long and more or less local these What have called connected. exoticism consists in taking I modern two pairs of oppositions as what defines our world and what would set us apart from all others. So four different regions are thus created. The natural and the social are of the same ingredients; the not composed and the local distinct. Yet we know nothing about global are intrinsically is not defined by what we think we know about the the social that and vice versa. natural, we define the local only by contrast Similarly, what with to attribute to the global, and vice versa. So we think we have the strength of the error that the modern world makes about itself is now understandable, the two couples of opposition are paired: in the when no there is nothing thinkable - no collective, no network, middle mediation; all conceptual resources are accumulated at the four extremes. We poor subject-objects, we humble societies-natures, we

130 A PERVERSE TASTE FOR THE MARGINS Ill modest quartered among ontological regions locals-globals, are literally other mutually resemble our practices. that define each but no longer unfurl the tragedy man it possible to of modern makes This quartering and considering different from all himself as absolutely irremediably ies and all other naturalities. But such a tragedy is not other humanit that these four terms are representations without inevitable, if we recall to the collectives any direct them and the networks relation that give where is supposed to be happening, g. In the middle, meanin nothing there And at the extremes - which according to the is almost everything. house the origin of all forces, Nature and Society, Universality moderns - there and Locality purified agencies that serve as is nothing except constitutional for the whole. guarantees becomes The tragedy ul still when the antimoderns, taking more painf say about value, at face the moderns want to save what themselves what looks to them like a shipwreck. The antimoderns something from the world, and disenchanted t the West has rationalized tha firmly believe truly peopled the social with cold and rational monsters which that it has all of space, transf ormed the premodern saturate that it has definitively into a mechanical interaction of pure matters. But instead of cosmos ul, these processes do - as glorious, albeit painf as the modernizers seeing conquests - the antimoderns see the situation as an unparalleled catastrophe. Except for the plus or minus sign, moderns and antimoderns share all the same The postmoderns, always perverse, accept convictions. is indeed catastrophic, but they maintain the idea that the situation that it than ! They claim weakness as their rather bemoaned is to be acclaimed as one of them affirms in his own inimi ultimate style: 'The virtue, table of metaphysics is exercised as Vermindung of the Ge-Ste/1' Vermindung 1987 , p. 184). (Vatimo, do the antimoderns do, then, when they are confronted with this What ? They on the courageous task of saving what can be shipwreck take : souls, mind s, emotions, interpersonal relations, saved the symbolic dimension, warmth, local specificities, hermeneutics, the margins human An admirable mission, but one that would be more and the peripheries. admirable still if all those sacred vessels were actually threatened. Now where does come from? Surely not from collectives incapable the threat their and narrow networks populated with souls of abandoning fragile not from sciences whose and objects. Surely universality has to be relative purchased, day after day, by branchings and calibrations, instruments and alignments. Surely not from societies whose size varies only so long as material characterized by variab le ontology proliferate. Where entities does it come from, then? Well, in part from the antimoderns themselves, and and from accomplices the moderns, who frighten each other their add gigantic causes to the effects of size. 'You are disenchanting the

131 RELATIVISM 124 I shall of the spirit!' 'You want to maintain the world; maintain the rights materialize spirit? Then !' The it!' 'Reductionists we shall !' 'S piritualists the spiritualists to save the romantics, more seek the antireductionists, the scientistics, the materialists subjects, the more the reductionists, objects. The more the latter boast, the more possess imagine that they the former; the wilder the former become, they the frighten the more believe they themselves are indeed terrifying. Are not most latter that with tasks: defending two opposite but symmetrical busy ethicists those and the polluting influence of of science the purity rationality from interests; defending e values and rights of human passions and the uniqu cts against subje of scientific and technical objectivity ? the domination The defence presupposes the existence of a totalitarian of marginality But if the centre and its are illusions, acclaim for the centre. totality ridiculous. of to defend the claims is somewhat margins It is fine to want body warmth against the cold universality of the suffering and human laws. But if universality stems from a series scientific in which of places warm bodies are suffering everywhere, is not this defence flesh-and-blood ? Protecting beings from the domination of machines grotesque human is a lauda ble enterprise, but if the machines and technocrats are full of human beings who find their salvation there, such a protection is merely absur d (Ellul, 1967). It is admirable to demonstrate that the strength of the spirit transcends of mechanical nature, but this programme the laws if matter is not at not at all is idiotic all material and machines are admirable to save Being, with a cry of It is to seek mechanical. moment when technological desperation, seems to at the very Ge-Stell everything, because 'where danger is, grows the saving power dominate perverse to seek to profit brazenly from also'. But it is rather that a crisis has not yet commenced! for the origins myths, and you will almost always Look of the modern among those who claim to be countering modernism with find them the impenetrable of the spirit, of emotion, the subject, or the margins. barrier In the effort a supplement of soul to the modern world, the one it to offer has is taken away - the one it had, the one it was quite incapable of losing. That and that addition are the two operations that subtraction and frighten each other by allow the moderns the antimoderns to on the essential point: we are absolutely different from agreeing the others, and we have broken radically with our own past. Now sciences and technologies, organizations and bureaucracies are the only proofs always offered by moderns antimoderns of that unparalleled and catastrophe, that science studies can and it is precisely through them demonstrate the permanence of the old anthropological matrix best and most To be sure, the innovation of lengthened networks 1s directly. fuss. but it is hardly a reason to make such a great important,

132 AVOID ADDING CRIMES TO OLD NEW 125 4. 13 Avoid Crimes to Old Adding New to soothe the modern of dereliction, It is quite dif ficult, however, sense is a sentiment in itself: the point that is respectable its starting because awareness crimes against the rest of the of having commit ted irreparable worlds, as well as crimes against the self whose natural and cultural and intentions seem without precedent. How can moderns scope indeed humanit ity without being too ordinary y and inhuman be restored to of the crimes that they are right hastily expiate ? How absolved to seek to aim - correctly - that our crimes are frightful, but that they can we cl ordinary; that our virtues are great, but that they remain too are quite ordinary ? can be compared to our access : we must not Our misdeeds to Nature causes as we measure their effects, for that their even exaggerate would be the cause exaggeration itself of greater crimes. Every even if it is critical, helps totalita rianism. We need not add totalization, domination to real domination. Let us not add total to force. We power total imperialism to real imperialism. We need not add not grant need deterritorialization which is also quite real absolute to capitalism, (Deleuze and Guattari, [1972] 1983). Similarly, enough not need we do to credit scientific truth and technological efficacity with transcendence, also total, and rationality, also absolute. With misdeeds as with domination, with as with sciences, what we need to capitalisms is the ordinary dimens and their large understand ion: the small causes 1963; Mayer, (Arendt, effects 1988). be more satisfying for us because we still remain Demonizing may even in evil; we remain cut off from all others and from our excep tional past, modern at least for the worst after thinking own modern we were for the best. participates, in devious ways, in what it But totalization to abolish. its practitioners powerless in the face of the claims It renders whom it endows with fantastic enemy, A system that is total properties. and sleek does not get divided up. A transcendental and homogeneous nature does not get recombined. A totally systematic technological system cannot by anyone. A Kafkaesque society cannot be be reshuffled A 'deterritorializing' ely schizophrenic capital­ renegotiated. and absolut never be redistributed by anyone. A West ism will cut off from radically other cultures-natures is not open to discussion. Cultures imprisoned for ever in arbitrary, complete and consistent representations cannot be evaluated. A world forgotten Being will be saved by no that has totally one. A past which we are forever separated by radical epistemologi­ from cal breaks cannot be sorted out again by anyone at all. All these supplements of are attributed by their critics to actors totality hesitatingly did not ask for them. Take some small business-owner who

