Accepted Paper:

Proposing a dialogue between Latour and critical theory  


Stefan Klein (Universidade de Brasília (UNB))

Paper short abstract:

The presentation aims to discuss the dynamics under which science and politics are interwoven, by taking up contributions presented by critical theory specially on technoscience, departing from and problematizing the statement by Bruno Latour that "Science is Politics by Other Means".

Paper long abstract:

The paper aims to contrast the idea of reducing science to politics with that of a relative autonomy of science. To do this I propose taking forward a theoretical-bibliographical discussion, hereto mobilizing the contributions of critical theory, foremost those formulated among two different viewpoints. On the one side by Herbert Marcuse, most notably in an article from 1941 on the social implications of modern technology, where it is possible to find traits of what later on was disseminated as technoscience, as well as his works in the late 1960s, when discussing scientific neutrality and responsability. On the other side I take up the more recent contributions on autonomy as well as universality written by Syed Hussein Alatas (2006), who tries to distinguish between indigenization of science and the indigenization of its application(s). Thus my interest lies in addressing in how far and under which circumstances science has a political nucleus, nevertheless partially disagreeing that it can be presented as politics by other means. Rather, I shall argue that to understand the dynamics of politics and science as more or less autonomous spheres it is central to ascertain and establish the existing varieties between them, hereby focusing on the organization of science as embedded in certain contexts, but still being able to produce results that differentiate themselves in content and form from those originated in politics.

Panel T023
Science Is Politics by Other Means Revisited