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Elaborating the notion of performativity

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  • Michel Callon

    () (CSI i3 - Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation i3 - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - PSL Research University - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

There are several ways of describing the main theoretical and epistemological achievements of science and technology studies (STS). We can say, for example, that STS have made it possible to conceive of a third way between realism and relativism : science and techniques “explicitate” reality by constructing it and construct reality by “explicitating” it. This process of explanation maintains both the existence of a reality that resists, that doesn't do just anything, and the idea that this reality, engaged in various trials, can resist in various different ways ; in short, it is multiple, ambiguous and, why not, constructed or instituted, instated. To use Austin's vocabulary, one could also say that scientific statements – to take only them – are performative. Above all, this assertion would shield us from the temptation to contend that they are constative, that they try to describe and analyse a reality on which they will not intervene.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Callon, 2009. "Elaborating the notion of performativity," Post-Print hal-00460877, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00460877
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-mines-paristech.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00460877
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