Where the action is

“The number of acting units and the kinds of action are increasing for the first time, since modernity and enlightenment have successfully diminished it by banning moving objects and talking trees, inviting nymphs and punishing gods, speaking oracles and helpful angels out of the sphere of action into the world of fetish and fiction.” (Rammert 2008, 2)

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)

sustainable development and the demon of LaPlace

The Achilles’ heel of the sustainable development concept is to externalize technology. Digitalization becomes a silver bullet dissolving all socio-economic-political challenges in the world – climate change, poverty, inequality and so on. In the long run, it may appear as a high price to destroy the horsemen of the apocalypse by summoning LaPlaces’ demon.

Image: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov sourced from Wikimedia Commons.



Cortés finds Tenochtitlán on the map

Conceiving of space as in the voyages of discovery, as something to be crossed and maybe conquered, has particular ramifications. Implicitly, it equates space with the land and sea, with the earth which stretches out around us. It makes space seem like a surface; continuous and given. It differentiates: Hernán, active, a maker of history, journeys across this surface and finds Techtitlán upon it. (…) So easily this way of imagining space can lead us to conveive of other places, peoples, cultures simply as phenomena ‘on’ this surface. It is not an innocent manoeuvre, for by this means they are deprived of histories. Immobilized, they await Cortés’ (…) arrival.  They lie there, on space, in place, without their own trajectories.

Doreen Massey, for space

Mexico, Regia et Celebris Hispaniae Novae Civitas … [on sheet with] Cusco, Regni Peru in Novo Orbe Caput – Braun & Hogenberg, 1582.