We Have Never Been Modern
With the rise of science, we moderns believe, the world changed irrevocably, separating us forever from our primitive, premodern ancestors. But if we were to let go of this fond conviction, Bruno Latour asks, what would the world look like? His book, an anthropology of science, shows us how much of modernity is actually a matter of faith.
What does it mean to be modern?...more
“Whatevery they do, Westerners bring history along with them in the hulls of their caravels and their gu ...more
Latour starts his book with 1989: the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the triumph of capitalism over communism, and conferences on global climate and environment in Paris, London, and Amsterdam showed that our domination of nature was harmful. How do we respond in these times—to, in some ways, the failures of modernism? If liber ...more
As he says at the start, if you were to read through a newspaper, you would come across various issues that cannot be neatly categorized into one of these two boxes. Take, for example, the issue of the AIDS virus or global warming. Culture (politics, societal attitudes and beliefs, social relationships, etc., etc.) and nature entwine in vario ...more
Just one thing though - I'm not ENTIRELY convinced that the separation between Nature and Society instituted by modernity is/was so rigid. This is difficult to argue because Latour would actually agree with this point, what with the proliferation of quasi-objects and what not, but what I mean to say is that I think by delineating this separation so persistently he may be PRODUCING the said intention of total separation, which may no ...more
"We have never moved either forward or backward. We have always actively sorted out elements belonging to different time. ...more
This is pot ...more
Bruno Latour, one of the most highly cited sociologists, delivers a mighty punch with this small book on the roots of modernism. As Latour conceives of it, modernism is an attitude of the hubris to both segregate and conquer categories of reality. These categories as Latour mentions are nature, society, being and discourse. Latour indicates that we have either focussed on one aspect and neglected/denounced any possible control of one sphere. For ...more
Maybe I'm missing some sort of background, but aren't philosophy books supposed to be logical.
It reads like a rambling of a person who has a dozen different ideas in mind and doesn't know how to tell them all at the same time.
I quit after reading a quarter of the book and I don't see any point to it.
It's not that I don't agree with the message, I cannot even find the message. I've read some reviews of this book and some interpretations and I got i ...more
Maybe it is because I was so keenly aware of all the other things I had to do while reading this book, but I get the feeling that while Latour has fantastic ideas, he could've shaved the word count down dozens of pages and still get his point across.
However, he takes a great stab at ideas of modernity, reductionist ideas and dichotomies. Very cool stuff.