Saturday, August 4, 2012

Latour Video on Modes of Existence

A lecture, "Ecological Crises, Digital Humanities and New Political Assemblies," at Azim Premji University in Bangalore on 23 March 2012:

45:45: "Ecology is not about nature."

About the Talk (from YouTube):
Ecological crises in contemporary times have created problems for political representation. Existing political assemblies cannot handle these crises due to their scale, the esoteric character of the scientific knowledge necessary to apprehend them, and the intensity of conflicts of values that they generate. Digital resources suggest new possibilities for mapping the heterogeneous networks which link scientists, decision makers, media, citizens and other participants in public debates over ecological issues. They can create political assemblies where contending world views and modes of reasoning engage each other.
Early in the lecture Latour quickly sketches three modes, science, law, and "double-click." At 34:15 he does a quick recap and then at 34:48 sketches the religious mode in the form of Christianity, to roughly 36:55.

At 43:00 he undertakes a discussion of 'diplomacy', which lasts until 48:23 or so. He talks of diplomacy as the way in which spokesmen for the various modes come together and negotiate a common reality. Diplomacy and negotiation because there is no common arbiter. One cannot appeal, for example, to Nature or to Science, to settle matters. In the absence of an ultimate court of appeal the various collectives must negotiate a common world among themselves.

This process was an abstract idea as described in Politics of Nature. Latour now proposes to begin it as a real process. To that end he and his team are constructing an online component to his project, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence. Latour discusess that online and interactive component at the end of his talk, which is followed by discussion.

1 comment:

  1. a philosopher who enters the realm of politics will only stand to tarnish his reputation and count that as losses

    under the illusion that he can offer something practical - he can't

    and I don't think we have learnt anything from Sartre's political disambiguations - we only learnt from his novels