Biography[ edit ] Latour is related to a well-known family of winemakers from Burgundy , but is not associated with the similarly named estate in Bordeaux. He was deeply influenced by Michel Serres. Latour went on to earn his Ph. He developed an interest in anthropology , and undertook fieldwork in Ivory Coast which resulted in a brief monograph on decolonization, race, and industrial relations. Taylor , on whom Latour has had an important influence. Latour rose in importance[ citation needed ] following the publication of Laboratory Life: the Social Construction of Scientific Facts with co-author Steve Woolgar.
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Start your review of Aramis, or the Love of Technology Write a review Shelves: I was inordinately hesitant to dive into this book, which had been billed to me as "Bruno Latour at his weirdest. This was partially right, as there were indeed sections of the book in which Aramis was allowed to speak.
However, these sections were balanced by extensive accounts of Latour, his mentor, direct quotes from I was inordinately hesitant to dive into this book, which had been billed to me as "Bruno Latour at his weirdest. However, these sections were balanced by extensive accounts of Latour, his mentor, direct quotes from interview subjects, and long selections from official documents.
The story is told not only from the viewpoint of reports on the failure of the project, but also from the viewpoint of Aramis itself, also mixing in expositions on the nature of technology, and interviews with the main actors in what appears to be a really complicated affair.
The conundrum the author is after: Why did such a promising project, into which millions of francs were invested in 13 years, and Aramis tells the story of the birth and death of a high-tech public transportation project. The conundrum the author is after: Why did such a promising project, into which millions of francs were invested in 13 years, and positive reports of progress were written in regular intervals, suddenly get cancelled without getting deployed anywhere?
The answer lies, according to Latour, in te nature of high-tech innovation. Before they become "objects" that are out there and used by people, technological visions are vaguely overlapping fields of interest through which different groups aim to achieve different things. In the case of Aramis, the RER, RATP, ministry of transport and the realizing company each had different interests, but assumed that the technology created would carry the project forward, giving it a reason to exist and a momentum.
Specifically, they have to be argued for, represented, taken sides with etc. Latour makes this point regarding the love affair between a technological creation and its creator through comparisons with Frankenstein, the prototypical creator vs. Frankenstein and his creation.
Because of this varied mixture, and the frequent change of voices, in the end, the book becomes a mush itself, with the reader losing sight of what she is reading now, and what purpose it serves in understanding innovative technological research.
Interspersed between the earthly engineering discussions and pragmatic business calculations, these monologues were a huge distraction. Regarding big and complicated projects,Latour points out that these are impossible to separate into neat stages that can be completed one after the other, because the outcome is a matter of negotiation itself. Because of this, the project is always in that narrow strait between dead and close to completion.
It is very difficult to gauge whether what has been established is just the basics, or the grunt of the work, leaving only the details. Another interesting point concerns the relationship between common sense and innovation. This is far from the truth when one pays attention to how they are brought to being. Innovations create common sense, building it along the way.
Aramis, or the Love of Technology