Bloor (1999)

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Bloor, David. (1999) Anti-Latour. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 30 (1), 131-136.

Title Anti-Latour
Resource Type journal article
Author(s) David Bloor
Year 1999
Journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Volume 30
Number 1
Pages 131-136


Bruno Latour is a vehement critic of the sociology of knowledge in general, and the Strong Program in particular. For those who are familiar with his books Science in Action (Latour, 1987), The Pasteurization of France (Latour, 1988) and We Have Never Been Modern (Latour, 1993) the pivotal role played by these criticisms in Latour's writing will be evident. To those who only know his work by repute, or who have only read the first edition of Latour and Woolgar's Laboratory Life (Latour and Woolgar, 1979), presenting him as a critic of the sociology of knowledge may seem surprising. Latour's work and the Strong Program in the sociology of knowledge are frequently classed together under the label of ‘social constructivism', and this creates the impression that the two enterprises must be fundamentally similar. This is reinforced by the fact that Latour wants to go further than sociologists of knowledge, whose work is said to represent something of a half-way house. He thinks sociologists are insufficiently radical in their critique of science (Latour, 1992, p. 273). Nevertheless, in reality, the two approaches are deeply opposed. In Latour's eyes the sociology of knowledge has been a failure, and it will continue to fail unless it adopts an entirely new approach which will qualitatively change its character