133 RELATIVISM 126 a few market shares, some with fever, going after conqueror trembling tinkering some poor piecing together in his lab, a lowly scientist engineer of force, stuttering and relationships some a few more or less favourable and what do you get? fearful politician; turn the critics loose on them, technology, domination - all equally , science, imperialism Capitalism, totalitarian. In the first scenario, absolute, were systematic, the actors ng; in the second, not. The actors in the first scenario trembli they are the second, can. In the first scenario, be defeated; in they no longer could still quite close to the modest work the actors and were of fragile they are purified, and they are all equally modifiable mediations; now formidable. is to be done, then, with such sleek, filled-in surfaces, What such with absolute Turn them inside out all at once, of course; subvert totalities? revolutionize them - such was of those modernists par them, the strategy . Oh, what paradox ! By means of the the Marxists a lovely excellence, the moderns critical invented at one and the same time the spirit, have total the total revolution to put an end to the system, and the system, total failure to carry out that revolution - a failure that leaves equally in total despair! Isn't this the cause of many of the them postmodern with which we reproach crimes ? By considering the Constitu­ ourselves tion instead of the work of translation, the critics have imagined that we were incapable of tinkering, reshuf fling, crossbreeding and sorting. On the basis of the fragile networks that collectives have heterogeneous formed, the critics elaborated homogeneous totalities that always have touched totally they were not be revolutionized. And could unless this subversion but they tried it anyway, they because was impossible, gone from one crime to another. How have 'Noli me could the totalizers' tangere' off as a proof of morality? Might the belief in a still be passed and total then lead to immorality ? radical modernity it would be less unjust to speak of a generational effect. We Perhaps were born after the war, with the black camps and then the red camps behind us, with famines below us, the nuclear apocalypse over our heads, and the global destruction us. It is indeed difficult of the planet ahead of effects but it is still more difficult to believe for us to deny the of scale, unhesitatingly in the incomparable virtues of the political, medical, or economic revolutions. scientific amid sciences, we Yet we were born have known only peace and prosperity, and we love - should we admit it? - the technologies and consumer objects that the philosophers and moralists of earlier generations us to abhor. For us, technologies advise they are not new, in the banal sense of the word, since are not modern they have always constituted our world. More than earlier generations, ours has digested, integrated, and perhaps socialized them. Because v:e

134 TRANS CEND ABOUND ENCES 127 are the first who in the virtues nor in the dangers of believe neither but share their science seeing vices and technology, and virtues without it is perhaps for their for us to look hell in them, either heaven or easier man's burden, or the fatality of without causes appealing to the white of Europe, or the history of Being, capitalism, or the destiny or universal Perhaps today to give up the belief in our own rationality. it is easier but ordinary. the others are We are not exotic strangeness. As a result, are like us, they They never stopped being our not exotic either. have Let us not add to the crime that of believing that we are brethren. different radically to all the others. Abound 4.14 Transcendences modern, and if we are not premodern either, If we are no longer entirely basis the comparison to establish on what of then are we going collect ives? As we now we have to add the unofficial work of know, to the official Constitu tion. When mediation the Constitu­ we compared tion to the cultures by the asymmetrical anthropology of the described we ended up relativism and an impossible modernization. past, only with we compare the translation work If on the contrary, we of collectives, symmetrical anthropology possible, and we dispel the false make problems of absolute relativism. But we also deprive ourselves of the resources developed by the modern Nature, Discourse - not s: the Social, the crossed-out God. the ultimate difficulty of to mention This is has become in what that comparison common relativism: now possible, do all collectives, of natures and societies, find space producers equally immers ed? themselves Are they in nature not, since sleek, transcendent, external ? Certainly is the relative consequence of collective production. nature and belated ? Not there either, since society Are they in society is only the symmetrical artifact of nature, what is left when all objects are removed, and the mysterious transcendence of the Leviathan is produced. Are they in language, then? Impossible, is another artifact that has since discourse external of the referent and the social meaning only when the reality are both bracketed off. Are they in God? That is not very context for the metaphysical entity that bears this name merely probable, occupies of a remote referee so as to maint ain as much distance the place as possible between two symmetrical entities, Nature and Society. Are they ? That is even less likely since, through an astonishing in Being paradox, the thought of Being has become precisely a residue, what is left over after every science, every technology, every society, every history,

135 RELATIVISM 128 language, every has been abandoned to the pure every theology, Naturalization, socialization, discursivization, expansionism of beings. - all these are equally implausible. divin '-izations' ontologization ization, None basis on which collectives, thus rendered of them forms a common repose. No, we do not fall from Nature into the comparable, might the Social into Discourse, from Discourse into God, from Social, from Those agencies had role to play only so into Being. a constitutional God remained distinct. No one of them can cover, long e as they fill, subsum no one of them can serve to describe the work of mediation the others; and translation. are we, then? Where do we land? As long as we keep asking Where that question, stakably in the modern world, obsessed with we are unmi the construction to reside in] or the of one immanence [immanere: We still remain - within of another. - to use the old word deconstruction by traversing these networks, we do not come to rest metaphysics. Now particularly homogeneous. We remain, rather, within an anything in Are we immanent, then, one force among others, infra-physics. texts among other one society among other societies, being among texts, ? beings that either, for if, instead of attaching poor phenomena to the Not hooks of Nature and Society, we let mediat ors produce natures and solid we reverse the direction of the modernizing transcendences. societies, Natures and societies become the relative products of history. However, we do not fall into alone, since networks are immersed in immanence We do not need a mysterious for them to propagate nothing. ether to fill in blanks. of the We do not need It is the conception themselves. and 'imman ence' that ends up being terms by 'transcendence' modified return to nonmodernity. Who told us that transcendence the moderns' a contrary ? We have never abandoned transcendence - that had to have enance is, the maint by the mediation of a pass. in presence were always by the diffuse aspect of active or spiritual Moderns struck in other so-called premodern cultures. forces were pure Nowhere matters, pure mechanical forces, put into play. Spirits and agents, gods and ancestors, were blended in at every point. In contrast, from the moderns' viewpoint world appeared disenchanted, drained the modern dominated forces of pure immanence on of its mysteries, by the sleek we humans alone imposed some which dimension and beyond symbolic which there existed, perhaps, the transcendence of the crossed-out God. Now if there is no immanence, if there are only networks, agents, actants, we cannot ans are not the ones who arbitrarily add Hum be disenchanted. pure material forces. These forces are as the 'symbolic dimension' to , active transcendent, agitated, spiritual, as we are. Nature is no more immedi ately accessible than society or the crossed-out God. Instead of

