sorting the entanglement of assemblages and networks

I was fortunate enough to participate in the RSA Summer Institute, taking the New Materialisms workshop with Thomas Rickert and Byron Hawk. The company and conversation were extremely generative, both for my own developing project(s) and bringing new perspective to theory in the readings. We read/discussed the following readings under the concept headings of new materialism, agencies, things, networks, movement, and politics:

  • Introduction of New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics // eds. Diana Coole and Samantha Frost
  • “The Agency of Assemblages” // Jane Bennett
  • “The Thing” // Martin Heidegger
  • “Object Lessons” // John Law and Vicky Singleton
  • “Against Space” of Being Alive // Tim Ingold
  • “On Touching—The Inhuman That Therefore I Am” // Karen Barad
  • “Ontological politics. A word and some questions” // Annemarie Mol
  • Interview with Karen Barad // eds. Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin’s New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies

While I furiously tried to scribble/transcribe everything that was said, a note that I did make was beginning to hear a difference between network and assemblage (ecology and entanglement for another day/another post)—and when I say hear a difference, I mean I heard it in the language that was being used to talk about them (they themselves working as sort of conceptual metaphors that animate). While I know the concepts are different, I have not been able to really note what makes them differently able in their descriptive power (I’m resisting saying the difference is affect, but there’s some thing there—an opening on / in to…). I’m drawing primarily from the conversation we had about Jane Bennett’s “The Agency of Assemblages”. This is a mess(h).

While I am trying to sort out two concepts/terms, I begin with want of more explanation the descriptive difference in material as compared to object. I’m not sure what impact the distinction would have fit within the larger categories of human and nonhuman (and inhuman), but I wonder how something like Levi Bryant’s quasi-objects, which are neither quite natural nor quite social (see his post on Of Quasi-Objects and the Construction of Collectives) but draw people together into relations with other humans, as well as nonhumans. I think my fixation on these terms at the time being is to understand if use of material or object influences whether one concept is invoked over another—network, assemblage, ecology, entanglement…

Comparing, or rather trying to untangle, networks and assemblages, isn’t as simple as looking across/between two definitions. Both assemblages and networks introduce the concept of actants as entities and forces to move away from anthropomorphic constructs of agency (and Bennett specifically invokes Bruno Latour to frame her use of actant). Jane Bennett advances agency of actants alone to the capacities agency has in groupings, or assemblages “of somatic, technological, cultural, and atmospheric elements” (447). Bennett draws from Deleuze and Guattari to construct assemblage, describing the force field of the assemblage as “a milieu”, “‘Thus the living thing…has an exterior milieu of materials, an interior milieu of composing elements and composed substance, an intermediary milieu of membranes and limits, and an annexed milieu of energy sources and actions-perceptions'” (461). She aligns assemblages with a materialist ontology, which she describes as a kind of vitalism or enchanted materialism.

Within this materialism, the world is figured as neither mechanistic nor teleological but rather as alive with movement and with a certain power of expression; by power of expression I mean the ability of bodies to become otherwise than they are, to press out of their current configuration and enter into new compositions of self as well as new alliances and rivalries. (447)

Bennett explains that the active power of assemblages is “concealed under the rubric of (social) structures, (cultural) contexts, (religious) settings, (economic) climates, or (environmental) conditions” (455). Bennett’s work in “The Agency of Assemblages” is to detach ethics from human constructed moralism in order to produce guides to action appropriate to a world of vital, crosscutting forces (464). With a nod to the Nicene Creed (“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.”) Bennett states “I believe in one Nature, vibrant and Overflowing, material and energetic, maker of all that is, seen and unseen. I believe that this ‘pluriverse’ is continually doing things, things that bear upon us…as forces upon material beings. I believe that this ‘generative mobility’ resists full translation and exceeds our comprehensive grasp. I believe that to experience materiality as vital and animated is to enrich the quality of human life” (448). She explains that “there was never a time when human agency was anything other than an interfolding network of humanity and nonhumanity” (463).

An assemblage is an interfolding network?

