Tag Archives: agency

Political ecology as a fertile site for social theorizing

During the 1990s political ecology became an active field of inquiry into environmental degradation and, sometimes, environmental restoration. Political ecology also had the potential to contribute to the process of social theorizing, which stemmed from the implications of what this paper calls “intersecting processes.” This term signifies that political ecological analyses attempt to make sense of dynamics produced by intersecting economic, social and ecological processes operating at different scales.

Talk, 21 minutes Continue reading

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Lowest common denominator agency in Latour and actor-network theory: What’s (not) in the mind of scientific agents? II

Significantly, the equivalency of actants has not been put on an empirical footing—we know nothing about scallops’ cognition and little about their behavior two decades after L&C’s 1980s work.  Nevertheless, the actant terminology has become very popular in STS.  The plausibility of the actant-anthropomorphism must be drawing from another source.

So ended the previous post.  My broad-brush interpretation of actant-anthropomorphism’s plausibility begins from the assumptions about human goals and cognition (item a) underwriting this approach.  These assumptions are similar to those of behaviorist psychology, which has always attempted to minimize the role of internal mental representations in explaining an organism’s behavior.  Provided only that the organism is internally motivated to satisfy its appetite, provision of food in experimental situations can reinforce the desired behavioral responses.  (Equivalently, when electric shocks are used for negative reinforcement, the organism only has to be a pain avoider.)  Similarly, L&C’s image of scientists, building networks in response to the stimulus of others building competing networks, reduces the psychology of cognitive agents to a bare minimum.  All that L&C need to assume is that scientists seek to accumulate resources, resulting, if successful, in “centers of calculation,” “obligatory passage points” (Callon 1985) and their becoming “macro-actors” (Callon and Latour 1981).  Governed only by this egocentric metric of resource accumulation, these agents do not have any practical imagination about constraints and facilitations influencing their possible action, let alone about the possible structuredness of those constraints and facilitations.

L&C’s scientists are, admittedly, more scheming than the pigeons or rats described by behaviorists.  Nevertheless, on the explanatory (not descriptive) level, the psychology of these scientists is minimal.  It is as if a coach of an American football team commanded the players to move the ball up the field against the resistance of the opposing team and asked them to refer only to that objective.  No anticipation of the coordinated responses of other players, either on their own team or the opposing one, could be used by the team’s players to decide on their moves.  Such a team would, against most opponents, fail to score.

Behaviorism is a dirty word; few social scientists or humanists admit to this disposition.  Latour’s counter to this accusation is that we should assume a minimal psychology to allow the agents to show us how they think about the world, what they see as resources, and whom they see as allies (pers. comm. April 1993).  Minimal psychology is a methodological assumption, not Latour’s belief about actual agents.  This distinction and rationalization, however, obscure what I see at stake about how L&C’s approach invites STS researchers to think about agents.

Consider this question:  What guidance does L&C’s psychologically minimalist method give us about the forms that agents’ action can take?  As a negative answer, the “no mental representations” dictum ensures two things:

a) agents are not internally bound—inborn dispositions, cognitive constraints, individual creativity, etc. cannot determine action and belief; and, more importantly,

b) agents are not Socially determined—with nothing in the mind of scientists, there is no place for interests, determined by the agents’ class (or other) position in the Social Structure, or for other external influences to reside.  (Social and Structure are capitalized to denote a gross and relatively static view, something given while the science in question develops, e.g., “In Capitalist Societies…”)

Given this absence of both internal and external constraint, it might seem then that anything goes; that every action is spontaneous and contingent.  Latour (1994), however, pulls us back from such an extreme position.  Technical mediations—”interruptions,” “translation,” “black boxing,” “delegation”—commonly modify an agent’s course of action.  Not anything can be done in science, technology, and society.  (In fact, humans are not humans without technical mediations; Latour 1994, 64.)  Notice, however, that the resistances are technical; there is no mention of sociological mediations, involving, say, ideology, socialization, or dominant metaphors.

