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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


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