136 TRANSCENDENCE$ ABOUND 129 the subtle three entities each of which was at play of the moderns among and once proliferation of immanent, transcendent we get a single invented the supposed term to counter transcendences. A polemical has to change meaning invasion is no of immanence, the word if there term. an opposite longer that lacks a contrary I call this '. The transcendence 'delegation or the delegation, or the of a message or a messenger, utterance, sending to remain - that is, to exist. When we it possible in presence makes do not fall upon someone abandon the modern world, we or something, on an essence, but on a process, on a movement, a we do not land - literally a pass, in the sense of this term passage in ball games. as used We start a continuous and hazardous existence - continuous from because it is hazardous we start from a - and not from an essence; from from We start and not the vinculum itself, permanence. presenting, not accepting as a starting point any being and relations, from passages not emerge from this relation that is at once collective, real and that does discursive. We do not start human beings, those latecomers, nor from language, arrival still. The world of meaning and the from a more recent of being are one and world world, that of translation, the same substitution, delegation, passing. We shall say that any other definition of essence is 'devoid of meanin g'; in fact, it is devoid of the means to remain in presence, to last. All ity, all solidity, all permanence will have to durabil by its mediators. It is this exploration be paid for of a transcendence that makes so very ummodern, with all a contrary our world without delegates, fetishes, those nuncios, figurines, instru­ mediators, machines, angels, lieutenants, spokespersons and cherubim. ments, representatives, sort of world is it that obliges us to take into account, at the same What and in the same time the nature of things, technologies, sciences, breath, beings, large and small, politics, jurisdictions, fictional religions and unconsciousnesses ? Our own, economies That world of course. ceased to be modern when we replaced all essences with the mediators, delegates and translators that gave them meaning. That is why we do not yet recognize it. It has taken aspect, with all those on an ancient angels Yet it does not resemble the cultures delegates, and lieutenants. by ethnologists, either, for Western ethnologists studied never had undertaken the symmetrical work of bringing delegates, mediators and translators back home, into their own community. Anthropology had been on the basis of science, or on the basis of society, or on the built basis of language; it always alternated between universalism and cultural relativism, and in the end it may have taught us as little about 'Them' as about 'Us'.

137 5 D REDISTRIBUTION 5.1 The tion Impossible Moderniza out the modern After it had been Constitution sketching and the reasons why the revolution had been le for so long; after showing invincib critical of quasi-objects that obliged us to see the overwhelmed by the emergence with modern dimension ; after reesta blishing together the nonmodern and thus measuring their differences in size symmetry among collectives settling the question of relativism at the same time, I can now while this essay conclude the most difficult quest ion: the question by tackling world I maintain, without ever of the nonmodern that we are entering, having really left it. although it destroyed the near-totality of cultures and Modernization, by force and bloodshed, had a clear objective. Modernizing natures made between to distinguish finally the laws of external nature it possible of society. The conquerors undertook this partition and the conventions everywhere, consigning hybrids either to the domain of objects or to that of society. The process was accompanied by a coherent of partitioning continuous front in science, technology, and of radical revolutions istration, and religion, a veritable bulldozer operation admin economy which the past disappeared for ever, behind of which, at but in front least, up. The past was a barbarian medley; the future, the future opened a civilizing To be sure, the moderns have always recognized distinction. that they too had blended objects and societies, cosmologies and only sociologies. was in the past, while they were still this But premodern. By increasingly terrifying revolutions, they have been able to tear themselves away from that past. Since other cultures still mix the constraints y with the needs of their societies, they have to be of rationalit past. g their from that confusion by annihila tin to emerge helped

138 THE IMPOSSIBLE MODERNIZATION Ill Modernizers well that even in their own midst islands of know perfectly in which technological and social barbarianism remain, efficacity But before they will have intertwined. long are excessively arbitrariness achieved liquidated those islands, and we modernization, they will have the same planet; we shall all be equally modern, all shall all inhabit capable of profiting forever escapes the equally from what, alone, interest: rationality, scientific truth, technolo­ of social economic tyranny gical efficiency. continue Certain as if such a fate were possible modernizers to speak . However, one has only to express it to see how self­ and desirable tory this claim is. How contradic we bring about the purification of could sciences societies at last, when the modernizers themselves are and for the proliferation of hybrids to the very Constitu­ responsible thanks proliferate existence their them ? For a long tion that makes by denying this contradiction hidden by the moderns' very increase. time, was revolutions in the State, and sciences, and technologies, were Permanent to end up absorbing, purifying and civiliz ing the hybrids by supposed them into society or into nature. But the double incorporating either was my starting point, that of socialism - at stage failure that left - and that of naturalism right - has made the work - at stage of purification less plausib le and the contradiction more visible. There are no more revolutions in store to impel a continued forward flight. There are so many hybrids any longer how to lodge them in the old that no one knows land of modernity. Hence abrupt paral ysis. promised the postmoderns' toward but what can we was ruthless the premoderns, Modernization ization ? Imperialist violence say about offered a postmodern at least but sudden weakness on the part of the conquerors is far worse future, cut off from the past, it now also for, always with the future. breaks Havin slapped in the face with modern reality, poor populations g been have to postmodern hyperreality. Nothing has value; now to submit is a reflection, a simulacrum, a floating everything sign; and that very weakness, they say, may save us from the invasion of technologies, sciences, reasons. Was it really worth destroying everything to end up adding this insult injury? The empty world in which the to that evolve alone, they themselves, and they postmoderns have is one because they have taken the moderns at their word. Postmod­ emptied, ernism of the contradiction of modernism, but it is unable is a symptom to diagnose this contradiction because it shares the same upper half of the Constitution - the and the technologies are extrahuman - but it sciences no longer shares of the Constitution's strength and greatness ­ the cause the prolif eration of quasi-objects and the multiplication of intermediaries between humans and nonhumans allowed by the absolute distinction between humans and nonhumans.