Now what was at stake in the origins of L&C’s actant program is clearer:  From every angle possible the idea of agents’ actions being Socially determined had to be opposed (or made more difficult to conceive).  Technical mediations are stressed precisely because they are not social mediations, and the minimal psychology of L&C’s agents helps them resist Social determination.  The key issue here is not whether L&C are behaviorist insurgents in the STS ranks, but that we can view them as social theorists supporting a particular argument about relations between agents and society.  They are telling us how agents’ sociality influences their actions, and how society, in turn, is influenced by those actions.  Let me tease out that interpretation.

L&C’s method called for us to describe the heterogeneous networks of resources and allies that scientists in action mobilize as they resist other scientists in action (Latour 1987; Taylor 2005, 93ff).  The psychology of these agonistic resource-accumulators is minimal; their actions cannot be determined by Social Structures.  The sociality of these agents, however, is not minimal; in L&C’s descriptions agents are embroiled in contingent and ongoing mobilizing of networks of resources and allies.  This descriptive focus tends to keep causality distributed across networks, not concentrated inside socially autonomous agents.  (“Tends” because L&C’s individuals remain at the center of the networks.  If the networks become strong, L&C wants us to see the responsible agents as macro-actors, who were once micro-actors and are always vulnerable to becoming so again; Callon and Latour 1981.)

As a program of social theory, L&C’s method cannot be sustained consistently.  The resilience of at least some, if not most, of the strong networks will ensure their persistence for some period of time.  Persistent networks can be viewed as social structure (of a small “s” kind).  More subtly, any regularities in the opportunities and constraints that agents experience as part of their sociality invite interpretation as social structuredness.  Pursuing this interpretation, we could ask how agents’ actions generate, maintain, and undermine that structuredness.  Indeed, the agents themselves might consciously identify at least some of these regularities or structuredness.  The issue of social determination of the production of knowledge that L&C had hoped to banish is thus resurrected, albeit in a distributed rather than direct form.

To some readers, distributed social determination of the production of knowledge will sound like recent actor network theory (as articulated, e.g., by Latour 2005).  My critical interpretation of L&C’s program may nevertheless stimulate some readers to take a fresh look at their own ascriptions of agency to non-humans.  If so (or even if not), the critique invites readers to ask of any given account of knowledge production what it implies about the psychology of the human agents, the structuredness (if any) of the scientific, social and/or ecological dynamics, and the actions conceived or favored by the knowledge-producer (Figure 1).  In a nutshell, I advocate asking what we are supposed to be able to do with any knowledge claims.

References

Callon, Michel, and Bruno Latour. 1981. Unscrewing the big Leviathan:  How actors macro-structure reality and how sociologists help them to do so. In Advances in Social Theory and Methodology: Toward an Integration of Micro- and Macro-sociologies, edited by K. Knorr-Cetina and A. V. Cicourel, 277-303. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Latour, Bruno. 1994. On technical mediation — Philosophy, Sociology, Genealogy. Common Knowledge 3 (2):29-64.

Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Taylor, Peter J. 2005. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lowest common denominator agency in Latour and actor-network theory: What’s (not) in the mind of scientific agents?

Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies is a new anthology published by the University of Chicago Press.  My contribution, “Agency, structuredness, and the production of knowledge within intersecting processes,” includes the following critique of actor-network theory:

The playfulness of accounts of actants [a term used in actor network theory to describe human, other living beings, and non-living things alike] might seem to animate the discussion of the non-human contributions.  [However] such accounts can reduce everything to a lowest common denominator and dull the analysis of human purposes, motivations, imagination, and action.  The interpretation [to follow] also introduces a theme that informs the other two sections [of my contribution]: the psychology of agents is an arena in which researchers are implicitly arguing about the production of knowledge in relation to social causality as well as to social actions that are conceivable or favored.  Expressed in another way: STS [Science and Technology Studies] researchers are arguing about knowledge production in relation to the structuredness of society as well as to the actions of human agents in the production and reproduction of structuredness (Figure 1).