The way Bennett uses the concepts of pluriverse and vital materialism, I think of constant actant activity affecting and being affected and I question how the assemblage is noted/boundaried if it is an interfolding of exterior, interior, intermediary, and annexed milieu. How do assemblages come into being? I find myself thinking about it as a poesis (from Kathleen Stewart) from fog (what does affect look like? fields? layers? static?), but again, I think this is coloured in part by Bennett’s writing, which I think is beautifully constructed. For networks, or at least actor networks, there is no pre-existing activity system either; it is established through thick description in media res, as Latour explains. And even though I know networks aren’t static in structure, it is hard to disassociate from the structural history of network as lines of connectivity. In Reassembling the Social, Latour sets out to reconstruct social because:

  • problems arise when “social” begins to mean a type of material (wooden, economical, biological, organizational)—trying to stand for two different things: a material from other materials and a movement during a process of assembling
  • Latour wants to show why “social” cannot be construed as a material or domain and to dispute providing a social explanation to a state of affairs
  • “social” is not a homogeneous thing (5) but a trail of heterogeneous associations between elements (5)

Latour’s networks describe relating to a group as an ongoing process of fragile, controversial, and ever shifting ties (28) that starts with the controversy, not the group interested (because he’s working from a sociology of science studies frame); this allows for groupings based not on social aggregate but elements (human and nonhuman actants) present in controversies (31). Latour’s networks are not fixed, nor are they singular, but I find myself wanting a similar description of vital materialism in Latour’s ontology—is Latour’s ontology a pluriverse too? I wonder if this has something to do with the association of networks with systems/systematically and symmetrical relationships, or the need of the human to establish/do the work of articulating through description. Latour provides a gloss of the social:

  • the question of the social emerges when the ties in which one is entangled begin to unravel
  • the social is further detected through the surprising movements from one association to another
  • those movements can be suspended or resumed
  • when they are suspended, the social is bound together with already accepted participants (social actors who are members of a society)
  • when the movement is resumed, it traces social as associations through non-social entities which might later participate
  • if pursued systemically, the tracing may end up in a shared definition of the common world (collective)
  • but if there are not procedures to render it common, it may fail to be assembled
  • sociology is best defined as a discipline where participants explicitly engage in the reassembling of the collective

Like Bennett, Latour’s project is a political one (even though his work is often described as lacking politics, and I think, unfairly). Reassembling the Social ends with a conclusion that is a question that opens onto itself (and interfolding?): “From Society to Collective—Can the Social be Reassembled?” as a search for political relevance. Latour states “Once the task of exploring the multiplicity of agencies is completed, another question can be raised: What are the assemblies of those assemblages?” (260) And follows/ends with this statement:

In a time of so many crises in what it means to belong, the task of cohabitation should no longer be simplified too much. So many other entities are now knocking on the door of our collectives. Is it absurd to want to retool our disciplines to become sensitive again to the noise they make and to try to find a place for them? (262)

Which I find resonance with in Bennett’s closing paragraph:

These claims need more flesh and even then remain contestable. Other actants, enmeshed in other assemblages, will surely offer different diagnoses of the political and its problems. It is ultimately a matter of political judgment what is more needed today: should we acknowledge the distributive quality of agency in order to address the power of human-nonhuman assemblages and to resist a politics of blame? Or should we persist with a strategic understatement of material agency in the hope of enhancing the accountability of specific humans? (464)

I’m still a mess(h) over trying to delineate these concepts. What is the difference between a collective (Latour) and collectivity (Bennett)? What is the difference between cohabitating with nonhumans as humans (Latour) and existing in a living grouping (ad hoc, circumstantial) whose coherence coexists with energies and countercultures that exceed and confound it (Bennett)?

 

the blackbox of technological determinism

In “Three Faces of Technological Determinism”, part of the Does Technology Drive History collection of essays, Bruce Bimber distinguishes between three interpretations of technological determinism: normative, nomological, and unintended consequences.

He opens: The idea that technological development determines social change has a remarkably tenacious grip on the popular and the academic imagination. In spite of the best efforts of historians and others to show the relationships between technology and society are reciprocal rather than unidirectional, claims for the autonomous influence of technology on societies persist (80).

He explains the reason for this is that the concept is so flexible, meaning it is used to describe more than one phenomenon. Without nuance, or clarification as to what is meant by this concept, Bimber explains that we are unlikely to determine whether or not technological determinism is a useful lens through which to interpret history (81).

Bimber establishes a base technological determinism against which to test his accounts with emphasis on semantic clarity of technological determinism. Citing the work of Cohen, Bimber lays out that to compare these accounts, the concept of technological determinism must be both technological and deterministic. The phenomena must be determined by preceding events or laws, not human will/agency and technology must play a necessary part in the way that preceding events determine the future (86-87).