139 REDISTRIBUTION ll2 the diagnosis is not difficult to make, now that we are However, very the work of purification of mediation obliged to consider and the work of the Western it at the worst moments imperium, Even symmetrically. was never of Nature from social a matter of clearly separating the Laws a matter of constructing conventions once and for all. It was always type of nonhumans and a certain type of collectives by mixing a certain Boyle-style and Hobbes­ in the process objects humans, and extracting style subjects (not to mention the crossed-out God) on an ever-increasing scale. is an interesting peculiarity, but The innovation of longer networks to set us radically apart from others, or to cut us off for it is not sufficient from our past. Modernizers ever to continue their are not obliged revolutionary their forces, ignoring the postmoderns' task by gathering gritting their and continuing to believe in the dual predicament, teeth, and since no matter what, of naturalism that promises socialism has never got off the ground. It was never particular modernization but the official representation of another anything more profound much and different had always been going on and continues today work that scale. we obliged to struggle against on an ever-increasing Nor are - in the militant manner modernization or the of the antimoderns disillusio ned manner of the postmoderns - since we would then be attacking the upper half of the Constitution alone, which we would merely be reinforcing remaining unaware of what has always been while of its vitalit y. the source this diagnosis allow any remedy for the impossible moderniz­ But does been saying all along, the Constitution allows hybrids ation ? If, as I have it refuses to conceptualize them as such, then it because to proliferate the re only so long mains denies their existence. Now, if effective as it fruitful between the two parts - the official work of contradiction and the unofficial work of mediation - becomes clearly purification the Constitution cease to be effective? Won't moderniz­ visible, won't ation become impos sible? Are we going to become - or go back to being -premodern ? Do we have ourselves to becoming antimode rn? to resign of any better are we going to have to continue to be For lack option, but without conviction, in the twilight modern, of the postmods? zone 5.2 Final Examinations To answer these questions, we must first sort out the various positions I have outlined in the course of this essay, to bring the nonmodern to to terms with positions have to offer. What are we going the best those retain from the moder ns? Everything, apart from exclusive confidence in the upper half of their Constitution, because this Constitution will need

140 FINAL EXAMINATIONS Ill to be amended its lower half too. The moderns' somewhat to include proliferation of hybrids, lengthening of a greatness stems from their their their of traces, of the production of network, certain type acceleration of delegates, groping production of relative multiplication their their daring, their research, their innovativeness, their universals. Their youthful their the ever-increasing scale of their tinkering, excesses, of stabilized of society, the the creation objects independent action, liberated from objects - all these are features freedom of a society we to keep. On the other hand, we cannot retain the illusion (whether want deem it positive or negative) that moderns have about themselves they to generalize and want atheist, materialist, spiritualist, to everyone: rational, effective, universal, critical, radically different theist, objective, communities, in a state a past that is maintained other from cut off from due only survival separated from a nature on of artificial to historicism, subjects or society would arbitrarily impose categories, denoun­ which at war with themselves, prisoners of an absolute dichotomy cers always things and signs, and values. between facts felt far removed the premoderns because of the Westerners from Great Divide - a simple External as I have noted, of the exportation, Internal Great Divide. When the latter is dissolved, the former dis­ appears, to be replaced by differences in size. Symmetrical anthropology has redistributed the Great Now that we are no longer so far Divide. from the premoderns when we talk about the removed - since to include part of ourselves -we are going to we have a large premoderns as well. Let us keep what have them, above to sort them out is best about inabilit y to differentiate durably between the all: the premoderns' and the pure poles of Nature networks their obsessive and Society, interest g about the production of hybrids of Nature and in thinkin of things their certainty that transcendences abound, Society, and signs, capacity for conceiving of past and future their ways other than in many progress and decadence, the multiplication of types of nonhumans different from those of the moderns. On the other hand, we shall not retain the set of limits they impose of collectives, on the scaling by territory, the scapegoating ethnocentrism, and localization process, nondif ferentiation of natures and societies. finally the lasting seems impossible and even contradictory But the sorting in the face of what said above. Since the invention of longer networks I have and the increase in size of some collectives depends on the silence they maintain about quasi-obje cts, how can I promise to keep the changes of scale and give up the invisibilit them to spread? Worse still, how could y that allows I reject the premoderns the lasting nondi fferentiation of natures and from societies, and reject from the moderns the absolut e dichotomy between natures and societi es? How can size, exploration, proliferation be

141 REDISTRIBUTION ll

142 EXAMINATIONS FINAL 135 is retained What is rejected What From the -long nerworks berween -separation -size moderns nature and society -experimentation the -clandestineness of universals -relative of mediation practices -final separation Great Divide -external objective berween denunciation -critical society nature and free -universality, y rationalit From the of things -non-separability always to -obligation link the and signs premoderns social and natural orders without -transcendence -scapegoating mechanism a contrary ethnocentrism • of nonhumans -multiplication • territory -limits on scale by intensity -temporality the From -multiple times -belief in modernism post -constructivism -critical deconstruction moderns -reflexivity -ironic reflexivity -denaturalization -anachronism What and what is rejected Figure 5.1 is retained attacked them for. Even in their rearguard what the antimoderns the antimoderns managed to innovate, occupying the combats, never role that was reserved for them. It cannot even be said in their minor that they put the brakes favour frenzy - those moderns on the moderns' for whom were always, in effect, the best of stooges. the antimoderns The balance sheet of this examinat ion is not too unfavourable. We can keep the Enlightenment modernity, provided that we reintegrate without of the sciences and technologies the Constitution, as the objects into others no longer genesis must many quasi-objects among - objects whose but mus through and through, from the hot be clandestine, t be followed that spawned events to the progressive cool-down that the objects transf them into essences of Nature or Society. orms to draw would that Is it possible allow us to up a Constitution this work officially? We must do this, since old-style recognize modernization can no longer absorb either other peoples or Nature; such, at least, on which this essay is based. For its own is the conviction the modern itself can no longer extend good, without becoming world once what it has never ceased to be in practice - that is, a again nonmodern world like all the others. This fraternity is essential if we are to absorb that revolutionary modernization left the two sets of entities behind: the natural crowds that we no longer master, the human multitudes that no one dominates any longer. Modern temporality gave the impression acceleration by relegating ever-larger of continuous masses of the past. and nonh umans together to the void of humans

