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Download After Method: Mess in Social Science Research by John Law PDF

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By John Law

John legislation argues that tools do not simply describe social realities yet also are desirous about growing them. the results of this argument are hugely major. if that is so, equipment are continuously political, and it increases the query of what different types of social realities we wish to create. most modern tools search for readability and precision. it's always acknowledged that basically terrible study produces messy findings, and the concept issues on the planet could be fluid, elusive, or a number of is unthinkable. Law's startling argument is this is inaccurate and it's time for a brand new method. Many realities, he says, are obscure and ephemeral. If equipment need to know and support to form the realm, then they should reinvent themselves and their politics to house mess. that's the problem. not anything much less will do.

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This would allow us to acknowledge and reflect not only on what happens in laboratories or in the offices of social scientists, but also in the missing seven-eighths of the iceberg of method. In order to do this I propose a (partial) neologism. When I want to refer to method in this extended manner I will usually speak of method assemblage. I will return to and redefine this term several times in what follows, and especially in Chapters 3 and 5. 36 Helen Verran and David Turnbull say that for these authors an assemblage: is like an episteme with technologies added but that connotes the ad hoc contingency of a collage in its capacity to embrace a wide variety of incompatible components.

34 To bend a phrase, if we think in this way then reality is no longer destiny. In the rest of the book I pursue this non-conventional option. The stakes for politics, but also for truth, are surely so high that it would be mistaken not to try to think these through. But if we are to do this there are at least two reasons why we need a better vocabulary for talking of method. The first has to do with symmetry and the second with the character of the hinterland. As I indicated in the introduction, conventional talk of ‘method’ is closely associated with rules and norms for best practice.

Nevertheless, the end point – difficult but in their view none the less sometimes achieved in science – is a single reality and a single authorised set of inscription devices. In sum, Latour and Woolgar take us some distance from everyday EuroAmerican expectations about out-thereness. Reality is neither independent nor anterior to its apparatus of production. Neither is it definite and singular until that apparatus of production is in place. Realities are made. They are effects of the apparatuses of inscription.

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