Latour: Aramis

A beautiful book, for various reasons. First of all a wonderfull overview and introduction into Latours view on technology. Secondly a very precise account of how a revolutionary type of metro never gets ‘off the ground’ — because of the love for technology (and other reasons), or rather the lack of it: Aramis is a project that does not go through translations… that is not negotiated enough. (Who loves has to negotiate and change). Thirdly it shows that one can write a true sociological novel, or do novelistic sociology. (A bit what Powers does from the side of the novel — Latour and Powers love each others work).

“By definition, a technological project is a fiction, since at the outset it does not exist, and there is no way it can exist yet because it is in the project phase.” p. 23

“Give me the state of things, and I’ll tell you what people can do — this is how technology talks. Give me the state of human beings, and I’ll tell you how they will form things — this is the watchword of sociology. But both of these maxims are inapplicable! For the thing we are looking for is not a human thing, nor is it an inhuman thing. It offers rather, a continuous passage, a commerce, an interchange, between waht humans inscribe in it and what it prescribes to humans. It translates the one into the other.” p. 213

“The work of folding technological mechanisms can go from complication to complexity. This is because technological detours go from zero to infinity according to whether the translation goes through intermediaries or through mediators.” p. 219

Bruno Latour, Aramis or the Love of Technology, Harvard UP, Cambridge &c., 1996 (1993)

en,quotations,research | June 24, 2006 | 16:57 | comments (0) |


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