Slippery: field notes on empirical ontology

Law, John and Lien, Marianne (2013). Slippery: field notes on empirical ontology. Social Studies of Science, 43(3) pp. 363–378.




This paper explores empirical ontology by arguing that realities are enacted in practices. Using the case of Atlantic salmon, it describes a series of scientific and fish-farming practices. Since these practices differ, the paper also argues that different salmon are being enacted within those different practices. The paper explores the precarious choreographies of those practices, considers the ways in which they enact agency and also work to generate Otherness. Finally it emphasises the productivity of practices and notes that they generate not simply particular realities (for instance particular salmon), but also enact a penumbra of not quite realised realities: animals that were almost but not quite created.

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