By Tim Newton
This ebook engages with, and contests, the ‘new sociology of nature’. It strikes past present debates via proposing new social idea and dealing throughout present fields of curiosity, addressing the controversy on new genetics and genomics, taking human biology heavily, and the problems of interdisciplinarity which are more likely to come up in long run makes an attempt to paintings around the social and flora and fauna. Nature and Sociology should be of serious curiosity to scholars of quite a few disciplines together with sociology and social technology, human geography, social and organic anthropology, and the average sciences.
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Additional info for Nature and Sociology
In other words, if we imagine an individual holding a Kodak camera, ANT writers tend to tell us a lot about how the camera was constructed, but not the individual holding it. There is little attention to the lengthy historical interdependency networks that condition the practical and discursive consciousness of human beings – such as that which Elias details in his studies of court society (Elias, 1983, 1994). To use ANT terminology, human beings are often ‘black-boxed’ within ANT analysis. In effect, ANT studies tend to represent people as predictable parts of the network, whose actions can be taken for granted within a particular network 31 NATURE AND SOCIOLOGY configuration.
More recently, Emmanuel Levinas employs elements of Cartesian argument on the grounds that Descartes provides a vehicle to explore how the subject is constituted in ‘the Other’ (since the Cartesian idea of God provides a sense of the 37 NATURE AND SOCIOLOGY Other that cannot be presumed by, or reduced to, the subject – an ‘alterity irreducible to interiority’; Levinas, 1994a: 211). Although we may question Levinas’s use of Descartes, his argument illustrates the intellectual vandalism that may result if we reject certain writers outright.
In other words, it implies that there is no such thing as human nature since its meaning is always dependent upon how nature is socially constructed within particular cultural settings. Yet it is misleading to assume that this simply replaces a biologistic supremacy with a cultural one. For instance, although MacCormack stressed the strong significance of social and cultural construction, she fought shy of siding with those such as David Schneider (1972) for whom ‘nature is entirely a cultural concept’ (MacCormack, 1980: 4).