Door-hinges and obligatory passage points

‘I constantly talk with my computer, who answers back; I am sure you swear at your old car; we are constantly granting mysterious faculties to gremlins inside every conceivable home appliance, not to mention cracks in the concrete belt of our nuclear plants. Yet, this behaviour is considered by moralists, I mean sociologists, as a scandalous breach of natural barriers…They call such a projection anthropomorphism, which for them is a sin akin to zoophily but much worse.’

Latour (1988: 303)

Another fantastic quote from Latour, this time on the ‘scandalous’ anthropomorphic tendencies of, well, all of us. It’s from his 1988 article in Social Problems‘Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of a Door-Closer’, which is probably the most entertaining reading of how a door-hinge works in perhaps all of time. It’s available here to download, and was part of a special issue of that journal on the sociology of science and technology.

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