Bimber then lays out the framework for his three accounts of technological determinism:

normative account (cultural/attitudinal claim): technology is autonomous and deterministic when the norms by which it is advanced are removed from political/ethical discourse and when goals of efficiency/productivity become surrogates for value based debates over method, alternatives, means, and ends.

nomological account (ontological claim): technology rests on laws of nature rather than on social norms; technology exercises causal influence on social practice. there are two implicit claims: technological developments occur according to some naturally given logic which is not socially or culturally determined, and that these developments force social adaptation and change.

unintended consequences account (no underlying logic): willful, ethical social actors are unable to anticipate the effects of technological development. technology is at least partially autonomous beyond human control.

Against the definition of technological determinism he posits, only the nomological account stands up. Because normative accounts attribute causal agency in the history of technology to human social practice rather than to technology, it fails. The unintended consequences account fails because it amounts to indeterminism; unintended consequences do not justify social outcomes to technology. The nomological account  makes the strongest claim about social change as directly influenced by technology (87-89).

Before apply the nomological model to Karl Marx, Bimber recommends replacing technological determinism with the concept technological momentum (from Thomas P. Hughes) or “the increasing capacity of technological systems to influence societies as those systems grow in size”—there is a reciprocal relation (89).

A Latour detour (making progress without marching forward)

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In “an attempt at a ‘compositionist’ manifesto” Latour argues that we should replace the practice of critique with that of composition. Composition here does not mean to write, but rather to compose or build out of heterogeneous actors. In this connection, the question becomes not whether or not something is constructed, but whether it’s well or poorly constructed. The abstract reads (emphasis mine):

In this paper, written in the outmoded style of a “manifesto”, an attempt is made to use the word “composition” as an alternative to critique and “compositionism” as an alternative to modernism. The idea is that once the two organizing principles of nature and society are gone, one of the remaining solutions is to “compose” the common world. Such a position allows an alternative view of the strange connection of modernity with the arrow of time: the Moderns might have been future-centered but there is a huge difference between the future of people fleeing their past in horror and the “shape of things to come”, that, strangely enough, now appears suddenly in the back of humans surprised by their ecological crisis.

Without going too far into Latour’s essay (though I definitely suggest taking a look at it, particularly his discussion of progress and time), I wonder how his articulation of nature and nature could assist in further in opening up the blackbox of technological determinism, to really account for the actors that compose the two terms.

“What the Moderns called “their future” has never been contemplated face to face, since it has always been the future of someone fleeing their past looking backward, not forward. This is why, as I emphasized earlier, their future was always so unrealistic, so utopian, so full of hype.” (Bruno Latour)

How flat of an ontology is Bimber’s nomological claim? In saying that “technological developments occur according to some naturally given logic which is not socially or culturally determined”, how is Bimber accounting for the technological, the natural, the social, the cultural?

Latouracy: Using Latour to Construct a Literacy of Social Practice

I want to parse through Deborah Brandt and Katie Clinton’s “Limits of the Local: Expanding Perspectives on Literacy as a Social Practice”. In a future reading, I would like to compare it to Jenny Rice’s” Unframing Models of Public Distribution: from Rhetorical Situation to Rhetorical Ecologies” to look more closely at tracing local/global in an ecological frame, As someone interested in structures, systems, and models, Brandt and Clinton’s work to shift attention in how literacy is studied, that is, how it is accounted for and by who (and in this case, what). In literacy studies, Brandt and Clinton review scholarship that has brought research into the paradigm of literacy as contextualized.

“Rather than a brute consequence of a formidable technology, the achievement of literacy appeared as a delicate interplay of social, cultural, economic, political, and even geographic forces. In other words, social context organizes literacy, rather than the other way around.” (340)

“Generally, a literacy event is considered a social action going on around a piece of writing in which the writing matters to the way people interact. To this is added the more abstract concept of the literacy practice, usually treated as the socially regulated, recurrent, and patterned things that people do with literacy as well as the cultural significance they ascribe to those doings. Typically, literacy events are treated as discrete, observable happenings while practices are abstract, enduring, and not wholly observable.” (342)

But their goal in this text is to look at context with more nuance; instead of looking at local as a different sphere than global (though interconnected), they argue that the global is local.

