Contemporary articles citing Latour B (1987) Sci Action

knowledge, studies, should, critique, important, economics, science, society, relations, ideas

Breslau, D. 2000. "Sociology After Humanism: a Lesson From Contemporary Science Studies." Sociological Theory. 18:2 289-307. Link
The field of science studies is the site of an explicit reflection on the ontological premises of sociology, with rival approaches defined by distinctive ways of specifying the basic constituents of reality. This article takes advantage of this debate to compare three types of ontological schemes in terms of their internal coherence and their consequences for sociology. Sociological in terms of their internal coherence and their consequences for sociology. Sociological humanism-represented by proponents of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK)-distinguishes between an immanent domain of social relations, a transcendent and meaningless material reality, and an intermediate, socially constructed level of knowledge, meaning and culture. Symmetrical humanism-as found in the recent writings of Andrew Pickering-insists that society too should be placed among the constructions, thereby disqualifying it as a source of explanations of human agency and leaving a detached and self-moving human agent. The relational ontology-exemplified by the ``actor-network'' approach of Bruno Latour adn others-make no a priori distinctions between humans and others, or between trandscendent reality and construction, treating these properties as outcomes. The two humanist approaches are found to be incoherent as ontological schemes and also, contrary to the antisociological stance of the actor-network approach, it is found that the relational ontology provides a consistent basis for sociological explanations of human practices.

Meyer, JW & RL Jepperson. 2000. "The ``actors'' of Modern Society: the Cultural Construction of Social Agency." Sociological Theory. 18:1 100-120. Link
Much social theory takes for gr anted the core conceit of modern culture, chat modern actors-individuals, organizations, nation states-are authochthonous and natural entities, no longer really embedded ill culture. Accordingly while there is much abstract metatheory about ``actors `` and their ``agency, `` there is arguably little theory about the topic. This article offers direct arguments about how the modern (European, now global) cultural system constructs the modern actor as an authorized agent for various interests via an ongoing relocation into society of agency originally located in transcendental authority or in natural forces environing the social system. We see this authorized agentic capability as an essential feature of what modern theory and culture call an ``actor,'' and one that, when analyzed, helps greatly in explaining a number of otherwise anomalous ol little analyzed features of modern individuals, organizations, and slates. These features include their isomorphism and standardization, their internal decoupling, their extraordinarily complex structuration, and their capacity for prolific collective action.

Camic, C. 1996. "Alexander's Antisociology." Sociological Theory. 14:2 172-186. Link
Jeffrey Alexander and Giuseppe Sciortino take my 1992 ASR article as an occasion to mount a critique of tendencies that they discern throughout my recent writings on the early intellectual career of Talcott Parsons. I should like to reciprocate the compliment by using this commentary not only to address specific objections that they raise, but to step back from these criticisms to examine their connection to Alexander's work more generally. My claim is that as a tool for analyzing the development of ideas-the development, that is, of various intellectual products or kinds of social-scientific knowledge-Alexander's work is fundamentally antisociological. Since my own goal has been to work out a sociology of ideas, we necessarily clash-albeit in more serious and consequential ways than Alexander and Sciortino identify.

Pels, D. 1996. "Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: Toward a New Agenda." Sociological Theory. 14:1 30-48. Link
In previous decades, a regrettable divorce has arisen between two currents of theorizing and research about knowledge and science: the Mannheimian and Wittgensteinian traditions. The radical impulse of the new social studies of science in the early 1970s was initiated not by followers of Mannheim, but by Wittgensteinians such as Kuhn, Bloor, and Collins. This paper inquires whether this Wittgensteinian program is not presently running into difficulties that might be resolved to some extent by reverting to a more traditional and broader agenda of research. A social theory of knowledge (or social epistemology) along Mannheimian lines would not only reinstate the ``magic triangle'' of epistemology, sociology, and ethics, and hence revive the vexed problem of ``ideology critique,'' but would also need to reincorporate the social analysis of science into a broader macrosocial theory about the ``knowledge society.''

GOLDMAN, H. 1994. "From Social-theory to Sociology of Knowledge and Back - Karl Mannheim and the Sociology of Intellectual Knowledge Production." Sociological Theory. 12:3 266-278. Link
This paper proposes a reconsideration of Karl Mannheim and his work from the viewpoint of the needs of sociological theory. It points out certain affinities between Mannheim and some contemporary theorists, such as Gramsci and Foucault, and then reflects on certain problems in Mannheim's work, particularly the response to `'relativism'' and the hope of creating new `'syntheses'' through the sociology of knowledge. Finally, it proposes ways to draw on the sociology of intellectuals, inspired by Mannheim, in order to advance the understanding of social theory.

