Guilt by association

“If agency in all its forms is democratically distributed to all sorts of dividuals, some of which may temporarily be assembled as humans and others as machines, animals, or other quasi agents, then do we need to permanently bracket all forms of intrahuman judgment, accountability, and ethical discourse? Will future courts only be judges of assemblages of hands-guns-bodies-bullets and blood or of syringes-heroin-junkies- dealers or of ricin-envelopes-mailboxes-couriers and the like? And, worse, who will be the judges, witnesses, juries, prosecutors, and de- fenders? Will our very ideas of crime and punishment disappear into a bewildering landscape of actants, assemblages, and machines? If the only sociology left is the sociology of association, then will the only guilt left be guilt by association?” (Appadurai, Arjun. 2015. Mediants, materiality, normativity)