Magazin 11/2012

Thinking the social from the perspectives of its borders

It is specific to modern societies that only living human beings can be considered social persons in a generally recognized sense. Other societies draw different boundaries and include, for example, gods or animals in the sphere of legitimate persons (Kelsen, 1982; Luckmann, 1980). The modern restriction of the sphere of legitimate persons also carries over, more or less explicitly, to much of sociological research, which regards sociation as the sociation of human beings. Strictly speaking, Latour’s symmetrical anthropology (Latour, 1991/1995) also lends human beings a privileged position of this kind. Although Latour programmatically calls for symmetry between human and non-human actors, even in his work it is the human actors that ultimately take center stage. They constitute, as it were, the social core of the sociation process, while non-human actors are given the status of assistants. The latter function as stabilizers, lending the social order a kind of solidity human actors could not create on their own. Technical artifacts as assistants supporting action also figure in other areas of the sociology of technology. Zum vollständigen Artikel (pdf)


Aus: Gesa Lindemann
Das Soziale von seinen Grenzen her denken

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ISBN 9783938808610