Complexities: Social Studies of Knowledge Practices

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2002-06-01
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr
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While much recent social science and humanities work has been a revolt against simplification, this volume explores the contrast between simplicity and complexity to reveal that this dichotomy, itself, is too simplistic. John Law and Annemarie Mol have gathered a distinguished panel of contributors to offer - particularly within the field of science studies - approaches to a theory ofcomplexity, and at the same time a theoretical introduction to the topic. Indeed, they examine not only ways of relating to complexity but complexity in practice.Individual essays examine complexity from a variety of perspectives and cover an array of case studies and topics that include market behaviour, medical interventions, aeronautical design, the governing of supranational states, ecology, road-building, meteorology, the science of complexity itself, and the psychology of childhood trauma. Other topics include complex wholes (holism) in the sciences, moral complexity in seemingly amoral endeavours, and issues relating to the protection of African elephants. With a focus on such concepts as multiplicity, partial connections, ebbs, and flows, the collection includes narratives from Kenya, Belgium, Great Britain, Papua New Guinea, the Netherlands, and France, written by anthropologists, economists, philosophers,psychologists, sociologists, and scholars of science, technology, and society.

Table of Contents

Complexities: An Introduction 1(22)
Annemarie Mol
John Law
Romantic and Baroque Conceptions of Complex Wholes in the Sciences
Chunglin Kwa
Which Road to Follow? The Moral Complexity of an ``Equipped'' Humanity
Laurent Thevenot
On Space and Depth
Marilyn Strathern
On Hidden Heterogeneities: Complexity, Formalism, and Aircraft Design
John Law
In the Middle of the Network
Andrew Barry
When Elephants Stand for Competing Philosophies of Nature: Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Charis Thompson
Writing and (Re)writing Devices as Tools for Managing Complexity
Michel Callon
Cutting Surgeons, Walking Patients: Some Complexities Involved in Comparing
Annemarie Mol
The Disposal of Fear: Childhood, Trauma, and Complexity
Nick Lee
Steven D. Brown
Contributors 281(2)
Index 283

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