From Blindness to blindness: Museums, Heterogeneity and the Subject

Hetherington, Kevin (1999). From Blindness to blindness: Museums, Heterogeneity and the Subject. In: Law, John and Hassard, John eds. Actor Network Theory and After. Sociological Review Monographs. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, pp. 51–73.




This chapter critically engages with the idea of heterogeneity that has been important to actor-network theory. By looking at the history of the museum and the kind of art associated with it at different points in time, the chapter shows how what we understand as heterogeneiety has changed over time. The history of the ordering and displaying role of the museum reveals different responses to an idea of heterogeneity and to consequential conceptualisations not only of vision and agency but also to subject-object relations. The idea of heterogeneity is caught up with these changing relations between subject and object and with the spatial configuration through which they are constituted. The museum is an important historical site through which such changing relations and changing understandings of heterogeneity can be analysed.

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