* * * * *

On Christmas Eve of 1976 in the Bay of St. Brieuc in Brittany, deep down in the water thousands of scallops were brutally dredged by fishermen who could not resist the temptation of sacking the reserve oceanographers had put aside.  French gastronomes are fond of scallops, especially at Christmas.  Fishermen like scallops too, especially coralled ones, that allow them to earn a living similar to that of a university professor (six months’ work and good pay).  Starfish like scallops with equal greed, which is not to the liking of the others…

These were the words of Bruno Latour, in Science in Action (Latour 1987, 202).  He continued:

Three little scientists sent to the St. Brieuc Bay to create some knowledge about scallops love scallops, do not like starfish and have mixed feelings about fishermen.  Threatened by their institution, their oceanographer colleagues who think they are silly and the fishermen who see them as a threat, the three little scientists are slowly pushed out of the Bay and sent back to their offices in Brest.  Whom they should ally themselves with to resist being rendered useless?  Ridiculed by scientists, in competition with starfish, standing between greedy consumers and new fishermen arriving constantly for dwindling stocks, knowing nothing of the animal they started to catch only recently, the fishermen are slowly put out of business.  To whom should they turn to resist?  Threatened by starfish and fishermen, ignored for years by oceanographers who do not even know if they are able to move or not, the animal is slowly disappearing from the Bay.  Whom should the scallops’ larvae tie themselves to so as to resist their enemies? (Latour 1987, p. 202-3)

The situation Latour described was first presented by his colleague, Michel Callon:

The researchers place their nets but the collectors remain hopelessly empty.  In principle the larvae anchor, in practice they refuse to enter the collectors.  The difficult negotiations which were successful the first time fail in the following years…  The larvae detach themselves from the researchers’ project and a crowd of other actors carry them away.  The scallops become dissidents.  The larvae which complied are betrayed by those they were thought to represent (1985, 219-20).

In Latour’s and Callon’s descriptions the same language was being employed for fishermen, scientists, scallops.  They were all agents, actors, or, the term Latour and Callon favored, actants.  This equivalence was not just playful language; it was a matter of method.  Callon again:

The observer must abandon all a priori distinctions between natural and social events.  He must reject the hypothesis of a definite boundary which separates the two.  These divisions are… the result of analysis rather than its point of departure….  Instead of imposing a pre-established grid… the observer follows the actors in order to identify the manner in which these define and associate the different elements by which they build and explain their world, whether it be social or natural (1985, 200-201).

In these quotes Latour and Callon (hereon: L&C) were clearly anthropomorphising— animals, here the scallops, act just as much as scientists in the Bay of Brieuc do.  In classical anthropomorphism, however, animals’ behavior is explained as if they had goals like humans (or, more generally, as if they feel, imagine, and represent like humans) and behaved accordingly.  L&C departed from this in two ways:

a) the image of human cognition is reduced to humans having simple goals, specifically, to resist and to overcome resistance—a form of simple agonistic behavior.  For L&C, scientists use laboratories, technical artifacts, allies, and other resources to shift the world, working against its inertia and against others trying to shift the world in different directions (Latour 1987); and

b) equivalence in the terms describing the actions of humans and animals: they all “resist.”  To act, to be an agent, is to resist.

The terminological equivalence allowed L&C to oppose other commentators on science who would have scientists (or other humans) be the only source of resistance.  It also ensured consistency in a larger scheme, evident in subsequent texts of L&C, that extends beyond human and other living agents to include technological objects.  Objects resist, so, if “act” is equated with “resist,” objects, such a scalloping dredge, can, like humans and scallops, be actors, agents, actants.

An obvious objection to L&C’s anthropomorphism is that STS accounts depend on the scientists to reveal the animals’ cognition, perhaps even to reveal their behavior (Collins and Yearley 1992, 312ff).  This conceptual flaw seems to create a big problem for the actant program: if the program cannot be operationalized, its empirical adequacy can hardly be established.  Significantly, the equivalency of actants has not been put on an empirical footing—we know nothing about scallops’ cognition and little about their behavior two decades after L&C’s 1980s work.  Nevertheless, the actant terminology has become very popular in STS.  The plausibility of the actant-anthropomorphism must be drawing from another source.  To be continued in next post.

