HOW TO READ LATOUR (2): Against Straight Reading


We are often confronted with the demand that we read a writer “first” in their own terms, and then in a later phase propose hypotheses for interpreting the text. This is a naïve empiricist methodological principle based on the idea that we must first seek direct unmediated “raw” data, and then elaborate hypotheses to explain that data. This principle is based on an impossibility, the myth of information untransformed by theoretical interpretation, and is in no way applicable to the process of research. Latour himself condemns it under the name of “Double Click”, the myth of transport of information without transformation. This is a basic principle of Latour’s research from the very beginning – we have only to recall that Latour started out in Biblical exegesis.

There is no “blank-slate” reading, just registering what Latour says in his own terms. Can we then read Latour with constant reference to the…

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