What's wrong with a one-world world?

Law, John (2015). What's wrong with a one-world world? Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 16(1) pp. 126–139.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1600910x.2015.1020066


Western assumptions about the character of the world tend to distinguish between nature, the natural, or the physical on the one hand, and culture, people, and their beliefs on the other: between mononaturalism and multiculturalism. This argument has been well rehearsed in post-colonial and anthropological literatures where it is linked to dominatory or hegemonic ‘Northern’ strategies which naturalize mononaturalism and reduce indigenous realities to beliefs which may be discounted. In this paper I use STS (science, technology, and society) to show that the ‘North’ is not mono-natural, and that the enactment of mononaturalism is (1) indeed an enactment and (2) only partial. The argument is that in the ‘North’ we do not live in a single container universe, but partially participate in multiple realities or a fractiverse. I then explore how we might craft encounters across difference well in contexts where the Northern distinction between nature and culture makes little sense.

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