MUKERJI, C. 1994. "The Political Mobilization of Nature in 17th-century French Formal Gardens." Theory and Society. 23:5 651-677. Link

Pels, D. 1997. "Mixing Metaphors: Politics or Economics of Knowledge?." Theory and Society. 26:5 685-717. Link

Breslau, D. 1997. "The Political Power of Research Methods: Knowledge Regimes in Us Labor-market Policy." Theory and Society. 26:6 869-902. Link

Eyal, G. 2000. "Anti-politics and the Spirit of Capitalism: Dissidents, Monetarists, and the Czech Transition to Capitalism." Theory and Society. 29:1 49-92. Link

Eyal, G. 2002. "Dangerous Liaisons Between Military Intelligence and Middle Eastern Studies in Israel." Theory and Society. 31:5 653-693. Link

Breslau, D. 2003. "Economics Invents the Economy: Mathematics, Statistics, and Models in the Work of Irving Fisher and Wesley Mitchell." Theory and Society. 32:3 379-411. Link
The ``embeddedness'' of economic life in social relations has become a productive analytical principle and the basis of a penetrating critique of economic orthodoxy. But this critique raises another important, social and historical question, of how the economy became ``disembedded'' in the first place - how the multitude of transactions designated (somewhat arbitrarily) as economic were abstracted from the rest of social life and reconstituted as an object, the economy, which behaves according to its own logic. This article investigates the social sources of some innovations in economic thought that contributed to the emergence of the economy, particularly statistical indicators and mechanical models. By examining the redefinitions of the object of economic research developed by Irving Fisher and Wesley Mitchell in the 1890s and the first decades of the twentieth century, I argue that the abstraction of the economy from the remainder of social life was a strategy linked to the position of these innovators within the field of economics, conceived as a social structure. Possessing a specialized scientific cultural capital, but lacking upper class background, contacts, and dispositions that characterized the founders of academic economics, Fisher and Mitchell elaborated new definitions of their discipline's object of study, and a new type of economic expertise.

Yakubovich, V, M Granovetter & P McGuire. 2005. "Electric Charges: the Social Construction of Rate Systems." Theory and Society. 34:5-6 579-612. Link
Price is a central analytic concept in both neoclassical and old institutional economics. Combining the social network perspective with old and new institutionalist approaches to price formation, this article examines technological, economic, institutional, and political factors that shaped the earliest pricing systems for electricity used in the United States, between 1882 and 1910. We show that certain characteristics of electricity supply led to ambiguities in how the product should be priced, which created a politics of pricing among electricity producers. In particular, we investigate why the ``Wright system,'' arguably inferior in productive efficiency to other alternatives, was widely adopted by 1900. We argue that this outcome resulted in part from the political and organizational clout of its supporters, as well as from their particular conceptions of the boundaries and future of the industry itself. The Wright system best suited the ``growth dynamic'' strategy promoted by the managers of large central stations in their fierce competition with smaller and more decentralized installations. Thus, even in this apparently highly technical and mainly economic issue of how to price the product, there was ample room for social construction and political manipulation. The outcome reached was by no means inevitable and had a highly significant impact on the shape of the American industrial infrastructure.

Vaughan, Diane. 2008. "Bourdieu and Organizations: the Empirical Challenge." Theory and Society. 37:1 65-81. Link
Emirbayer and Johnson critique the failure to engage fully Bourdieu's relational analysis in empirical work, but are weak in giving direction for rectifying the problem. Following their recommendation for studying organizations-in-fields and organizations-as-fields, I argue for the benefits of analogical comparison using case studies of organizations as the units of analysis. Doing so maximizes the number of Bourdieusian concepts that can be deployed in an explanation. Further, it maximizes discovery of the oft-neglected links among history, competition, resources, sites of contestation and struggle, relations of dominance and domination, and reproduction of inequality. Perhaps most important, case studies can identify the connection between macro-, meso-, and micro-level factors in the formation and shaping of habitus. To support my claims empirically, I draw from case study research (Vaughan The challenger launch decision: Risky technology, culture, and deviance at NASA, 1996; Signals and interpretive work: The role of culture in a theory of practical action. pp. 28-56, 2002) that verifies Bourdieu's as the ``Theory of Practical Action'' that supplies the micro-level component to the new institutionalism (DiMaggio and Powell, Introduction. pp. 1-41, 1991).

Pinch, Trevor. 2008. "Technology and Institutions: Living in a Material World." Theory and Society. 37:5 461-483. Link
This article addresses the relationship between technology and institutions and asks whether technology itself is an institution. The argument is that social theorists need to attend better to materiality: the world of things and objects of which technical things form an important class. It criticizes the new institutionalism in sociology for its failure to sufficiently open up the black box of technology. Recent work in science and technology studies (S\&TS) and in particular the sociology of technology is reviewed as another route into dealing with technology and materiality. The recent ideas in sociology of technology are exemplified with the author's study of the development of the electronic music synthesizer.

Bortolini, Matteo. 2012. "The Trap of Intellectual Success: Robert N. Bellah, the American Civil Religion Debate, and the Sociology of Knowledge." Theory and Society. 41:2 187-210. Link
Current sociology of knowledge tends to take for granted Robert K. Merton's theory of cumulative advantage: successful ideas bring recognition to their authors, successful authors have their ideas recognized more easily than unknown ones. This article argues that this theory should be revised via the introduction of the differential between the status of an idea and that of its creator: when an idea is more important than its creator, the latter becomes identified with the former, and this will hinder recognition of the intellectual's new ideas as they differ from old ones in their content or style. Robert N. Bellah's performance during the ``civil religion debate'' of the 1970s is reconstructed as an example of how this mechanism may work. Implications for further research are considered in the concluding section.