“Context became associated with ethnographically-visible settings (the here and now), and the technology of literacy was demoted in relationship to the human agent who held power in assigning meaning to acts of literacy. But can we not recognize and theorize the transcontextual aspects of literacy without calling it decontexutualized? Can we not approach literacy as a technology – and even as an agent – without falling back into the autonomous model? Can we not see the ways that literacy arises out of local, particular, situated human interactions while also seeing how it also regularly arrives from other places – infiltrating, disjointing, and displacing local life?” (343)

Everything is local.

“With Latour’s insight we are no longer confined to thinking about “the local” as that which is present in a particular context and “global” as that which is somewhere else or as something that bears down on local contexts from the outside.” (347)

This divide between local and global is flattened into a more ontological rendering by the mattering of objects as mediators with (other) places and times.

“Bringing objects into play, according to Latour, allows us to understand that society exists nowhere else except in local situations but also to understand that, with the help of objects, lots of different kinds of activities can be going on in and across local situations – including aggregating, globalizing, objectifying, disrupting or dislocating.” (346)

“Objects are animated with human histories, vision, ingenuity, and will, yet they also have durable status and are resilient to our will. Our objects are us but more than us, bigger than we are; as they accumulate human investments in them over time, they can and do push back at us as “social facts” independent and to be reckoned with.” (345)

Brandt and Clinton replace the means of accounting for literacy, the literacy event, with a Latourian literacy in action.

from sponsors of literacy: We can think of sponsors as underwriters of acts of reading or writing – those agents, local or distant, concrete or abstract, who enable or induce literacy and gain advantage by it in some way

to agents of literacy: how things act as surrogates for the absence of others and in the multiple interest of agents; agency is multisourced

Brandt and Clinton describe how terms from Latour can bring new perspective to literacy as a social practice.

trancontextualizing moves of humans and nonhumans:

localizing moves: actions of humans and things in framing particular interactions

globalizing connects: the shifting out of individuals as well as the knitting together of interactions

folding in: expressing ontological relationships between people and things

“With these concepts, the literacy networks of individuals and social groups can be mapped. Maps of these networks (their density, reach, variety, stability, rates, and directions of change) can illuminate the processes by which diversity and inequity in literacy are actually sustained: the literal demarcations that separate the sponsoring or subsidizing networks of one locale from another.” (353)

I wonder how accounting for nonhumans informs the case study as textual model for literacy study—how tracing/mapping can become an ethnographic account(able) (and the literacy of reading/making Latourian diagrams – local/global joke).

Rhetorical Homeorhesis: Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together

You want to cut through this rich diversity of delegates and artificially create two heaps of refuse: “society” on one side and “technology” on the other? That’s your privilege, but I have a less messy task in mind (308).

“Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of a Door-Closer” | Bruno Latour (as Jim Johnson)

All of these projects and objects are in media res: articulated and made real through and across the entanglements of humans and nonhumans alike. Accounting for some of the work, we emphasize symbolic and interpretive work, the work of humans, but don’t count the non-symbolic and non-discursive work of nonhumans. This short video from Nathaniel Rivers, part of a series he made on Bruno Latour and Rhetorical Theory, seemed to account for the chreod—a necessary path or the alignment of set ups that turn away from words —of Latour’s door-closer. In rhetorical theory, we look to texts or words to create a subject of inquiry/study, but what of actions and performances and speechless persuasion? How can we account for that which is not said, but can be accounted for in utterance?

Knowledge, morality, craft, force, sociability are not properties of humans but of humans accompanied by their retinue of delegated characters. Since each of those delegates ties together part of our social world, it means that studying social relations without the nonhumans is impossible (310).

An attempt at accounting for articulation work—extending the semiotic of story beyond human/inhuman and figurative/non-figurative:

scripts are scenes played by human and nonhuman actors

description is retrieval of the script from the scene

transcription or inscription is the translation of any script from one repertoire to a more durable one

prescription is whatever a scene presupposes from its transcribed actors and authors—the moral and ethical dimension of mechanisms

des-inscription is all the ways actors extirpate themselves from prescribed behavior

subscription is the way actors accept their lot

sociologism is the claim that, given the competence and pre-inscription of human users and authors, you can read out the scripts nonhuman actors have to play

technologism is the symmetric claim that, given the competence and pre-inscription of the nonhuman actors, you can easily read out and deduce the behavior prescribed to authors and users

The story of the door-closer is Latour’s attempt/account to make a nonhuman delegate sound familiar. In story-telling, one calls shifting out any displacement of a character either to another space or to another time or to another character—

As a more general descriptive rule, every time you want to know what a nonhuman does, simply imagine what other humans or other nonhumans would have to do were this character not present. This imaginary substitution exactly sizes up the role, or function, of this little figure (299).