143 REDISTRIBUTION 136 rsibilit y has changed If there is one thing we can no longer get Irreve sides. and multitudes, rid of, it is those global. The both natures equally up again, at a new to It has been necessary starts political task cost. from top to bottom in order to absorb y the fabric of modif our collectives century and the worker of the nineteenth. the citizen of the eighteenth We have ourselves just as thoroughly in order to make shall to transform for the nonh and technology. s created by science today, room, uman Redistributed anism 5.3 Hum we can amend the Constitution, we first have to relocate the Before to which humanism does not render human, justice. Here are sufficient sQme of figures that the moderns have been able to depict the magnificent the free agent, the citizen of the Leviathan, the and preserve: builder the human of a relationship, the other visage of distressing person, the the hermeneut, the inner self, the thee and thou consciousness, cogito, presence to oneself, intersubjectivity. But all these figures of dialogue, asymmetrical, are the remain counterpart of the object of the for they - an object orphaned, abandoned in the hands of sciences that remains epistemologists, like sociologists, deem reductive, objective, those whom Where are the Mouniers of machines, the Levinases of animals, rational. the Ricoeurs of facts? Yet the human, as we now understand, cannot be grasped and saved unless that other part of itself, the share of things, is restored to it. So long is constructed through contrast with as humanism that has been abandoned neither the human the object to epistemology, can be understood. uman nor the nonh situate the human? A historical succession of quasi­ Where are we to subjects, it is impossible to define the human by an essence, quasi- objects, known for a long time. Its history and its anthropology as we have are too diverse once and for all. But Sartre's clever for it to be pinned down it as a free existence itself from a nature devoid move, defining uprooting is obviously not one we can make, since of significance, invested we have all quasi-obje cts with action, will, meaning, and even speech. There is no longer a practico-inert where the pure liberty of human existence can get bogged down. it to the crossed-out God (or, conversely, to To oppose it with of their is equally impossible, since it is by virtue reconcile Him) to Nature that Constitution common opposition has defined the modern Must all three. be steeped in Nature, then? But if we were to the human go looking for specific results of specific scientific disciplines that would clothe robot animat ed with neurons, impulses, selfish genes, this elementary needs and economic calculations, we would never get beyond monsters and masks. The sciences multiply new definitions of humans

144 HUMAN TED 117 ISM REDISTRIBU ones, reduce them to any managing to displace without the former unify one, or add reality; they do not subtract homogeneous They them. that they laborato ry are still more exotic invent it. The hybrids in the down. than those they claim to break Must the death of man and dissolve him in the announce we solemnly that structures of inhuman reflection language, play of an evanescent all underst anding? No, since we are no more in Discourse would escape In any event, is sufficiently inhuma n to we are in Nature. nothing than beings in it and announce their death. Their dissolve their human will, their words are too abun dant. Will we have to avoid the question actions, g the human by makin transcendental that would distance us something for ever from nature ? This would amount to falling back on just mere of the modern Constitution. use force to one of the poles Will we have to provisional definition inscribed in the rights some and particular extend of constituti ons? This would of man to tracing or the preambles amount again the two Great Divides, and believing in modernization. out once does not possess a stable form, it is not formless for all If the human If, instead that. to one constitutional pole or the other, we of attaching it it closer it becomes the mediator and even the move to the middle, of the two. The human is not a constitutional intersection be pole to opposed to that of the nonh uman. The two expressions 'humans' and 'nonhumans' are belated results that no longer suffice to designate the other dimension. of value consists not in shifting the definition The scale along the horizontal the Object pole to of the human line that connects it along dimension that defines but in sliding the vertical the Subject pole, its work of mediation, and it will the nonmodern world. Reveal take on form. Conceal it agai n, and we shall have to talk ab out human y, even if it is draping itself in the Bill of Rights. The expression inhumanit considerably 'anthropomorphic' our humanity. We underestimates be talking Morphism is the place where should about morphism. isms, zoomorph isms, phusim orphisms, technomorph isms, ideomorph theomor phisms, sociomor phisms, psychomor phisms, all come together. Their alliances and their exchanges, taken together, are what define the anthropos. A weaver - isn't that enough of a definiti on? of morphisms the comes to this distribution, the more human it is. The closer anthropos away it moves, the more it takes on multiple forms in which The farther ity quickly becomes its human even if its figures are those of indiscernible, the individual or the self. By seeking to isolate its form from the person, those it churns together, one does not defend humanism, one loses it. How could anthropos be threatened by machines ? It has made the put itself into them, it has divided up its own members them, it has among their members, it has built its own body with them. How could it be threatened by objects ? They have all been quasi�subje cts circulating

145 REDISTRIBUTION 138 It is made of them as much as they traced. the collective within they are of it. It has defined things. How could it be itself made by multiplying is its own making, in that it reconstructs the deceived by politics ? Politics collective controversies continual representation that allow through over moment, what it is and what it want it to say, at could it be every s. How ed by religion? It is through humans are linked to all dimm religion that that they know could as persons. How fellows, it be their themselves by the economy ? Its provisional form cannot be assigned manipu lated the circulation of goods and obligations, without the continuous without bution of social distri that we concoct through the goodwill of goods Ecce homo : mediated, distributed, mandated, uttered. things. delegated, the threat who from? From those does seek to reduce it to Where come - by scorning things, objects, machines and the an essence and who off all delegations and senders - make humanism a social, by cutting and precious thing fragile being overwhelmed by Nature, at risk of or God. Society, humanis ts are reductionist because they seek to attribute Modern to a small nu mber action leaving the rest of the world with of powers, nothing but simple mute forces. It is true that by redistributing the action among all these mediators, we lose the reduced form of humanit y, but we gain another which has to be called irreducible. The human is in form, itself, in the pass, in the continuous the delegation in the sending, Of course are not a thing, but things of forms. things it is not exchange it is not a merchandise, but merchandise is not Of course either. Of course it is not a machine, but anyone who has merchandise either. machines they seen are scarcely mechanical. Of course it is knows that world, is not of this world either. Of course it is not of this but this world but what relation is there between the God above not in God, and the God ·below ? Huma nism can maintain itself only by sharing itself with all these mandatees. Human nature is the set of its delegates and its representatives, its figures That symmetrical universal and its messengers. at least as the moderns' doubly asymmetrical one. This is worth as much position, shifted in relation to new position, now the subject/society needs to be underwritten by an amended Constitution. 5.4 The Nonmodern Constitution In the course of this essay, I have simply reestablished symmetry between the two of government, that of things - called science and branches technology - and that of human beings. I have also shown why the separation between the two branches, after allowing for the of powers this new of hybrids, could no longer worthily represent proliferation

