Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy

Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy

Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy

320 Pages ·2004·995 KB ·English

Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy

POLITICS OF NATURE POLITICS OF NATURE


How to Bring the Sciences


into Democracy


▲ ▲ ▲


Bruno Latour


Translatedby


CatherinePorter


HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS


Cambridge,Massachusetts


London,England


2004 Copyright©2004bythePresidentandFellowsofHarvardCollege


Allrightsreserved


PrintedintheUnitedStatesofAmerica


ThisbookwasoriginallypublishedasPolitiquesdelanature,byEditionsLaDécouverte,Paris.


libraryofcongresscataloging-in-publicationdata


Latour,Bruno.


[Politiquesdelanature.English]


Politicsofnature:howtobringthesciencesinto


democracy/BrunoLatour;translatedbyCatherinePorter.


p. cm.


Includesbibliographicalreferencesandindex.


ISBN0-674-01289-5(cloth)—ISBN0-674-01347-6(pbk.)


1.Politicalecology. I.Title.


JA75.8.L3813 2004


320.5′8—dc22 2003057134 ForIsabelleStengers,VincianeDespret,andDavidWestern,


threetruepractitionersofcosmopolitics Acknowledgments


The French Ministry of the Environment, through its Division of


Studies and Research, has generously supported this unconventional


basicresearchprojectthataimedfromtheoutsetattheproductionof


abook(contractno.96060).Itgoeswithoutsayingthattheministryis


innowayresponsiblefortheresult.Ihavebenefitedthroughoutfrom


theindispensablesupportofClaudeGilbert,whoseliaisonworkmade


it possible to create a French environment conducive to original re-


searchoncollectiverisk.IthankthestudentsoftheLondonSchoolof


Economics,andespeciallyNoortjeMarres,forhelpingmeduringtwo


coursesItaughtthereonthepoliticsofnatureandforgivingthisen-


terprise its definitive form. I am immensely grateful to the experts


who first agreed to put my drafts to the test, especially Marie-Angèle


Hermitte, Gérard de Vries, and Laurent Thévenot. To name all the


otherswouldmeanprematurelyexposingtheextentofmylimitations


andmydebts.Theirmostimportantcontributionsareincludedinthe


notes.IalsothankGrahamHarmanformanywittycommentsonthe


Frenchedition.


This book could not have progressed without the invaluable work


done by Florian Charvolin on the Ministry of the Environment, by


Rémi Barbier on waste products, by Patricia Pellegrini on farm ani-


mals,byElizabethRémyonhigh-tensionpowerlines,byJean-Claude


Petit on nuclear reactors, by Yannick Barthe on the burial of radioac-


tive waste, and by Vololona Rabeharisoa and Michel Callon on the


FrenchMuscularDystrophyAssociation.


I have dedicated this work to Isabelle Stengers and Vinciane ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


viii


Despret. I shamelessly looted Stengers’ Cosmopolitics, as well as


Callon’s research on the anthropology of the market. During the two


years I spent writing this book, my constant aim was to do justice to


the truly historic experience of my friend David Western, then direc-


toroftheKenyaWildlifeServiceatacriticaljuncture—althoughIre-


mained well aware of the immense distance separating the politics of


nature that I was drafting in my study among the meditative cows of


theBourbonnaisfromthepoliticsofnaturethathepracticeseveryday


inthefieldamongelephants,Masai,tourists,internationaldonors,lo-


cal politicians, and herds of buffalo and gnus—not to mention his


“dear colleagues” and other meat-eating species . . . For theEnglish


edition, I abstained from making any major modifications, except for


deletingtheannextoChapter1.Ieditedandupdatedsomeofthefoot-


notes, deleted those relevant only for the French, and added a few to


address objections made since the original publication. I made very


fewchangesinthebodyofthetext,exceptforclarification.Thosemi-


nor deletions and additions are entirely due to me and not to the


translator,CatherinePorter,fromwhoseremarkableskillandbenevo-


lenceIwasfortunateenoughtoprofitonceagain. Contents


Introduction:What Is to Be Done with Political Ecology? 1


1. Why Political Ecology Has to Let Go of Nature 9


First,GetOutoftheCave 10


EcologicalCrisisorCrisisofObjectivity? 18


TheEndofNature 25


ThePitfallof“SocialRepresentations”ofNature 32


TheFragileAidofComparativeAnthropology 42


WhatSuccessorfortheBicameralCollective? 49


2. How to Bring the Collective Together 53


DifficultiesinConvokingtheCollective 57


FirstDivision:LearningtoBeCircumspectwithSpokespersons 62


SecondDivision:AssociationsofHumansandNonhumans 70


ThirdDivisionbetweenHumansandNonhumans:


RealityandRecalcitrance 77


AMoreorLessArticulatedCollective 82


TheReturntoCivilPeace 87


3. A New Separation of Powers 91


SomeDisadvantagesoftheConceptsofFactandValue 95


ThePowertoTakeintoAccountandthePowertoPutinOrder 102


TheCollective’sTwoPowersofRepresentation 108


POLITICS OF NATURE POLITICS OF NATURE


How to Bring the Sciences


into Democracy


▲ ▲ ▲


Bruno Latour


Translatedby


CatherinePorter


HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS


Cambridge,Massachusetts


London,England


2004 Copyright©2004bythePresidentandFellowsofHarvardCollege


Allrightsreserved


PrintedintheUnitedStatesofAmerica


ThisbookwasoriginallypublishedasPolitiquesdelanature,byEditionsLaDécouverte,Paris.


libraryofcongresscataloging-in-publicationdata


Latour,Bruno.