References

Callon, Michel. 1985. Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. In Power, Action, Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge?, edited by J. Law, 196-233. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Collins, Harry M., and StevenYearley. 1992. Epistemological chicken. In Science as practice and culture, edited by A. Pickering, 301-326. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Latour, Bruno. 1987. Science in Action:  How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Agency and structuredness

There has been a long history in social theory of discussion of how to relate social structure and human agency (Dawe 1976; Giddens 1981; Sewell 1992; Vogt 1960; see Taylor 1996 for bibliography in context of interpretation of science).  Concepts introduced in Unruly Complexity provide the basis of a framework for moving beyond the structure-agency dualism. Continue reading

Heterogeneous construction, a variant of intersecting processes

Heterogeneous construction is a variant of the idea of intersecting processes, which, in turn, is an attempt to discipline without suppressing the unruliness of complexity.  The concept of heterogeneous construction can be illustrated by reference to the previous post on the Brown and Harris/Bowlby account of class, family, and psychology combining to explain the onset of serious depression.

As stated in the previous post, the factors are not separate contributing causes, like spokes on a wheel, but take their place in the multistranded life course of the individual [i.e., in the intersecting processes].  Each line should be interpreted as one contributing causal link in the construction of the behavior. The lines are dashed, however, to moderate any determinism implied in presenting a smoothed out or averaged schema; the links, while common, do not apply to all women at all times, and are contingent on background conditions not shown in the diagram.

For example, in a society in which women are expected to be the primary caregivers for children (a background condition), the loss of a mother increases the chances of, or is linked to, the child’s lacking consistent, reliable support for at least some period. Given the dominance of men over women and the social ideal of a heterosexual nuclear family, an adolescent girl in a disrupted family or custodial institution would be likely to see a marriage or partnership with a man as a positive alternative, even though early marriages tend to break up more easily. In a society of restricted class mobility, working-class origins tend to lead to working-class adulthood, in which living conditions are more difficult, especially if a woman has children to look after and provide for on her own. In many such ways these family, class, and psychological strands of the woman’s life build on each other. Let us also note that, as an unavoidable side effect, the pathways to an individual’s depression intersect with and influence other phenomena, such as the state’s changing role in providing welfare and custodial institutions, and these other phenomena continue even after the end point, namely, depression, has been arrived at.

Suppose now, quite hypothetically, that certain genes, expressed in the body’s chemistry, increase a child’s susceptibility to anxiousness in attachment compared to other children, even those within the same family.  Suppose also that this inborn biochemistry, or the subsequent biochemical changes corresponding to the anxiety, rendered the child more susceptible to the biochemical shifts that are associated with depression.  It is conceivable that early genetic or biochemical diagnosis followed by lifelong treatment with prophylactic antidepressants could reduce the chances of onset of severe depression. This might be true without any other action to ameliorate the effects of loss of mother, working-class living conditions, and so on.  There are, however, many other readily conceivable engagements to reduce the chances of onset of depression, for example, counseling adolescent girls with low self-esteem, quickly acting to ensure a reliable caregiver when a mother dies or is hospitalized, making custodial institutions or foster care arrangements more humane, increasing the availability of contraceptives for adolescents, increasing state support for single mothers, and so on.  If the goal is reduction in depression for working-class women, the unchangeability of the hypothetical inherited genes says nothing about the most effective, economical, or otherwise socially desirable engagement—or combinations of engagements—to pursue.  Notice also that many of these engagements have their downstream effect on depression via pathways that cross between the different strands.  For example, if self-esteem counseling were somewhat effective then fewer unwanted pregnancies and unsupportive partnerships might be initiated; both effects could, in turn, reduce the incidence of single parenthood and difficult living conditions.

