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Latour’s Critique of Social Constructionism and Social Explanation

Title
Latour’s Critique of Social Constructionism and Social Explanation
Speaker(s)
Speaker: Dr Stephen Kemp # University of Edinburgh
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
20th Feb 2019 11:00 - 20th Feb 2019 12:00
Location
6th Floor Staff Room CMB
URL
http://www.sociology.ed.ac.uk/events2/seminar_series/2018_2019/latours_critique_of_social_constructionism_and_social_explanation

Bruno Latour is well-known as a leading figure in Science and Technology Studies, a founder of Actor-Network Theory, a theorist of “things”, but also as a critic of Critical Social Science and the “Sociology of the Social”. In this talk I focus on these latter aspects of his work, particularly his attack on social constructionism and its conception of social explanation. I explore various dimensions of Latour’s hostility to social constructionism as well as evaluating his alternative conception of explanation. The contention of the talk will be that although Latour does pose serious challenges to social constructionist accounts of explanation, which have ramifications for other sociological approaches, his alternative is unsatisfactory. I offer some thoughts on how to move forward from Latour’s critique.

Sociology Seminar