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Objects and spaces

Law, John (2002). Objects and spaces. Theory, Culture & Society, 19(5-6) pp. 91–105.

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Law's article begins by restating the classical ANT position that objects do not exist `in themselves' but are the effect of a performative stabilization of relational networks. In addition, these material enactments inevitably have a spatial dimension; they simultaneously establish spatial conditions for objectual identity, continuity, and difference. Space must not be reified as a natural, pre-existing container of the social and the material, but is itself a performance. Moreover, there are multiple forms of spatiality beyond the Euclidean space of regions (e.g. networks and fluids), and objects may exist and achieve homeomorphism within several different spatial systems. Technologies such as the Zimbabwe Bush Pump present a fluid object which is able to exist and cohere without the presence of fixed boundaries or the permanence of a particular functional definition. The network logic, however, which gravitates towards stability and functionality, tends to exclude and silence this spatial Other. An alternative political ontology is needed which goes beyond the reification of network space in order to give voice to the fluid objects which escape its unidimensional functionality.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2002 Sage
ISSN: 1460-3616
Keywords: ANT; actor network theory; STS; science technology and object; fluid; materiality; network; region; spatiality; topology
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 22049
Depositing User: John Law
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2010 09:46
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 10:39
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