These sequences of multiple causes, building on each other over the individual’s life history, permit a number of conclusions about the nature-nurture debate:

1.  Neither the unchangeability of genes nor the reliability of some gene- or biochemistry-based intervention, such as the hypothetical prophylactic antidepressants, would prove that the genes are the most significant cause of the acute depression that has been occurring in the absence of such treatment.

2.  Critics of genetic explanations could dismiss the attribution of an individual’s behavior to genes (or 50% or 80% to genes) as a technically meaningless partitioning of causes without placing themselves at the other pole from genetic determination.[i] That is, they would not have to make the counterclaim that the environment determines behavior or that, if the right environment were found, any desired behavior could be elicited. The Brown-Harris-Bowlby (BHB) account addresses malleability or immalleability of behavioral outcomes without ruling out genetic contributions.

3.  Similarly, critics would not need to rest their case on demonstrations that behavioral genetics has been or still is methodologically flawed (Lewontin et al. 1984), on textual deconstructions of the categories and rhetoric employed (Lewontin 1979), or on attributions of political bias to the supporters of behavioral geneticists. These are all interesting, but, in light of the BHB account of the behavior, not necessary for a conceptual critique of genetic determinism.

Over and above these conclusions, the BHB account of the origins of acute depression in working-class women also displays the following features that I associate with the idea that something is “heterogeneously constructed,” or an outcome of “intersecting processes.”

a) Without any superintending constructor or outcome-directed agent,

b) many heterogeneous components are linked together, which implies that

c) the outcome has multiple contributing causes, and thus

d) there are multiple points of intervention or engagement that could modify the course of development. In short,

e) causality and agency are distributed, not localized. Moreover,

f) construction is a process, that is, the components are linked over time,

g) building on what has already been constructed, so that

h) it is not the components, but the components in linkage that constitute the causes. Points c) and f–h) together ensure that

i) it is difficult to partition relative importance or responsibility for an outcome among the different types of cause (e.g., 80% genetic vs. 20% environmental). Generally,

j) there are alternative routes to the same end, and

k) construction is “polypotent” (Sclove 1995), that is, things involved in one construction process are implicated in many others. Engaging in a construction process, even in very focused interventions, will have side effects. Finally, points f) and k) mean that

l) construction never stops; completed outcomes are less end points than snapshots taken of ongoing, intersecting processes.

I am aware that there may be objections to the case I have chosen to make the preceeding points.  In discussing depression among working class women, rather than in other groups, I could be seen as perpetuating a male, professional class perspective.  However, the politics of the case can be viewed quite differently.  Although depressed working class women are the focus, the intersecting processes account brings a range of other agents into the picture.  While the account does not identify ways to cure the women studied, other girls and women that follow them might seek support from, or find themselves supported by—to pick up on the potential engagements mentioned earlier—counsellors, hospital social workers, people reforming custodial institutions, family planning workers, social policy makers, and so on.  Moreover, these agents can view their engagement as linked with others, not as a solution on its own.  For example, when women’s movement activists create women’s refuges as a step away from living in unsupportive households, this makes it possible for therapists who specialize in the psychological dynamics of the woman in her family to consider referring women to refuges as a critical disruption to the family’s dynamic.  The politics of highlighting different kinds of causes and their interlinkages can be seen as promoting such exchange among the distributed set of agents and contributing to the potential re-formation of the social worlds intersecting around the development of any given focal individual or outcome.

Extracted from Taylor, P.J., “Distributed agency within intersecting ecological, social, and scientific processes,” pp. 313-332 in S. Oyama, P. Griffiths and R. Gray (Eds.), Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.


[i] The nonpartitionability of different kinds of biological and social causes, given the interdependence of their effects, is demonstrated well by Lewontin (1974), when he argues that statistical partitioning of effects (“analysis of variance”) does not constitute an analysis of causes. Of course, partitioning of biological and social causes does have ideological meaning (Lewontin et al. 1984).

References

Lewontin, R. C. (1979). Sociobiology as an adaptationist program. Behavioral Science, 24, 5-14.

Lewontin, R. C., Rose, S., & Kamin, L. J. (1984). Not in our genes: Biology, ideology and human nature. New York: Pantheon.

