— Michael Guggenheim

Laboratizing and Delaboratizing the World. Changing Sociological Concepts for Places of Knowledge Production (2012) 

pdf: History of the Human Sciences, 2012, February 2012 vol. 25 no. 1 99-118, original publication


How has sociology framed places of knowledge production and what is the specific power of the laboratory for this history? This article looks at how sociology and STS have historically framed the world as laboratory in three steps: First, in early sociology, the laboratory was an important metaphor to conceive of sociology as a scientific enterprise. In the 1950ies, the trend reversed and with the emergence of a ‘qualitative sociology’, sociology was seen in opposition to laboratory work. With the ascent of laboratory studies, the laboratory perspective was again applied to many fields, including sociology itself. Based on a definition of a laboratory as aiming at placeless knowledge and being inconsequential this article argues that the two waves of laboratorization were metaphorical and did not really turn the world into a laboratory. Instead, two alternative concepts, those of the unilatory and the locatory, are proposed to gain a more precise understanding of some of these metaphorical uses of the term laboratory.

  1. Sarover says: December 2, 20115:30 pm

    i think i want all the articles on this website, its the closest ever its come to my work on the city and methods. but have no idea how to access these, technology beats me at the game.
    do let me know how this works, thank you

    • admin says: December 2, 20115:59 pm

      You can download most everything by simply clicking on the underscored and coloured text (in this post: “to appear in”). alternatively check me out on academia.edu

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