The concepts presented by Bruno Latour are compelling and also verge on insulting to the main theme of this course and many speakers we have heard from thus far. Latour is widely known and celebrated for his work We Have Never Been Modern. In this book, Latour investigates modernity, and the notion that most cutting edge modern movements seem to create a distinct divide between nature and culture. Based on the fact that many important issues today such as global warming, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, contemporary biotechnologies, and many others actually amalgamate many different facets of both nature and culture such as politics, science, and popular and specialist discourse. He uses this to argue that the divide between nature and culture is no longer possible. He even goes on to argue that this divide may have never fully been possible. He argues that the majority of great scientific, political and other discoveries that we have spent this entire course discussing as revolutions were not in fact that revolutionary after all. However, I personally feel that Latour’s argument refutes the name of Keith Peterson’s talk “WE HAVE NEVER BEEN REVOLUTIONARY.”
Latour Largely argues that all of the topics that we consider to be our modern revolutions are not just for those that specialize in those particular fields. He argues that they combine politics and science and modern technology, as specialists issues often overlap with public issues. Take the example of HIV/AIDS or Global Warming or Alzheimer’s or Biotechnology. These are fields that affect the public across the world. They are not explicitly confined to the minds of specialists. Such issues are, and have always been, ones that affect human kind regardless of whether or not someone specializes in research on those areas . However, with the interconnectedness of technology and society today, discourse surrounding in such fields permeating through the public regardless of their class, education, occupation, race, or geographic location is unavoidable. This is the basis of Latour’s argument that we have never been modern, or rather that we have never been revolutionary. Contrarily, I believe that this argument truly supports the notion that we are all in fact revolutionary.
To echo Latour, whatever walls stood to divide nature and society in the past have now been torn down. In current times any part of the public has the opportunity to be a part of the fight and study against global warming, any part of the public has the opportunity to raise awareness for cancer or to educate themselves about cancer and modern cancer research through a variety of media outlets such as news, documentaries, scholarly journals, articles, and books. When you look at Latour’s argument from this angle, you could argue that the divide between nature and society being eliminated has not delegitimized revolutions altogether, but rather it has simply made revolutions more inclusive. The involvement of the public in specialist areas has actually served to allow this entire course on revolutions to take place. We are not necessarily specialists, but in this course we have been able to learn more about and in our own way become a part of a variety of different revolutions both past and present. Rather than interpreting Latour’s argument to mean that we have never been revolutionary, I construe it to mean that we have all become revolutionary.