146 THE NONMODER N CONSTITUTION 139 third is judged by the guarant ees it offers. The estate. A constitution - as we recall moderns' 2.8 - included four from Constitution Section when taken were only together but guarant they ees that had meaning first one guaranteed Nature its transcen­ separate. The also kept strictly by making it distinct from the fabric of Society - th us dent dimension connection contrary the natur al order and the to the continuous between among The second guarant eed found the premoderns. social order dimension by rendering Society totally free to its immanent citizens it artificially - as opposed to the continuous connection reconstruct the social order and the natural between that kept the premoderns order from able to modif y the one without modifying the other. But as being double separation in practice for the mobil ization and that allowed havin ent through imman of Nature (Nature construction g become and construction) ization conversely, made it possible to mobil - and, Society stable and durable (Society having become transcendent make to the enrolment owing more numerous nonh umans ), a third of ever assured of powers, the two branches of guarantee the separation being kept in separate, watertight government even compartments: though it is mobil izable and constructed, Nature will rema in without relation to Society ; Society, in turn, even though it is transcendent and rendered durable by the mediation will no longer have any of objects, to Natur e. In other quasi -objects will be officially relation words, we say taboo networks hed - should will go into banis ? - and translation g, offering of purification a counterpart that will hidin to the work continue to be followed and monitored - until the nevertheless obliterate it entirely. The fourth guarantee of the crossed­ postmoderns made ble to stabiliz e this dualist and asymmetrical out God it possi by ensuring a function of arbitration, but one without mechanism power (see Section 2.9). presence or in the nonmodern Constitution, it suffices In order to sketch to take into account what the modern Constitution left out, and to sort out the guarantees we wish to keep. We have committed ourselves to providing representation for quasi . It is the third guarantee of the modern -objects that must therefore that is the one that Constitution be suppressed, since conti nuity of their analysis impos sible. Nature and Society are made the not two distinct poles, but production of successive one and the same of societies-natures, of collectives. The states of our new first guarantee draft thus becomes the nonseparability of quasi-objects, quasi-subjects. Every concept, every institution, every practice that interferes with the continuous deployment and their experimentation with of collectives hybrids dangerous, harmful, and - we may as well say it­ will be deemed immoral. The work of mediat ion becomes the very centre of the double power, natural and social. The networks come out of hi ding. The Middl e

147 REDISTRIBUTION 140 is represented. The third which was nothing, becomes Kingdom estate, everything. suggested, to become premoderns however, As I have we do not wish of natures had the nonseparability and societies again. The all over disadv on a large scale impossible, antage of makin g experimentation transformation of nature had to be in harmony with a social since every term, and vice versa. Now transformation, term for we seek to keep the innovation moderns' y of a nature that no one has : the separ major abilit of manreuvre of a society - transcendence constructed - and the freedom that is g - immanence. Nevertheless, we do not seek to of our own makin the clandestineness of the inverse mechanism that makes it inherit ble to construct Nature possi - and to stabilize Society - immanence durably - transcendence. the first two guarantees of the old Constitution Can we retain without duplicit guarant ee? Yes, g the now-visible y of its third maintainin looks like squaring the circle. Natur although at first this e's transcend­ its objectivity, and Society's immanence, its subjectivity, stem from ence, of mediation without depending on their the work contrary separation, to what of the moderns claims. The work of producing a the Constitution or producing and irreversible stems from the durable nature a society of the common of delegation accomplishment and translation. At work the end of the process, is indeed a nature that we have not made, there and a society that we are free to change; there are indeed indisputable scientific facts, free citizens, but once they are viewed in a and light they become consequence of a practice that nonmodern the double instead for the moderns, the visible in its continuity, is now of being, as causes and opposing ble practice that contradicts remote of an invisi The second guarantee of our new draft thus makes it possible them. to recover the first of the modern Constitution but without two guarantees them. all institutions, all practices that interfere separating All concepts, the progressive objectivization of Nature with into a - incorporation black box - and simul taneously the subjectivization of Society - freedom of manreuvre - will be deemed harmful, dangerous and, quite simply, immoral. Without networks liberated by the this second guarantee, the keep uncontrollable character. The moderns first would their wild and not mistaken in seeking objective nonhumans and free societies. were production were only in their certainty that that double They mistaken required an absolute distinction between the two terms and the continual repression of the work of mediation. Historicity found in the modern Constitution because it was no place by the only framed entities whose existence it recogn ized. three Contingent history existed for humans alone, and revolution became the - as I have only way for the moderns to understand their past shown in

148 141 THE N TITUTIO NON MODERN CONS totally with it. But time is not a smooth, 3.8, above Section - by breaking homogeneous on associations, do not depends associations flow. If time going to be confronted with the depend on time. We are no longer passes for ever based on a regrouping into a that of time argument that belong to all times and all coherent If we set of elements ontologies. to recover sort that appears essential to our morality want the capacity to it is essential no coherent temporal flow the human, that and defines our freedom of choice. The third guarantee, comes to limit as important associations freely without ever as the others, is that we can combine the choice between archaism and modernization, the local confronting the cultural and the global, the natural and the social. universal, and the has moved from the social pole it had occupied Freedom away the modern representation into the middle and lower exclusively during a capacity zones, and recombinin g sociotech­ and becomes for sorting Every new call to revolution, any epistemological nological imbroglios. any Copernican upheaval, any claim that certain practices have break, outdated for ever, dangerous, or - what is still become will be deemed of the moderns - outdated ! worse in the eyes Nonmodem Constitution Modem Constitution 1st guarantee: nonseparability of is 1st guarantee: Nature the common of societies production transcendent but mobilizable and natures. (immanent). continuous 2nd guarantee: Society 2nd guarantee: is of the production following of but it infinitely immanent which and is objective, Nature, us (transcendent) surpasses the production of Society, which there is is free. In the last analysis, a transcendence of indeed and Nature an immanence of Society, but the two are not separated. freedom 3rd guarantee: is and 3rd guarantee: Nature redefined as a capacity to sort the Society distinct, are totally of hybrids combinations that no and the of purification work on a homogeneous depend longer to the work bears no relation flow. temporal of mediation. of the production 4th guarantee: the crossed-out 4th guarantee: by becoming hybrids, explicit and God is totally absent but collective, becomes the object of ensures arbitration between the an enlarged democracy that of government. two branches regulates or slows down its cadence. Figure 5.2 constitutions Modern/nonmodern in my interpretation Constitution, if it has But if I am right of the modern allowed really of collectives while officially forbid­ the development ding what it permits in practice, how could we continue to develop quasi­ visible and official? By objects, that we have made their practice now offering guarantees to replace the previous ones, are we not making

149 REDISTRIBUTION impossible language, and thus the growth of collect ives? That this double what we want slowing down, this moderation, is precisely to do. This is what this The fourth we expect from regulation, our morality. important the clandestine the most guarantee - perhaps - is to replace regulated and commonly-agreed-upon of hybrids proliferation by their perhaps, to speak production. again, but of a It is time, of democracy extended themselves. We are not going to be caught democracy to things in. coup aga by Archimedes' to add that the crossed-out God, in this new Constitution, Do we need out to be liberated from the unworthy position to which He had turns relegated of God been is reopened, and the nonmoderns ? The question have to try to generalize metaphysics of the no longer the improbable them in belief. that forced moderns to believe 5.5 The Parliament of Things the meticulous of quasi-obje cts to become possible - no We want sorting unofficially and under the table, but officially and longer in broad daylight. to bring to light, to incorporate into language, to In this desire public, we continue of the with the intuition make to identify But this intuition had the anthropology Enlightenment. it has never deserved. up the human and the nonh uman and believed It has divided that the others, rendered premoderns by contrast, were not supposed to do the same thing. it was necessary, perhaps, to increase While and lengthen some this divisi on has now become mobilization networks, and - to put it bluntly al! We immoral, - anti-Constitution superfluous, modern. have well. We can no longer be modern in the same been Very When we amend the Constitution, we continue way. in the to believe sciences, of taking in their objectivity, their truth, their but instead their never - qualit ies they have coldness, had, except extraterritoriality the arbitrary withdrawal of epistemology - we retain what has after always been most interesting about them: their daring, their experimen­ tation, their their warmth, their incongruous blend of uncertainty, their crazy bond y to reconstitute the social hybrids, . We take away abilit them only from of their birth and the danger their the mystery clandestineness posed to democracy. Yes, we are indeed the heirs of the Enlightenment, whose asymmetrical rationality is just not broad for us. Boyle's descendants had enough defined of mutes, the laboratory, where scientists, mere a parliament intermediaries, spoke all by themselves in the name of things. What did said these say? Nothing but what the things would have representatives , on their own, had they only been able to speak. Outside the laboratory

