— Michael Guggenheim

Tag "Actor-Network Theory"

an article forthcoming in the British Journal of Sociology (pdf). (table)


Sociologists have increasingly come to recognize that the discipline has unduly privileged textual representations, but efforts to incorporate visual and other media are still only in their beginning. This paper develops an analysis of the ways objects of knowledge are translated in research into other media, in order to understand the visual practices of sociology and to point out unused possibilities. I argue that the discourse on visual sociology, by assuming that photographs are less objective than text, is based on an asymmetric media-determinism and on a misleading notion of objectivity. Instead, I suggest to analyze media with the concept of translations. I introduce several kinds of translations, most centrally the one between tight and loose ones. I show that many sciences, such as biology, focus on tight translations, using a variety of media and manipulating both research objects and representations. Sociology, in contrast, uses both tight and loose translations, but uses the latter only for texts. For visuals, sociology restricts itself to what I call “the documentary”: focussing on mechanical recording technologies without manipulating either the object of research or the representation. I conclude by discussing three rare examples of what is largely excluded in sociology: visual loose translations, visual tight translations based on non-mechanical recording technologies, and visual tight translations based on mechanical recording technologies that include the manipulation of both object and representation.

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“Mutable Immobiles. Change of Use of Buildings as a Problem of Quasi-Technologies”
in: Thomas Bender & Ignacio Farias (eds.): Urban Assemblages. How Actor-Network Theory Changes Urban Studies.
Routledge, London.

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(Un-) Building Social Systems. The Concrete Foundations of Functional Differentiation’
in: Ignacio Farias and José Ossandon (eds.) Comunicaciones, semánticas y redes. Usos y desviaciones de la sociología de Niklas Luhmann. México: Universidad Iberoamericana, 2011, 245-277


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Building Memory: Architecture, Networks and Users
in: Michalis Kontopodis and Alex Kozin (eds.) Memory Studies, Special Issue on Materializations of Times: From Memory to Imagination, 39-53.

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Liebe deinen Hund wie dich selbst.

Ein klinischer Test sozialwissenschaftlicher Theoriebildung am Beispiel veterinärmedizinischer Konsultationen.

Universität Zürich. (unpublished M.A. -Thesis)

(=Love Your Dog as Thyself)

For a short english version see this unpublished article


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Unpublished article based on German Language M.A. Thesis (2001).

Actor-Network-Theory and Constructivism fight for better description of Interactions between Humans and Animals.

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Symmetrical twins (pdf). On the Relationship Between Actor-Network-Theory and the Sociology of Critical Capacities.

In:  European Journal of Sociological Theory, Vol 11, issue 2, 2012, 157-178. (together with
Joerg Potthast)

This article explores the elective affinities between Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the sociology of critical capacities. It argues that these two research programmes can be understood as symmetrical twins. We show the extent to which the exchange between Bruno Latour and Luc Boltanski has influenced their respective theoretical develop- ments. Three strong encounters between the twin research programmes may be distin- guished. The first encounter concerns explanations for social change. The second encounter focuses on the status of objects and their relationship to locations. The third encounter is about the concept of critique. Drawing on their long-term mutual readings, we gain insight into how pleas for symmetrical analysis raised in response to Bourdieu’s theory of fields have evolved within both ANT and the sociology of critical capacity. We conclude by relating the development of the respective research programmes to the issue of disciplinary boundaries.













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