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Lecture 3

SOCI 364 Lecture 3: L3

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University of British Columbia
SOCI 364

Bruno Latours Actor Network Theory: When you delegate a nonhuman to do something of use to other humans, then the non human begins to prescribe its ideal user o And to discriminate against other users How do readers interpret the meaning? Gieryns what do buildings do? Buildings stabilize social life. And yet, buildings stabilize imperfectly o Hold out possibility of changingreinterpreting social relations Giddens and Bourdieu: Buildings and intervenors in the agency vs structure debate Giddens + Bourdieu + tools form social construction of technological systems o How do we understand buildings and built environment? Key Tools from Constructivist studies of tech o Heterogeneous design Not all the same Both the planning of material things and the resolution of sometimes competing social interests Lots of interest into construction Design process enrolls: Investors, patrons, consumers, managers, eager publics. all of whom are required to built Many different actors involved Design is heterogenous in that designers who sketch out material artifacts also create human users o Black Boxing Once things get built, we lose sight of the heterogeneous building process We dont see how it works inside Some designs get built and stabilized, becoming Obligatory passage points Concealing politics and interests within black box Increasingly intransigent Or, once things get built they become pervasive and powerful social actors, covering their own tracks even as they network with one another o Interpretative Flexibility We can interpret something in our own way We can also reinterpret our built environment Reconfiguration may be discursive or material Meanings of artefacts as contingent and variable, never fully determined by the intent of designers or by technical and material form Black boxes can be pried open and artifacts remandboth materially and society E.g worlds thinnest building
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