150 143 THE PARLIAMENT OF THINGS descendants had defined in which naked citizens, Hobbes's the Republic all at once, to speak themselves represented by arranged to unable have and spokes­ intermediary the one of their number, Sovereign, a simple this Nothing but what the citizens What did person. say? representative would But a at the same time. able to speak said had they all been have doubt y of that double translation crept in straight away . about the qualit What were about themselves instead if the scientists of about talking if the Sovereign his own pursuing ? And interests instead of things were written for him by his constituents ? In the first case, we reciting the script lose Nature and fall back into human would es; in the second, we disput would fall into the State of Nature and into the war of every man back every man. By defining between the scientific against a total separation representations, translation-betrayal became political the double and never know whether scientists possible. or betray. We We shall translate never know whether representatives betray or translate. shall period, the critics will continue During the modern to sustain themselves and the impo ssibilit y of ever putting an on that double doubt consisted end to it. Modernism in choosing that arrangement, neverthe­ but in rema ining constantly suspicious of its two types of less, without g them representatives into a single problem. Epistemo­ combinin logists about scientific realism and the faithfulness of science wondered to things ; political scientists wondered about the representative system and the relative faithfulness officials and spokespersons. All of elected a hatred of intermediaries for an immediate had in common and a desire of its mediators. that this was the price of emptied All thought world, without ever understanding that the faithful to representation, solution problem lay in the other branch of government. their course of this essay, I have shown what happened In the science once studies such a division of labour. I have shown how fast the re-examined Constitution broke since it no longer permitted the modern down, of a common dwelling to shelter construction that the societies-natures the moderns have bequeathed us. There are not two problems of representation, just one. There are not two branches, only one, whose products can be disting and after being uished only late in the game, er. Scientists only to be betraying external reality togeth examined appear are constructing societies and their natures at the same because they their The Sovereign appears to be betraying his constituents only because time. is churning both citizens and the enormous mass of together he onhumans that allow the Leviathan to hold up. Suspicion about n scientific representation only from the belief that without social stemmed Nature would be immediat ely accessible. 'Eliminate the social pollution and you will finally have a faithful representation,' said some. 'Elimin ate objects and you will finally have a faithful repre sentation,' declared

151 REDISTRIBUTION . ... Their whole arose from the division of powers enforced by others. debate the modern Constitution. and the double doubt take Let us again up the two representations and we shall defined of the representatives, about have the faithfulness the continuity of the collective is the Parliament of Things. In its confines, naked truths, but there are no more are no more There reconfigured. either. The mediat naked the whole space to themselves. citizens, ors have has a dwelling-place are present, but The Enlightenment at last. Natures representatives, name. who speak in their their Societies with scientists the objects that have been serving as their ballast are present, but with time immemorial. Let one of the representatives from for instance, talk, about hole, another represent the Monsanto chemical industry, the ozone the workers of the same industry, another the voters of a third chemical a fifth regions; of the polar Hampshire, let still New the meteorology speak of the State; what does it matter, so long as another in the name are all talking about the same thing, about a quasi-obj they ect they have all created, e-society whose new properties the object-discourse-natur us all and whose extends from my refrigerator to the astound network by way of chemist ry, law, Antarctic economy, and the State, the satellites. The imbroglios and networks that had no place now have the whole place to themselves. They are the ones that have to be represented; it is around them of Things gathers henceforth. 'It that the Parliament rejected by the builders the keystone' (Mar k was the stone that became 12:10). we do to create this Parliament However, cloth, out of whole not have yet another We simply have to ratify what we by calling for revolution. provided that we reconsider our past, provided that have always done, we understand retrospectively extent we have never been to what and provided that oin the two halves of the symbol modern, we rej by Hobbes and Boyle as a sign of recog nition. Half of our politics broken science is constructed in The other half of Nature is and technology. in societies. Let us patch the two back together, and the constructed political task can begin again. Is it asking too little to ratify in public what is already simply ing? we not strive for more glamorous and more happen Should programmes of action, rather revolutionary underlining what is than already dimly discernible in the shared practices of scientists, politicians, consumers, industrialists and citizens when they engage in the numerous sociotechnological controversies about daily in our newspapers ? we read As we have discovering throughout this essay, the official been representation is effective; that representation is what allowed, under the old Constitution, the exploration and proliferation of hybrids. Modern­ ism was not an illusion, but an active performing. If we could draft a new

152 145 THE PARLIA MENT OF THIN GS we would, similarly dly alter the course of quasi­ Constitution, , profoun will produce but it objects. Another Constitution as effective, will be just hybrids. different Is that too much to expect of a change in representation to depend only on the scrap of paper of a Constitut ion? It may that seems well be; but there are times a words are needed to convene new when . The task of our predecess ors was no less dauntin g when new assembly invented rights they or the integration of workers into to give to citizens the fabric of our societies. I have done my job as philosopher and constituent by gathering together the scattered themes of a comparative anthropology. Others the Par liament of Things. will be able to convene have much If we do not change the common We scarcely choice. we shall not absorb in it the other dwelling, that we can no cultures longer dominate, and we shall be forever incapable of accommodating in it the envir onment that we can no longer control. Neither Nature nor the Others become modern . It is up to us to change our ways of will changing. Or else it will have been for naught that the Berlin Wall fell lesson during year 1989, offering us a unique practical the miraculous about the conjoin ed failure of socialis m and naturalism.