[Politiquesdelanature.English]


Politicsofnature:howtobringthesciencesinto


democracy/BrunoLatour;translatedbyCatherinePorter.


p. cm.


Includesbibliographicalreferencesandindex.


ISBN0-674-01289-5(cloth)—ISBN0-674-01347-6(pbk.)


1.Politicalecology. I.Title.


JA75.8.L3813 2004


320.5′8—dc22 2003057134 ForIsabelleStengers,VincianeDespret,andDavidWestern,


threetruepractitionersofcosmopolitics Acknowledgments


The French Ministry of the Environment, through its Division of


Studies and Research, has generously supported this unconventional


basicresearchprojectthataimedfromtheoutsetattheproductionof


abook(contractno.96060).Itgoeswithoutsayingthattheministryis


innowayresponsiblefortheresult.Ihavebenefitedthroughoutfrom


theindispensablesupportofClaudeGilbert,whoseliaisonworkmade


it possible to create a French environment conducive to original re-


searchoncollectiverisk.IthankthestudentsoftheLondonSchoolof


Economics,andespeciallyNoortjeMarres,forhelpingmeduringtwo


coursesItaughtthereonthepoliticsofnatureandforgivingthisen-


terprise its definitive form. I am immensely grateful to the experts


who first agreed to put my drafts to the test, especially Marie-Angèle


Hermitte, Gérard de Vries, and Laurent Thévenot. To name all the


otherswouldmeanprematurelyexposingtheextentofmylimitations


andmydebts.Theirmostimportantcontributionsareincludedinthe


notes.IalsothankGrahamHarmanformanywittycommentsonthe


Frenchedition.


This book could not have progressed without the invaluable work


done by Florian Charvolin on the Ministry of the Environment, by


Rémi Barbier on waste products, by Patricia Pellegrini on farm ani-


mals,byElizabethRémyonhigh-tensionpowerlines,byJean-Claude


Petit on nuclear reactors, by Yannick Barthe on the burial of radioac-


tive waste, and by Vololona Rabeharisoa and Michel Callon on the


FrenchMuscularDystrophyAssociation.


I have dedicated this work to Isabelle Stengers and Vinciane ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


viii


Despret. I shamelessly looted Stengers’ Cosmopolitics, as well as


Callon’s research on the anthropology of the market. During the two


years I spent writing this book, my constant aim was to do justice to


the truly historic experience of my friend David Western, then direc-


toroftheKenyaWildlifeServiceatacriticaljuncture—althoughIre-


mained well aware of the immense distance separating the politics of


nature that I was drafting in my study among the meditative cows of


theBourbonnaisfromthepoliticsofnaturethathepracticeseveryday


inthefieldamongelephants,Masai,tourists,internationaldonors,lo-


cal politicians, and herds of buffalo and gnus—not to mention his


“dear colleagues” and other meat-eating species . . . For theEnglish


edition, I abstained from making any major modifications, except for


deletingtheannextoChapter1.Ieditedandupdatedsomeofthefoot-


notes, deleted those relevant only for the French, and added a few to


address objections made since the original publication. I made very


fewchangesinthebodyofthetext,exceptforclarification.Thosemi-


nor deletions and additions are entirely due to me and not to the


translator,CatherinePorter,fromwhoseremarkableskillandbenevo-


lenceIwasfortunateenoughtoprofitonceagain. Contents


Introduction:What Is to Be Done with Political Ecology? 1


1. Why Political Ecology Has to Let Go of Nature 9


First,GetOutoftheCave 10


EcologicalCrisisorCrisisofObjectivity? 18


TheEndofNature 25


ThePitfallof“SocialRepresentations”ofNature 32


TheFragileAidofComparativeAnthropology 42


WhatSuccessorfortheBicameralCollective? 49


2. How to Bring the Collective Together 53


DifficultiesinConvokingtheCollective 57


FirstDivision:LearningtoBeCircumspectwithSpokespersons 62


SecondDivision:AssociationsofHumansandNonhumans 70


ThirdDivisionbetweenHumansandNonhumans:


RealityandRecalcitrance 77


AMoreorLessArticulatedCollective 82


TheReturntoCivilPeace 87


3. A New Separation of Powers 91


SomeDisadvantagesoftheConceptsofFactandValue 95


ThePowertoTakeintoAccountandthePowertoPutinOrder 102


TheCollective’sTwoPowersofRepresentation 108


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