Powers, in the Singular


“To pose the problem of ‘scientific concepts’ is, immediately, to pose the problem of their power.”

—Isabelle Stengers and Judith Schlanger

For many Anglophone readers, the interest of Isabelle Stengers’s now extensive writings will have been shaped—in part, at least—by a critical tradition of thinking that finds in the sociological and cultural study of science a welcome set of intellectual tools for denouncing the pretentions to a foundedness in scientific truth of socio-political domination. Informed by arguments about the instrumental qualities of scientific rationality, the social and cultural construction of knowledge, and the links between intellectual practices and domination, this is a tradition of thinking which in many respects finds its raison d’être in its capacity to call into question, and in its flair for suspicion. Pointing, often quite rightly, to the unreflected social and cultural determinations of rationality, what matters about science in this tradition is that it is, or has become, “technoscience,” constituted through its relationship with and deployed in the service of inequality, injustice, and illusion.

Read Article On Muse