Antoine Hennion Former Senior Fellow

Antoine Hennion
April - September 2013

IKKM Research Project

How can sociology be pragmatist?

If taken seriously, the claim for making sociology more pragmatist implies quite a radical redefinition of the sociologist’s work, indistinctively at a theoretical and a methodological level: what is the status of his/her concepts, and how to use them, once they are no longer considered as tools of generalization? how to use words made for cutting things referred to from their situations, when this is the exact reverse of a pragmatist program? how to make inquiries evaluated by their capacity to have effects on the situations and people they analyze, when all the traditional requests for being scientific demand independency, neutrality, or critical distance? What role is then left to the sociologist? Those difficulties can be turned into resources, if one acknowedges the competencies of actors and the agency of things. The sociologists’s inquiry can be conceived as a way of collecting, translating and connecting issues already elaborated by concerned people. Antoine Hennion works on diverse fields in which such a pragmatist approach can be experimented and experienced: taste, music, aging and disability, sports, alcoholism and drugs... To do that, he uses and puts to trial notions like “attachments” (what holds things and people) and “agencements” (what makes them act). During his stay at the IKKM, he will more specifically deal, on one side, with care (especially home care) and the issues raised by the claim for a situated ethics; and, on another side, on “performative fiction” (in the sense Bruno Latour has made it one of the 15 “modes of existence” he proposes, under the nickname FIC), in the case of music and art, but also other activities, taken from his own work or from researches by colleagues and doctorates, like technology, science policy, home care, aso.

Dated from 2013