CDN$ 28.58
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
On the Modern Cult of the... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods Paperback – Dec 28 2010


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 28.58
CDN$ 19.54 CDN$ 24.89

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • You'll save an extra 5% on Books purchased from Amazon.ca, now through July 29th. No code necessary, discount applied at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)

Frequently Bought Together

  • On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods
  • +
  • Rejoicing: Or the Torments of Religious Speech
Total price: CDN$ 53.53
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product Details

  • Paperback: 157 pages
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr (Tx) (Dec 28 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082234825X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822348252
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 1 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

“Bruno Latour’s is a joyous and generous science, not a warmongering, invidious one. His unique intellectual trajectory beautifully replicates those strange objects he was the first to fully discern. For his work is eminently suitable to an actor-network treatment; it thrives on associations; it deals in mediations; it articulates heterogeneous modes of existence; it modulates its own regime of enunciation as the truth it describes changes its own conditions of production. What started as a ‘social description of scientific practice’ morphed into a radical redescription of the social at least as much as of science itself, and it bloomed as a daring project of a general anthropology of truth, within which facts and fetishes, divine forces and material forms, art and science, religion and law, all are made to inhabit a virtual plane of coexistence, which we are challengingly invited to bring into actuality as our common world.”—Eduardo Viveiros de Cast

“What immense spiritual and intellectual relaxation! With what vivacity and cunning Bruno Latour gets us out of the cage holding us hostage to the mumbo-jumbo of Subjects and Objects all these long years of Western Civ. Out-fetishizing these fetishes, nudging us toward the mastery of non-mastery, he invites us thereby to the sort of thinking needed to remake a failing world.”—Michael Taussig, Columbia University

"What immense spiritual and intellectual relaxation! With what vivacity and cunning Bruno Latour gets us out of the cage holding us hostage to the mumbo-jumbo of Subjects and Objects all these long years of Western Civ. Out-fetishizing these fetishes, nudging us toward the mastery of non-mastery, he invites us thereby to the sort of thinking needed to remake a failing world."--Michael Taussig, Columbia University

"Bruno Latour's is a joyous and generous science, not a warmongering, invidious one. His unique intellectual trajectory beautifully replicates those strange objects he was the first to fully discern. For his work is eminently suitable to an actor-network treatment; it thrives on associations; it deals in mediations; it articulates heterogeneous modes of existence; it modulates its own regime of enunciation as the truth it describes changes its own conditions of production. What started as a 'social description of scientific practice' morphed into a radical redescription of the social at least as much as of science itself, and it bloomed as a daring project of a general anthropology of truth, within which facts and fetishes, divine forces and material forms, art and science, religion and law, all are made to inhabit a virtual plane of coexistence, which we are challengingly invited to bring into actuality as our common world."--Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro)

." . . [B]oth thought provoking and potentially transformative. Latour lulls the reader into accompanying him on a quest to rethink objects as acting independently of our belief in them, and through this same belief. He also exemplifies this wonderful goal, proper to anthropology at its best: to displace common sense understanding and its objects, not deconstruct them." - Julie Kleinman, "Anthropological Quarterly"

"[B]oth thought provoking and potentially transformative. Latour lulls the reader into accompanying him on a quest to rethink objects as acting independently of our belief in them, and through this same belief. He also exemplifies this wonderful goal, proper to anthropology at its best: to displace common sense understanding and its objects, not deconstruct them."--Julie Kleinman, "Anthropological Quarterly"

"Latour came into view in the 1980s as an uncommonly engaging as well as radical practitioner of the new discipline of science studies.... witty, imaginative, literate and unrelentingly ironic. For some, all this spells something manifestly frivolous and naturally suspect. Others, including many not ordinarily drawn to treatises on science and technology, are attracted by Latour's style into engaging with ideas they find illuminating and a mode of analysis they can use."--Barbara Herrnstein Smith" London Review of Books"

"Latour is the best scholar in the field with a huge range and fine grasp of
the literature. . . . Latour can also be a sparkling writer, exploiting his licence as a foreigner to write English with flair and adventure. . . . I admire [Chapter 3] not only because of its brilliance and fresh insights but also because of the courage it must have taken to write it."--Harry Collins, "Metascience"

"Eloquent, amusing and fabulously well-informed, Bruno Latour is one of the superstars of French intellectual life.... His recent book "On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods" shows that Latour remains a great star."--Jonathan Ree, "New Humanist""

From the Back Cover

"Bruno Latour's is a joyous and generous science, not a warmongering, invidious one. His unique intellectual trajectory beautifully replicates those strange objects he was the first fully to discern. A spontaneous reflexivity, an iconic quality of its own. For his work is eminently suitable to an actor-network treatment; it thrives on associations, it deals in mediations; it articulates heterogeneous modes of existence; it modulates its own regime of enunciation as the truth it describes changes its own conditions of production. What started as a 'social description of scientific practice' morphed into a radical redescription of the social at least as much as of science itself, and it broke into bloom as a daring project of a general anthropology of truth, within which facts and fetishes, divine forces and material forms, art and science, religion and law, all are made to inhabit a virtual plane of coexistence which we are challengingly invited to bring into actuality as our common world."--Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Museu Nacional (Rio de Janeiro)

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.ca
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa8616168) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
23 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa80905f4) out of 5 stars Helping us gain our bearings and live faithfully in a world that is increasingly awash in images Sept. 10 2011
By Englewood Review of Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
[ This review originally appeared in
THE ENGLEWOOD REVIEW OF BOOKS - 24 June 2011 ]

As a graduate student in philosophy of science over a decade ago, I was deeply moved by the work of Bruno Latour, and particular his work (co-written with Steve Woolgar) Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts, which is a bold critique that drives at the heart of what science is. Although Latour has, in recent years, grown increasingly skeptical of social criticism, he remains one of the clearest and most sensible social philosophers of our age. Thus, I was intrigued by his newest work, a slim volume of three essays entitled On The Modern Cult of the Factish Gods.