Latour is working to make the door-closer, un/seen as a purely technical artifact into a highly moral and highly social actor through describing not how the door-closer works or how its made, but how it works on entering/exiting a door, or how it prescribes what people should pass through the door and their techniques for doing so—it keeps out drafts until it goes “on strike”, it is impolite in slamming shut, with a hydraulic system its discriminatory weight works against young, old, and workers hands full. To label techniques or technical as inhuman overlooks translation mechanisms and the many choices that exist for figuring or de-figuring, personifying or abstracting, embodying or disembodying actors (303).

No matter how clever and crafty are our novelists, they are no match for engineers. Engineers constantly shift out characters in other spaces and other times, devise positions for human and nonhuman users, break down competences that they then redistribute to many different actants, build complicate narrative programs and sub-programs that are evaluated and judged (309).

Returning to trajectories instead of stases, or how semiotics might account for flows instead of states of symbol/meaning or human is to intention: Homeorhesis is steady flow. Steady state implies equilibrium which is never reached, nor are organisms and ecosystems in a closed environment.

How is rhetoric working to account for the non-discursive and the non-symbolic in media res?

What does chreod afford as method?

Bruno Latour: Pandora’s Hope

Reading “Do You Believe in Reality? News From The Trenches of the Science Wars” and “From Fabrication to Reality: Pasteur and His Lactic Acid Ferment”, I am reminded of why I am drawn to Latour’s work (although I haven’t read much, nor have I read this) – (from) what he composes, his delivery, and the desire to dwell within small nodes of the text (but moving within it). With this last characteristic, I will mention, that Latour is someone I would like to read slowly as an attempt at understanding at different scales. For now, I am thinking about the section from “From Fabrication to Reality” , “In Search of a Figure of Speech: Articulation and Proposition”, as I try to pull threads from our conversations in class, as well as Patricia H. Smith’s account of science as new philosophy in The Body of the Artisan as a way of constructing knowledge through human interactions with objects in nature as observation and representation as means to get closer to knowing objects and nature (really oversimplified and reductionist account on my part, but something I’m working with in threading Latour into what we are weaving as our class conversations). Reading Latour made me wonder about the construction of knowledge through understanding nature (would it be considered “out there”?) as something fixed, as something that is worked toward, established as knowledge, and recorded. What would the relationship between humans and nonhumans be in this period of the beginning of science? Is it like what Latour describes in Pasteur’s working with lactic acid ferment? Can the object exist as a discrete entity articulated in so many settings (evoked as knowledge?)? What does this mean for craft? I’m wondering about both the affordances and constraints to craftspeople in the relationship between them (their hands and bodied knowledge that create objects that reflect this) and their materials (objects for working) where the objects might stand apart from the maker. I’m struggling to articulate this, but is there a parallel to scientists, laboratories, science, and craftspeople, workshops, and craft at the level of objects? At the relationship between human and nonhuman (objects)?

In the moment, I am stuck on:

Latour states “What I have been groping toward, from the beginning of this book, is an alternative to the model of statements that posits a world “out there” which language tries to reach through a correspondence across the yawning gap separating the two…I am attempting to redistribute the capacity of speech between humans and nonhumans” (141).

And

“Our involvement with the things we speak about is at once much more intimate and much less direct than that of the traditional picture: we are allowed to say new, original things when we enter well-articulated setting like good laboratories. Articulation between propositions goes much deeper than speech. We speak because the propositions of the world are themselves articulated, not the other way around. More exactly, we are allowed to speak interestingly by what we allow to speak interestingly” (144).

