"Different cultures existed, with their many idiosyncrasies, but at least there was only one nature with its necessary laws. Conflicts between humans, no matter how far they went, remained limited to the representations, ideas and images that diverse cultures could have of a single biophysical nature." (LATOUR 2002: 6)
All of the "differences of opinion, disagreements and violent conflicts" are raising from the subjectivity, so the "differences, in other words, never cut very deep; they could never be fundamental." Latour proposes a thesis, that now it is time to permit, that human and non-human agents exist in multiple ontologies. It means not to overcome modernism, but to recognise, that "Modernism has never been anything more than a highly biased interpretation of events with different and sometimes entirely opposite motivations." (Ibid. 19, for more see LATOUR 1991). This project hardly leads to a convenient peace, better to say, it declares war:
"To put things in a more positive and less bellicose way, one might say that we have moved, within the past few years, from a situation of total war led by absolute pacifists, to a situation of open warfare which offers genuine prospects for peace." (LATOUR 2002: 25)
I have been working on a theoretical article for Czech theatre journal Divadelní revue (Czech Theatre Review; the article is to be called "Get Our Hands Dirty: Why Theatre Research Have to Unlearn Cling to Cleanness"), the text is now in a review process. In the conclusion of my argument I have tried to sketch the fundamental properties of multinaturalistic (not only) theatre science. Here are those items on the methodological agenda:
- Symmetry – We want to give objects the ability to object to us, so to return their dignity to them. We approach them not from the position of a certain framework, that we apply to them to prove our assertions, but rather we respect the subjects themselves.
- Multinaturalism (meaning the hybrid nature of phenomena) – there is hardly only one ontology and only one adequate methodology for examining reality. We must always begin with the effort to identify as many actors as possible and to recognise their ontology collected in the subject.We are obliged to find adequate theoretical and methodological bases.
- Collaboration and Contamination – On this basis, teams are formed in which the researchers commit themselves to individual ontologies to approach an adequate description of the object, with a proper understanding of its significant properties, that can lead to the understanding of other objects or processes. The researchers are obliged to dialogue, trying to understand, not not afraid to get their hands dirty from the work of others. "Collaboration is work over differences." (TSING 2015: 29)
- Assemblage – no theory can be consistent, because even the reality is not homogeneous and indisputable. The research results are a certain assemblage of findings that mirrors the collection of ontologies in the studied phenomenon, and they are thus an attempt to build up a "parliament" of the collective present in the phenomenon.
- Transformation – because we admit that facts are not separated from values and that every ontology has its own perspective (and that scientific research itself has a political dimension), the result of such research is hardly just a report on the phenomenon. It also reflecrs ourselves. Through dialogic principles and contamination, scientists are transformed, transformed, both professionally and as people. The result of their research is democratic practice.
Those assertions should be understood as conclusions of the article's argument and they are presented on this blog without proper discussion just as the illustration of my methodological research process. I hope I will be able to write my argument in a form of article in English in near future.
- LATOUR, Bruno. War of the Worlds: What about Peace? Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2002. Available on-line.
- LATOUR, Bruno. Nous n’avons jamais été modernes: Essai d’anthropologie symétrique. Paris: La Découverte, 1991.
- TSING, Anna Lowenhaupt. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins.Princeton – Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2015.