Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What a tangled web we weave

I have just managed to make RSS links work (thanks cj and peter) and the world is suddenly connecting with me in new ways;I'm tripping over threads of people in unexpected places.
I came across this today from ideant
"The tyranny imposed by social network theories is that a node acknowledges only other nodes.... If we are going to go with the network metaphor, we need a praxis and an ethics, for engaging with the world beyond our interests, which means accounting for the space between nodes, becoming invested in the non-nodal."
Is there value to be had in looking between the nodes, between the actors? Callon and Latour (1981) seemed discouraging of this- ant is 'far from being a theory of the social or even worse an explanation of what makes society exert pressure on actors...'
If the tyranny of network thinking is an overly developed concern on nodes - nodal centric- how do we/I go about recognizing what i/we dont expect to see? Like Donna Haraway (1994) "I do not know how to leap out of my natural-cultural history to make it all come right."
I am reminded of a Charlie Brown cartoon of Snoopy lamenting that when he wanted to end his existance in the puppy farm, leaping over the fence still left him in the world.
I am still part of the tangle.

The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keepin' on like a bird that flew,
Tangled up in blue.

Bob Dylan (1974)


  1. Hi Ailsa - Well, I think we are all guilty of being kids with hammers to whom everything looks like a nail. Having said that, you can't use a hammer to trim your nails (or you can, but it would be painful), so why feel apologetic? Anyway, I like that quote by Callon and Latour, and would like to use it. It's from 'Unscrewing the big leviathan,' right? Can you send me the page number? (arsalaan1-3677 at yahoo dot com) Thanks!

    -Ulises (ideant)

  2. Hi Ulises, my apologies for taking so long to respond, I wasnt seeing all the hidden works that blogging had made possible, hence only just discovered a backlog of comments! The quote is cited by Latour (1999) On recalling ANT, p19-20 or there abouts.