Patrick Carroll’s Good Idea

As many of you know, Jan-Hendrik and I write about seeing the state from an STS perspective. We’ve written a book chapter, published an article, and have a couple more in the publishing process now.

Soon, at the American Sociological Association’s 2011 annual meeting, Jan and I will sit on a panel about Science and the State. Patrick Carroll refereed some of the papers and provided comments, among them was our paper about American eHealth and state theory.

Here is an excerpt from the presentation we’ll give that quotes Patrick’s insightful comments.

We believe that our more general research agenda offers a potentially fruitful route to get beyond the ‘state as actor’ and ‘state as network’ opposition that currently defines these two lines of inquiry. As was suggested by Patrick (Carroll), the solution might go like this:

perhaps the solution partly lies in recognizing that these apparently contradictory realities are not constructed out of identical stuff; indeed perhaps we should be thinking of ontologies of state (in the plural) rather the ontology of the state.

After much reflection on his proposal, we think he may be right and I would encourage anyone interested in Patrick’s idea to ask about it during question and answer so that we might explore it during discussion.

Any ideas about this notion of “actor state” and “network state” models not “sampling” on the same basic, raw stuff?

Or, I guess, the idea that STSers have taken to believing that — per our commitments to materiality — that everything is made up of the same basic stuff?

2 thoughts on “Patrick Carroll’s Good Idea

  1. Pingback: America’s Infrastructure Report Card | Installing (Social) Order

  2. on cleaning…it was more a note on Hendriks comment "On this basis, I would not buy into native concepts of states’ agencies, and I would be somewhat inclined to question its value as an abstraction for social scientists." As a matter of fact I tend to buy into natives concepts – as long as I do not HAVE TO use them myself. And Hendrik: Yep, Scotts??s work is crucial here.


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