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162 INDEX of, 14, 15 definition Achuar, 14, 42 144-5 its efficacy, air pump, 72-3,79-81, 17, 42-3,70-1, Constitution, 29-5 the modern 83, 86-7, 89 one, 138-42 the non-modern Althusser, 36 its use, 50, 103, 107, 132 70, 88, 89, 96, anthropology, 7, 14-15, 91-4, 96, 100-3, and what it obscures, what it clarifies 104, 113-14, 116, 127-9 39-43 antimoderns, 9, 47, 72, 73, 116, 123-4, 21 Contextualists, 134-5 114 Copans, 109-11 Archimedes, counter-revolution, 76-9 Copernican 125 Arendt, 88-9, stance, 5-8, 11, 35-7, critical 43-6, asymmetry, 26, 55, 71, 91, 109-11 122-7 100-1 Auge, culture, 91, 96-100, 103-6 Authier, 109 Cussins, 85 Bachelard, 18, 58-9, 92-3 115 Dagognet, Barnes, 15, 54 -3 Darwin, 92 Barthes, 63 delegation, 129, 138 Bastide, 64 117, 125 Deleuze, Baudrillard, 46, 62 12, 142-5 democracy, 68 Beaumarchais, denunciation, 43-6, 51-4 Being, 88-90, 127-8 Derrida, 5 8-10 Wall, Berlin Descola, 14, 42 117 Bijker, Desrosieres, 122 15 Bloor, dialectic, 55, 57 Boltanski, 44-6 Diderot, 92-3 Bourdieu, 5, 51, 54 11, 62-4, 88-90, 127-8 discourse, Boyle, 15-35, 56, 81, 83, 84 114-16, 123-4 disenchantment, Braudel, 121 100 Douglas, 101 52, 54, Durkheim, 3-5, 94, 96, 111, 113 Callon, Canguilhem, 92-3, 95 Eco, 63 cause, 83-5 school, 15, 25,54-5 Edinburgh 121 Chandler, Edison, 3-5 4, 107 collective, Eisenstein, 33 , 93-4 24 Collins, Enlightenment, 12,35-6, 61, 70, 135, 142, 7 Conklin, Constitution 144

163 INDEX 156 essence, 86-8, 129, 134 Kidder, 115 ethnoscience, 7 Knorr-Cetina, 21, 101 event, 81,85-7 laboratory, 20-2, 28, 142 Lacan, 59 Fabian, 114 Lagrange, 9 3 Favret-Saada, 100 Lavoisier, 70-1 first and second guarantee, 30-2, 139-40 Law, 24, 120 fourth guarantee, 32-5, 142 Levi-Strauss, 42, 97-8, 105 freedom, 141 Leviathan, 19, 28, 30, 110-1 120-3 ' French Revolution, 40-1, 79 Levy, 119 Funkenstein, 18 Lynch,24 Furet, 40, 44 Lyotard, 46, 61-2 Garfinkel, 121 Machiavelli, 26 Geertz, 100, 118 MacKenzie, 3-5, 54 Girard, 45 market, 121-2 God (crossed-out), 32-5, 39, 127-8, Marxism, 36, 126-7 138-9, 142 Mauss, 100, 101 Goody, 112 Mayer, 47, 125 Great Divide, 12, 39, 56, 97-103, 104, mediation, 31-2,34,50-1 56-7 67 69 ' 107-9, 113, 116, 137 78-82, 86,87, 89- 9 0, 12 6 ,1 3 4 ' Greimas, 63 137 Guillemin, 3-5 mediators, 63, 77-82 metrology, 119-20 modern, Habermas, 60-1 definition of, 9, 13,76 Hacking, 21 selection of, 132-6 Haraway, 47, 100 use of, 10, 11, 33,34-5, 43, 62, 84, 96 ' Haudricourt, 101 112, 129 Hegel, 57 modernization, 71-4, 76, 77, 130-2 ' Heidegger, 65-7 135-6 Hennion, 78, 82 moralist, 123-7 Heraclitus, 65-7 morality, 139-41 history, 140-1 morphism, 137-8 of science, 70-4, 79-82, 93 Moscovici, 15 Hobbes, 15-35, 56, 81,84 Hollis, 104 11, 77, 79-81,85, 87,94-6,97, Nature, Horton, 42 98-100, 104-6, 127-8, 139-40 Hughes, 3-5, 122 nature-culture, 7, 96, 105-9 Hugo, 68 network, 3, 6,7, 11, 24, 47, 48,77, 89, humanism, 136-8 103, 104, 117-20, 121-2 Hutcheon, 61,74 Nietzsche, 12, 69 Hutchins, 94 non-moder n,46-8, 78, 88,91, 127-9 hybrids, 10, 30, 34, 41-3,78, 112, 131 ' non-modern Constitution, 138-42 142 nonhuman, 23, 111 ideology, 36 organisation, 120-2 immanence, 128-9 intermediaries, 56-7, 63,77-82 Parliament of Things, 144-5 Pasteur, 3-5 Pavel, 63-4 Jameson, 61 Peguy, 45, 68-9, 72, 75 Jonsen,46 phenomenolo gy, 57-8 Pickering, 21, 94-5, 102 Pinch, 24 Kant, 56-7, 60, 63, 78-9

164 INDEX 157 Plutarch, 109-1 1 143 spokespersons, 29, 110-1 27-9, politics, 85-8, 107 stabilization, postmodern, 46-8,61-2, 9, 10,43-4, 118 Stengers, 64-5,67, 69, 74, 90, 123, 131, Stocking, 114 Strum, 111 134-6 subject/society, 57 41-3, 72-5, 91, pre-modern, 12, 37-9, 101, 103, 112, 128, 133-6 103-4 24, 27, 32-5, symmetry, 97-100, 'pre-postmodern ', 59-60 68,73-5 temporality, 92-4, of symmetry, principle 96, 107-8 territories, 116-20 purification, 10-11, 30,31-2, 39-43, 44, 122 Thevenot, 87, 131 50-1,67, 78-9, third constitutional guarantee, 31-2, 34, 139, 141 89-90, quasi-object, 108, 139 51-5, 82-5, Tile, 59 time, 10, 35-6, 67-77, 81-2, 130-1, 114, 118 relationism, 140-1 relativism, 12, 104-9, 111-14, 117-20 representation, 27-9 125-7 totalization, transcendance, 128-9 76, 126-7, revolution, 48, 67, 69-72, 3, 10-11,39 -43, 113, 127 translation, 130-1 21, 102 Traweek, Rogoff, 94 Tuzin, 115 Society, Royal 20 universality, 24, 71, 105, 112-14, 117-20, scale, 106-9, 22, 32, 43, 49, 72, 84-5, 124 111-19, 117-23, 126, 132, 133-4, 140 123 Vatimo, Schaffer, 15-35, 82, 119 science, 27-9, 84, 98-100, 111, 118-20 Warwick, 119 science 24, 54-5, 70, studies, 3, 14, 15, 33 Weber, 124, 143 5, 59, 104 Wilson, semiotic turns, 62-4 122 Wise, 51, 75, 82-5, 94, 110 Serres, 18, 24 Woolgar, 15-35,54, 82, Shapin, 119 Smith, 122 Zimmerman, 65 society, 4, 11, 26, 77, 79-81, 85, 87, 94-6, 100 Zonabend, 107, 111, 127-8, 139-40

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