Latour: ‘From Critique to Composition’

Conferencia de Latour en marzo de 2012 en la Dublin City University


Problematising Danger

me acabo de cruzar con una página web donde se encuentran todos los contenidos en audio del cuarto y último seminario de las ESRC Seminar Series- Contemporary Biopolitical Security, organizado por la red Biopolitics of Security, dedicado específicamente al tema Problematising Danger.

El seminario tuvo lugar en UK el pasado mes de febrero de 2011 en el King’s College y no me puede parecer más actual para cualquiera del ámbito STS que se interese por las catástrofes medioambientales, las emergencias sanitarias y sociales, la(s) crisis económicas, etc.

Aquí os pongo el resumen, y espero que os interese

‘There is no liberalism without a culture of danger.’ (Foucault, 2008: 67)

FOUCAULT, M. 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics: lectures at the College de France, 1978-1979,
Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Threats and risks have become the preferred categories for imagining contemporary security. Practices such as defence, border control and the surveillance of populations, insurance, risk profiling to identify suspicious subjects, and risk assessments to protect objects and systems such as critical infrastructure, rely heavily on well-established paradigms of security. Discourses and practices of threats and risks, with their allied technologies of measurement and calculation, however, relate to the wider problem of danger and its allied concept of ‘uncertainty’. Thinking ‘danger’ relates to understandings of uncertainties, otherness of being, and spaces and environments of protection in excess of those accounted for in the language and metrics of discourses of threats and risks.

What happens, then, if the analysis of security resorts to understandings of ‘danger’, ‘dangerousness’, and processes of ‘endangerment’? Is it possible to think security by referring ideas of danger to understandings of life, livelihoods and lifestyles, instead of ready-made ‘objects’ of security such as sovereignty, territory, the nation-state, citizens, borders, and sociological categories such as class and gender? Is it possible to think security in relation to danger away from utilitarian economic categories such as cost-benefit analysis, risk calculus, and rational choice?

The workshop aims to explore these questions and to challenge participants to wonder if current policy security priorities such as terrorism, climate change, weapons proliferation, resilience and migration can be thought in relation to ‘danger’ outside discourses of threats and risks.

In the first three workshops of this seminar series we began to explore an agenda for contemporary biopolitical security research around problems such as mobilities and circulations, resilience, values and processes of valuations in relation to the technologies through which lifestyles and livelihoods are treated as referents of security. In this fourth workshop we intend to spark a conversation around the implications of thinking dangerousness in relation to security and life.

The workshop is based on participants’ work and invites a reflection on the following questions:

– How are ideas of danger constituted? What forms of ‘data’, ‘information’, and ‘knowledge’ are involved in constituting a dangerous subject or a dangerous environment?

– What are the preconditions for understanding endangerment in and how do they question the ‘new security challenges’ of for example, terrorism (and cyber-terrorism), proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, and health pandemics?

– Can discourses and practices of security be different if reflections on the consequences of endangerment are advanced?”

Como os decía, todo el audio está disponible en: Backdoor Publishing Company – Problematising Danger

Le manifeste cyborg: Haraway / Stengers (Selon Latour)

Bruno Latour ha estado organizando un ciclo de conferencias en el Centre Georges Pompidou de París durante el último semestre (titulado “Selon Latour”). Esas sesiones tienen todas un vídeo que se puede ver online en Dailymotion.

Me ha llamado especialmente la atención una sesión conjunta de Haraway y Stengers titulada “Le manifeste cyborg”, que os quería pasar por aquí. A continuación tenéis el vínculo al vídeo:

Haraway habla en inglés (en la que es por lo visto su primera conferencia pública en París) por el canal izquierdo y está traducido al francés por el canal derecho; Stengers habla en francés

Por lo visto ambas no se habían conocido hasta pocos años antes de este encuentro. Después de esto ambas han participado también en un curso de verano organizado por Vinciane Despret que ha tenido lugar hace un mes y algo en la localidad normanda de Cérisy titulado Ce que nous savons des animaux.

Espero que os interese… Feliz verano

How to think about science – CBC radio

La cadena de radio canadiense CBC tiene una serie de programas llamada “How to think about science” en los que habla gente bastante interesante.

Os dejo el link y un índice de los contenidos:

How to think about science (CBC)

If science is neither cookery, nor angelic virtuosity, then what is it?
Modern societies have tended to take science for granted as a way of knowing, ordering and controlling the world. Everything was subject to science, but science itself largely escaped scrutiny. This situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Historians, sociologists, philosophers and sometimes scientists themselves have begun to ask fundamental questions about how the institution of science is structured and how it knows what it knows. David Cayley talks to some of the leading lights of this new field of study.

Episode 1 – Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer
Episode 2 – Lorraine Daston
Episode 3 – Margaret Lock
Episode 4 – Ian Hacking and Andrew Pickering
Episode 5 – Ulrich Beck and Bruno Latour
Episode 6 – James Lovelock
Episode 7 – Arthur Zajonc
Episode 8 – Wendell Berry
Episode 9 – Rupert Sheldrake
Episode 10 – Brian Wynne
Episode 11 – Sajay Samuel
Episode 12 – David Abram
Episode 13 – Dean Bavington
Episode 14 – Evelyn Fox Keller
Episode 15 – Barbara Duden and Silya Samerski
Episode 16 – Steven Shapin
Episode 17 – Peter Galison
Episode 18 – Richard Lewontin
Episode 19 – Ruth Hubbard
Episode 20 – Michael Gibbons, Peter Scott, & Janet Atkinson Grosjean
Episode 21 -Christopher Norris and Mary Midgely
Episode 22 – Allan Young
Episode 23 – Lee Smolin
Episode 24 – Nicholas Maxwell

Vulnerability in technological cultures

Recently, Wiebe E. Bijker, professor of Technology & Society at the University of Maastricht, was in Barcelona to give a talk on “vulnerability in technological cultures”. This public lecture was hosted by IN3, the research insitute of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

For those who could not attend to the conference, here you have the videowith his talk:

Abstract of the conference:

Prof. Wiebe Bijker will argue two key ideas about vulnerability. The first is that vulnerability is not necessarily something negative, and can even be considered a necessary condition for innovation: to be able to innovate, one has to be creative and take risks (Schumpeter 1939). It has also been argued that for a smooth functioning of technical systems it is sometimes necessary to take risks (see John Law’s (2003) argument about the train accident at Ladbroke Grove). This argument c ontrasts with commonly accepted risk management theories and practices that argue that it is important to define clear rules and protocols and make sure they are followed in order to make an organization as safe as possible. This standard risk management approach will be questioned by asking attention for the positive aspects of vulnerability and the influence of rules and rule breaking in constructing a vulnerable and at the same time resilient technological culture.

The second idea is that the vulnerability of modern societies can best be studied as a vulnerability of technological cultures. Today’s societies can be considered as tightly knit systems in which technologies are pervasive. Technologies do not merely assist in everyday lives; they are also powerful forces acting to reshape human activities and their meanings. Additionally, the high-tech character of modern societies makes them vulnerable at the same time. Such vulnerability thus is an inherent characteristic of today’s societies (Perrow 1999 (1984); Beck 1986). Sometimes this quality turns into a problem or even a disaster. During the last decades we have witnessed several high-tech related disasters. The Challenger space shuttle explosion, the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the Bhopal chemical disaster in India, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill — they all remind us that large-scale systems are vulnerable to human errors and technical malfunctions with far-reaching consequences. Risks to health, safety, freedom of choice, privacy and our environment are abounding in the world.