Science? On the annals of the laboratory state by SHIV VISVANATHAN

I have been having a few discussions with Kate Rigby and others about the arts and humanities’ relationship to Science (note the capital S). I have mentioned this paper a number of times in these discussions and elsewhere. I think it’s important people  at least glance at this paper. I was alerted  to it by   Etienne Turpin when he spoke at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference in, errr, 2015?

The paper On the annals of the laboratory state by  SHIV VISVANATHAN is here online 

I put it here too,  copied into Word on-the-annals-of-the-laboratory-state

Here are two of many quotable quotes

“In fact, through a strange twist, the modern state exists more and more as a big machine guaranteeing the production and reproduction of science. In fact it is the grammar of science that provides for the everyday fascism of modernity-as-technocracy.”

“We are forced to confront the fact that green-revolution reductionism is no substitute for ecologically-sensitive traditional practices. This insurrection of the local knowledges which demands a return to the sacred is providing the crystal seed around which the challenge to the laboratory states of modernity has begun.”

I am not simply endorsing this as a ‘attack’ on modern Western Science – there is a lot more to be considered. But I think it is a very sobering article coming from a non-Western scholar – and a useful  way-maker in this question of the relationship between art and humanities and the Sciences.

Note added  12/01/2017

My dear friend and colleague  Professor Kate Rigby has urged me to think somewhat differently about how science is being discussed here. She feels a more creative, inclusive, positive  approach is needed, that identifies points of allegiance with science and scientists.  I am willing to think on this matter.


About Owain Jones

I work at Bath Spa University as a Professor of Environmental Humanities, and I am Director of the University's Environmental Humanities Research Centre
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2 Responses to Science? On the annals of the laboratory state by SHIV VISVANATHAN

  1. Thanks, Owain! Here’s another article (from ‘down under’) on the relationship between Indigenous ecological knowledge/values and Western science/environmental management, which suggests a creative way forward: Cameron Muir, Deborah Bird Rose, Phillip Sullivan, “From the other side of the knowledge frontier: Indigenous knowledge, social–ecological relationships and new perspectives”, The Rangeland Journal 32(3) (2010) 259-265


    • Owain Jones says:

      Thanks Kate. It is a really good article. It does say in the abstract… “Indigenous knowledge and Western science belong to different world views” I guess what i am seaching for is a way of saying that that Western science world view – which reamins dominant and entangled with related constructions of politics and economy – needs more radically challenging than it is being at the moment? The env humanities can play a part in that?


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