The book opens with the title essay, which is the longest and densest of the offerings here, delving deeply into Latour's work in Actor-Network Theory (ANT). There are some keen insights in this piece, but I want to focus on the book's remaining two essays which I think will be of more relevance to readers of The Englewood Review. Both of the latter essays in the book focus on images and their social role in science, art religion, etc. The first of these essays seeks to provide a robust definition for the term iconoclash, a word of Latour's own creation which refers to situations of image-breaking in which the breaking is such that "there is no way to know, without further inquiry, whether it is destructive or constructive." (68). Latour catalogs five types of approaches to images that span the spectrum from those who are against all images to those who "doubt the idol breakers as much as the icon worshippers" (89). Along this spectrum, Latour argues for the position of those who are against the freeze-framing of images, but not against images. There is an inherent dishonesty in the freeze-framing of images, he argues, in that it denies the reality of motion - motion which might be necessary in order to interpret the meaning of the image. This freeze-framing is particularly problematic, Latour notes, within science which consists of layer upon layer of representations, any single one of which is senseless apart from being part of the larger stream. To depict science in this way, Latour maintains, is to navigate between "naïve worship and naïve contempt." To think of images and image-breaking in this way seems to be an extraordinarily conciliatory approach, and one that would have profound implications in thinking about a variety of realms including not only science, but also art, faith and even politics.

The book's final essay, "Thou shall Not Freeze-Frame (Or How Not to Misunderstand the Science and Religion Debate)," as its title implies builds upon the content of the previous chapter, and is perhaps the most useful in thinking about the nature of images in our faith. Latour presents this piece as a sort of written sermon, beginning with a confession of the weakness of his own faith: religion for him "has become impossible to enunciate" (100). O, that more preachers and theologians would take a similar starting point. Basically, over the course of the essay, Latour turns both science and religion on their heads. Science is that which is held at arms-length, made distant but long strings of images that require transformations from one level to the next. Religion on the other hand is about the immediate, the relational, the loving of our brothers, sisters and neighbors who, in the language of I John 4, we regularly see and know. Latour offers us much to consider here, but his conclusion is profound. Truth is found, not in correspondence, but in submission to "the task of continuing the flow of images," of extending the meaning that underlies the stream of images one step further.

For us who seek to follow in the way of Christ, Latour's reflections here are extraordinary, helping us to gain our bearings and live faithfully in a world that is increasingly awash in images. Many readers might find this book to be a difficult read, but for those who are willing to invest in working through it, it holds a wealth of insight!
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8045150) out of 5 stars Truly, we have never been modern Jan. 11 2012
By Florence of Arabia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a revelation, a joy to read and on every page rich examples of Latour's witty and highly readable style, together with his unique "take" on the Modern Condition.
74 of 150 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa80459f0) out of 5 stars Worth less March 8 2011
By a reader in front of the front range - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Less than what the hype claims for him as a thinker or critic. Certainly less than what we should expect from anyone calling himself a social scientist or theorist. What Latour relies upon are a few easy tricks: grand gestures of provocation to the Western Enlightenment, rationality and scientific establishment; rhetorical, at times oracular, flourishes; strained neologisms.

Take a look at what he offers to try to place science on the level of other beliefs and to characterize it as a "modern cult." There's no careful discussion of the long history of scientific method or specific principles of empirically based discoveries, all of which are, of course, extensively written about in the works of scientists and philosophers of science. You must accept his characterizations of science in terms of "divinities," "fears," "transfears," "factishes." You should be impressed with his diagrams, which remind me of Lacan's old tricks of creative geometry. He doesn't stoop to basing his claims on evidence that is objective and tested. There's nothing here that compares to the kind of critique Thomas Kuhn advanced. By Latour's methods, we must be persuaded by faith in him and the persuasiveness of his rhetoric.

The rhetoric can be shockingly simplistic. There's the repeated use of "Whites" v. "Blacks". Rather than rely on empirical studies, he'll tell us "we have known this since Foucault" (p. 37) or "we have known since Deleuze's Anti-Oedipus" (p. 53). This is the logic of following prophets, of "trust me, we know."

Even more shocking are Latour's own reflections: "By reformulating the metamorphosis of these invisible entities in my own inadequate language, I neither claim to have understood ethnopsychiatry, nor to have theorized it. Naturally, I was only interested in myself, or rather in those unfortunate Whites who are always being deprived of their anthropology by being locked into the modern destiny of anti-fetishism." (pgs. 53-4) This is what passes for a scholar these days?

Yes, scientific practice and institutions can err, go off track, be too readily accepted by the public. Yes, we should continually keep an eye on them, doubt them, challenge them. We should be wary of Platonic or carelessly instrumental use of language such as genes, particles, etc. In other words, we should use good scientific methods in our critiques.


Feedback