Journal article

Ontological Politics. A Word and Some Questions

The Sociological Review, vol. 47, issue 1_suppl (1999) pp. 74-89

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This is a chapter that asks questions about where we are with politics now that actor network theory and its semiotic relatives have reshaped ontology. They have reshaped it by underlining that the reality we live with is one performed in a variety of practices. The radical consequence of this is that reality itself is multiple. An implication of this might be that there are options between the various versions of an object: which one to perform? But if this were the case then we would need to ask where such options might be situated and what was at stake when a decision between alternative performances was made. We would also need to ask to what extent are there options between different versions of reality if these are not exclusive, but, if they clash in some places, depend on each other elsewhere. The notion of choice also presupposes an actor who actively chooses, while potential actors may be inextricably linked up with how they are enacted. These various questions are not answered, but illustrated with the example of anaemia, a common deviance that comes in (at least) clinical, statistical and pathophysiological forms.

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  • Annemarie Mol

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