For material to make something else, I found this talk Latour gave at Dublin City University, which I would like to listen to while rereading his “Steps Toward the Writing of a ‘Compositionist Manifesto'”. The abstract, from his website:

In this paper, written in the outmoded style of a “manifesto”, an attempt is made to use the word “composition” as an alternative to critique and “compositionism” as an alternative to modernism. The idea is that once the two organizing principles of nature and society are gone, one of the remaining solutions is to “compose” the common world. Such a position allows an alternative view of the strange connection of modernity with the arrow of time: the Moderns might have been future-centered but there is a huge difference between the future of people fleeing their past in horror and the “shape of things to come”, that, strangely enough, now appears suddenly in the back of humans surprised by their ecological crisis.

tiny composition ontology: a heterogeneous history for WIDE-EMU 12

I am working with my colleague, Joe Torok, to take stock of composition’s objects, its materiality, in order to illuminate possibilities otherwise in the shadow of capital W Writing or out of focus to our too set gaze (blink. look again. look outward). What happens when composition is viewed as an exploded diagram? Sources as assemblages of composites? As worknets of objects both material and semiotic? Flatten our ontologies; see composition not as woods, or even trees, but roots, leaves, temperature, increases in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, excess of nitrogen in the soil that year, the growth is insect populations that fancy this tree in particular, or the rise in demand of IKEA wooden furniture. What happens when composition is produced through carpentry, juxtaposed with geography, illuminated based on its materials and not the human hand that created them? What happens when composition is a field, a scrapyard, a breathing timeline?

This is thinking of composites in and as such. This is composing as such. This will be teaching as such: heterogeneity, to compose as to assemble,

This conference presentation didn’t start as such; it began as a reading done in a class over a year ago through Anne Wysocki’s awaywithwords: On the possibilities in unavailable designs (2005) from Computers and Composition.

awaywithwords: from Notes, “Oh heck, let’s see: see almost anything by Donna Haraway or by Derrida, for starts.” Count Gunther Kress ten times . Keywords: Affordances; Available design; Image; New media; Space; Visual representation; Visual rhetoric. “unavailable designs” comes from the New London Group’s “available designs”…

…Computers and Composition online “Theory Into Practice” : “Composition as a discipline is constantly evolving, changing its teaching practices in keeping with innovations in theory and technology. Therefore, Theory into Practice strives to illuminate these evolving connections between theories, computer technologies, and pedagogical practices” (Kerri Hauman)…

…Anne Wysocki–new media studies–Geoffrey Sirc’s “Box-Logic”–small t truths–the material of the everyday–Ian Bogost “the alien everyday”–wonder in the wondering about–composites of compositon–Bruno Latour “compositionism”–seeing–tracing–worknets…

And not lastly nor leastly, scholarship through scholarship on scholarship (thinking thoughts about thoughts thinking about thinking thoughts), from Reassembling the Social (Bruno Latour) through the selection of Toward a Composition Made Whole (Jody Shipka):

“If action is limited a priori to what ‘intentional’, ‘meaningful’ humans do, it is hard to see how a hammer, a basket, a door closer, a cat, a rug, a mug, a list, or a tag could act” (71) but nonhumans play a role in shaping and determining action (Shipka 119) because they “might authorize, allow, afford, encourage, permit, suggest, influence, block, render possible, forbid, and so on” (Latour 72) certain actions and outcomes over others (Shipka 119).

These are only part of the looking, of the attention to things.

Reassembling the Social

Beginning work with Latour oh so carefully: the necessity of a mindfulness toward definition/semiotic work, particularly if I am crafting (new) definitions, and their associations.

Introduction: How to Resume the Task of Tracing Associations*

“The argument of this book can be stated very simply: when social scientists add the adjective ‘social’ to some phenomenon, they designate a stabilized state of affairs, a bundle of ties that, later, may be mobilized to account for some other phenomenon. There is nothing wrong with this use of the word as long as it designates what is already assembled together, without making any superfluous assumption about the nature of what is assembled. Problems arise, however, when ‘social’ begins to mean a type of material, as if the adjective was roughly comparable to other terms like ‘wooden’, ‘steely’, ‘biological’, ‘economical’, ‘mental’, ‘organizational’, or ‘linguistic’. At that point, the meaning of the word breaks down since it now designates two entirely different things: first, a movement during a process of assembling; and second, a specific type of ingredient that is supposed to differ from other materials.”

*Paris ville invisible (a succession of photographic essays)

Latour states that the photographic essays “tries to cover much of the same ground” as the book. The English translation of the “succession” says “traversing, proportioning, distributing, allowing”; am I seeing associations or connections (which is the actor-network)? This will be a mindful reading. Related, mindfulness or splitting hairs, the cover of my version of the book reads Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Not once have I put the – between ‘network’ and ‘theory’, have I been cutting association(s)? How does that change my reading of the methodology?