Sunday Apr 24, 2022

In Conversation with Andrew Pickering

Christopher Hobson speaks with Andrew Pickering, a leading historian of science, known for his sociological studies of scientific practices and knowledge production in books such as Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics, The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency and Science, and The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future.

In his work, Pickering considers different ways of acting with the world, what he calls ‘dances of agency’ between human and non-human agents. Developing a distinction made by Martin Heidegger in ‘The Question Concerning Technology’, Pickering contrasts a logic of ‘enframing’, which is based on control and domination, with a logic of ‘poeisis’, which suggests more open, adaptive and experimental practices. He considers examples such as natural farming and alternate methods for managing soil erosion in Japan, traditions of indigenous fire management in Australia, and adaptive management of dams in Colorado. What these alternate approaches suggest are considered in this conversation, which explores big themes related to agency in the context of unknowability, alternate ways of living and being in the world, and the insights present in non-modern and non-Western traditions.

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This episode has been produced with support from a grant by the Toshiba International Foundation.

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