Reliable knowledge today is strongly identified with scientific knowledge. The overwhelming majority of scientific facts and artifacts, however, are produced in the North and arrive in their stable forms (as ready objects) in Latin America, where they enjoy the attributes of universality and neutrality (in spite of STS results). In these terms it is possible to say that modern sciences and technologies from the West provide a cage that confines the space available for Latin Americans to search for solutions of their practical problems, since it would make no sense “to do” spaces and times or propose objects outside universal and neutral knowledge – they would be “simply wrong” since Latin Americans usually lack the resources to build counter-laboratories. One may easily make a simple albeit convincing argument that, historically compared with other “dominants”, the West has been singular in its success in colonizing the planet.
I would like to take the opportunity of REWIRED to explore and have conversations about “lines of flight” from the euro-american metaphysics, if we adopt John Law’s terms. Western colonizing entities, that is, hybrids that hold together as humans, things, narratives, ideas that perform the West have so far tried and, partially though to a great degree, succeeded in impinging euro-american metaphysics on natives (“colonized”) entities. Euro-american metaphysics came to be by far the dominant and sole basis for establishing knowledge for agreement in planetary scales. It is the only consensually accepted (or politically “democratic”) way to handle knowledge about the life world. Here I do not mean the pair “colonizer-colonized” as a Western dichotomy but as a tension that may be identified with – constructed in –depicted from – assigned to – made provisionally present in possibly contradictory forms in humans, things, narratives and ideas.
SUGGESTED SEMINAR READINGS
Challenging the Ontology of Technoscientific Artefacts: Actor-Network Theory in the Context of Developing Countries (draft) presented at the “Understanding Development Through Actor-Network Theory” International Workshop – Thursday 30 June 2011 – London School of Economics (PDF) (please do not circulate)
Ontological Politics and Situated Public Policies in VI ESOCITE, Buenos Aires, 2010 (PDF) (submitted to Science and Public Policy – please do not circulate)
Cloning Computers: From Rights of Possession to Rights of Creation, Science as Culture, Vol. 14, No. 2, 139–160, June 2005 (PDF)
Mathematical metaphors and politics of presence/absence, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2004, volume 22, pages 71 – 81 For those who can read in Spanish (or Portuguese): (PDF)
“Teste de realidade” e limites do relativismo: o caso do programa alimentar Multimistura, forthcoming in Anthropologie des Connaissances, Paris (PDF) (please do not circulate)
Acquaintance with Actor-Network Theory (for example, the work of John Law, Michel Callon, Bruno Latour, Annemarie Mol) should be enough and adequate.