Situating technoscience: An inquiry into spatialities

Law, John and Mol, Annemarie (2001). Situating technoscience: An inquiry into spatialities. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 19(5) pp. 609–621.



This paper explores the spatial characteristics of science and technology. Originally seen as universal, and therefore outside space and place, studies in science, technology, and society (STS) located it first in specific locations -- laboratories -- and then in narrow networks linking laboratories. This double location implied that science is caught up in and enacts two topological forms -- region and network -- since objects in networks hold their shape by freezing relations rather than fixing Euclidean coordinates. More recent STS work suggests that science and technology also exist in and help to enact additional spatial forms. Thus some technoscience objects are fluid, holding their form by shifting their relations. And yet others achieve constancy by enacting simultaneous absence and presence, a topological possibility which we call here fire . The paper concludes by arguing that the 'global' includes and is enacted in all four of these topological systems.

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