Chapter

The Density and Fragility of the World: Latour

Benjamin Noys

in The Persistence of the Negative

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638635
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671915 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638635.003.0004
The Density and Fragility of the World: Latour

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This chapter examines the work of the contemporary anthropologist of science Bruno Latour. Although not usually regarded as a significant figure in contemporary theory, Latour’s work on networks is becoming increasingly influential and demonstrates the spread of affirmative thinking across the humanities and social sciences. Despite the claim to being a neutral analytic tool Latour’s use of network thinking incarnates an affirmative politics that is explicitly anti-revolutionary – a reticular reformism. The emphasis on complexity and density that is core to Latour’s thinking is predicated on the disavowal of any form of negativity as radical change. Against this disavowal, this chapter probes the problem of political violence to reveal the limits of Latour’s thinking. The problem of violence, which Latour tries to dismiss, can be rethought to challenge the violence of state and capitalist power.

Keywords: Bruno Latour; Networks; Reformism; Political Violence; Power

Chapter.  11490 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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