Download After method : mess in social science research by John Law PDF

By John Law

John legislations argues that tools do not simply describe social realities yet also are eager about growing them. the results of this argument are hugely major. if that is so, tools are continually political, and it increases the query of what different types of social realities we wish to create.

Most present tools search for readability and precision. it's always stated that merely bad study produces messy findings, and the concept issues on the earth will be fluid, elusive, or a number of is unthinkable. Law's startling argument is this is inaccurate and it's time for a brand new technique. Many realities, he says, are obscure and ephemeral. If equipment need to know and aid to form the realm, then they should reinvent themselves and their politics to house mess. that's the problem. not anything much less will do.

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This would allow us to acknowledge and reflect not only on what happens in laboratories or in the offices of social scientists, but also in the missing seven-eighths of the iceberg of method. In order to do this I propose a (partial) neologism. When I want to refer to method in this extended manner I will usually speak of method assemblage. I will return to and redefine this term several times in what follows, and especially in Chapters 3 and 5. 36 Helen Verran and David Turnbull say that for these authors an assemblage: is like an episteme with technologies added but that connotes the ad hoc contingency of a collage in its capacity to embrace a wide variety of incompatible components.

But what is the nature of that hinterland? We already have a partial answer for science. A part of the hinterland of a statement is other related statements. Is it consistent with these? Do they tend to support it? If the answer is ‘yes’ then they tend to add to its authority. But we have also seen that this is only a part of the story. Scientific statements also draw more or less directly from a network or a hinterland of appropriate inscription devices. Do the practices in which these are embedded produce figures that can be compared and tend to reinforce one another?

In this respect their inquiry is symmetrical – but so too are the terms of their analysis. 35 The second reason relates to the hinterland of method. I have argued that method and its out-therenesses are made out of, and help to make, an appropriate hinterland. I have also suggested (and this is the important point) that the hinterland ramifies out for ever. This means that method extends far beyond the limits that we usually imagine for it. Going beyond laboratory benches, reagents and experimental animals, or questionnaires, interview design protocols, and statistical or qualitative data-analysis packages it extends Scientific practices 41 into tacit knowledge, computer software, language skills, management capacities, transport and communication systems, salary scales, flows of finance, the priorities of funding bodies, and overtly political and economic agendas.

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