“Demanding Objects: Caring for Things in Process of Making”

Tema de Antoine Hennion (Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation) para a Mesa 5 – Tecnologias Marginais, Objetos Familiares, Ecologias Sonoras. 6 de agosto, das 13h às 15h30

A pragmatic turn in social sciences led researchers to pay due attention to objects, and to better acknowledge their agency as an ability to «faire faire »: to get people do something, or, to say it more radically, to function as “make do”. Starting with a comparison between the love for music and home care, my contribution will consider other cases, like objects of taste, art, and activities as writing, sports or cooking, in order to address the status given to objects of attention in a pragmatist approach. Is their a way to escape a still human-oriented analysis, which only take objects into account following what “we” want from them? Is it possible to see things in process of making in a more symmetrical way, decentered from the sociologist eye which always tend to see them as “nothing buts” (no thing but the products of a human collective action)? In the path drawn in 1956 by Étienne Souriau’s concept of l’« œuvre à faire », already discussed by I. Stengers and B. Latour, most experiences can be re-described differently. Souriau’s idea is not just that works are “open”, or need an audience or users to be performed, but that they are calling for care. This mysterious capacity of objects to be demanding, to call for more existence, to present a kind of empty request to which one may or may not respond, finally leads not only to a more symmetrical view of our common world, including heterogeneous realities: it also s
hows it as a network of interdependences, in which the existence of every element can be enhanced or diminished depending on the care they receive.

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