Performances and arguments
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I had serious doubts when Metascience asked me to review this book because I have never been able to make sense of the Latourian programme. ‘Factishes’ (as I’ll refer to the book) is very interesting, however, in spite of the nasty neologism, the horrible title and it being on the thin side of ‘slight’. Factishes comprises three reprints of previously published pieces—a newly translated pamphlet, the text of the Iconoclash exhibition catalogue and a chapter from an edited collection. I found the first two pieces initially enjoyable but too long for me even though they are very short—I will explain in due course. Chapter 3, however, is a beautiful piece of work which I would not have read had it not been reprinted here.
Chapter 3 is about the nature of religious speech acts, and it explores Latour’s own active Catholicism. I believe it helped me understand a lot about Latour’s work and what was going on in science studies in the 1980s and ‘90s. This is not to do with Catholicism but performance...
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