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Lecture 4

GGRC 24 Lecture 4: Lecture 4

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Michael Ekers

Week 4: Post Colonialism and Representations of Nature  Edward Said reading o Maps carry a tremendous amount of power – they do things rather than just representing the world – they structure and shape the world – a map is a claim to territory o History of colonialism according to him is about claiming territory and states through the marked land of territory (what belongs to who) o Think of private property – if you own a house or condo or apartment and you rent these places you think its yours o Lines and space have a tremendous amount of power for how things play out  History of ANT o Comes from studies of scientists o In the 1980s a bunch of sociologists went around and studied scientists studying science o These people were trying to illustrate how natural subjectivity and behaviours were much more subjective than they were objective o Also, trying to make the point that science is totally impossible and irrelevant outside of a whole collection of non-humans  Controversy o Mitchell says that Marx talks about how humans are exceptional – we can conceive of things like a dam or a phone and then we an construct it – Marx basically says that humans are different in that we can perceive of things differently o Mitchell has issue with this and says that Marx is really beholden to that dualistic understanding of the world that humans think and humans create o Mitchell says that humans may have had all the best plans in store for their projects but the processes were way more uncertain, and complicated than non- humans than we would ever account for – he says that the architects and engineers all had it wrong o This is about ANT building in a lot of uncertainty and contingency on how we study the world  Implications of ANT o #1  Really about how there is a lot of particularity and uncertainty in our studies – we might think that we can build a dam that will never fail but this isn’t the case in that there are many sociological and other points of failure  Example of blackout in 2003 – who would have ever expected to have an Ontario wide blackout? It is a moment in which one realizes that our entire economy and everything we do in a daily basis is associated with contingency and uncertainty o #3  Gives us a method for understanding those assemblages and networks – mainly focused on life of those things and how they act  Example – a person studying floods would say its cause of climate change while an ANT scholar would look at the things that we do with water (trace those physical things) and trace how they function in predictable and unpredictable ways  Weaknesses of ANT o #1  Doesn’t necessarily tell us why we are connected in the ways we are  Doesn’t tell us why some people drive and others don’t or why some people have access to subway and others don’t  Your life is a network but how these networks function and produce landscapes of opportunity for advantaged or disadvantages groups – ANT doesn’t tell us this  Focuses on the messiness of the world rather than how these structures are being fabricated – doesn’t really help us understand why we are networked the way we are and why this affects some people while not others o #2  Tends to overlook social difference and questions of power  If we are all networked, how do you think of identity?  If we are all a network then how is it that people are constructed to be distinct?  Wainwright article o About the framing of the world in a sense o Point is that if we assume or define a park it as a park space and as a space for leisure or simply as a territory that we can map or as a wilderness space, we lose sight of its becoming – how its made – how its constituted – how its fabricated – who is included and disclosed
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