On ANT and relational materialisms

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21 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to many internal critics, Marxist political ecology needs to better engage contemporary science studies. Rather than pursuing actor-network-theory (ANT), viable connections are more likely to lie in the area of materialist feminist science studies. Where Bruno Latour flattens human agency and flattens non-human activity in "the middle" of Nature and Society, Donna Harraway is more deeply concerned with a nature she cannot want, feminist subjectivities that are discrete from and yet compromised in relation to contingent technoscientific engagements with natures and cultures, and processes of territorialization significantly driven by the contradictions of global capital. Where O'Connor's theory of capitalism's second contradiction is explicitly objectivist and tends towards critical realism, Harraway's work tends towards the subjective and critical semiotic. In each case, a historically relational materialism is being brought to bear on the problems of contemporary politics. Although Harraway's and other feminist science scholars' work is notably superior to ANT, Latour and others provide close analyses of the immediate material enablements, constraints and (re)negotiations that are always a part of technoscientific worlds of production, reproduction, basic research, and applied engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
JournalCapitalism, Nature, Socialism
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005

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