Sclove, R. (1995). Democracy and technology. New York: Guilford.

Intersecting processes, illustrated and analyzed III

The synopsis of a case of soil erosion in Oaxaca (presented in the post before last) has, in addition to the themes of the previous post, a number of implications for thinking about the agency of the people studied and, reflexively, of researchers reconstructing intersecting processes:

6. The account represents agency as distributed across different kinds of agents and scale, not something centered in one class or place (Thompson 2002). In the nineteenth-century moral economy caciques exploited peasants, but in a relationship of reciprocal norms and obligations. Moreover, the local moral economy was not autonomous—the national political economy was implicated, by its exclusion, in the actions of the caciques that maintained labor-intensive and self-sufficient production. Although the Mexican revolution initiated the breakdown in the moral economy, the ensuing process involved not just political and economic change from above, but also from below and between—semi-proletarian peasants brought their money back to the rural community and reshaped its transactions, institutions, and social psychology.

7. The account has an intermediate complexity—neither highly reduced, nor overwhelmingly detailed. The elements included in my synopsis and in the diagram are heterogeneous, but I tease out different strands. The strands, however, are cross-linked; they are not torn apart. By acknowledging this intermediate level of complexity, the account steps away from debates centered on simple oppositions, e.g., ecology-geomorphology vs. economy-society, or ecological rationality vs. economic rationality. Similarly, by placing explanatory focus on the ongoing, intersecting processes, the account discounts the grand discontinuities and transitions that are often invoked, e.g., peasant to capitalist agriculture, or feudalism to industrialism to Fordism to flexible specialization.

8. Intermediate complexity accounts favor the idea of multiple, smaller engagements linked together within the intersecting processes. My synopsis and diagram of the García-Barrioses’ more detailed account can be read as an engagement with current scholarly discourses in an effort to promote the concept of distributed agency. This concept has implications not only for how environmental degradation is conceptualized, but also for how one responds to it in practice. Intersecting processes accounts do not support government or social movement policies based on simple themes, such as economic modernization by market liberalization, sustainable development through promotion of traditional agricultural practices, or mass mobilization to overthrow capitalism.

9. This shift in how policy is conceived suggests a corresponding shift in scholarly practice. On the level of research organization, intersecting processes accounts highlight the need for trans-disciplinary work grounded in particular locations. They do not underwrite the customary multi-disciplinary projects directed by natural scientists, nor the economic analyses based on the kinds of statistical data available in published censuses.

10. Finally, the intermediate complexity of the Figure preserves a role for some kind of social scientific generalization. The synopsis and diagram abstract away an enormous amount of detail, a move that suggests that the particular case described by the García-Barrioses might be relevant to other cases. The account does not provide a general explanatory schema, but at least could serve as a template to guide further studies. Such a template would be elaborated in new research projects once researchers began to address the particularities of the situation they are studying. In other words, the particularities of each case would not warrant starting from scratch when attempting to understand and engage in socio-environmental change. The intermediate complexity of my account also means—and here I am applying some reflexivity to my own representational work—that I have deflected attention away from the need to examine the particular institutional and personal resources, agendas, and alliances that people like me would have to cultivate to gain support for the desired trans-disciplinary research or policy interventions.

References
Thompson, C. (2002). “When elephants stand for competing philosophies of nature: Amboseli National Park, Kenya,” in J. Law and A. Mol (Eds.), Complexities: Social Studies of Knowledge Practices. Durham: Duke University Press, 166-190.

Imagination and the psychology of agents (as seen or hidden in social studies of science)

I would affirm that all human activity is imaginative, that is, the result of a labor process that grows out of the laborer’s imagination. Agents assess, not necessarily explicitly, the practical constraints and facilitations of possible actions in advance of their acting. Associating imagination and the labor-process is Marx’s idea. (See Capital, vol. 1, pt. 3, Chapter 7, sec. 1, reprinted, e.g., in Tucker 1978, pp. 344–45. Robinson (1984) provides a relevant discussion of this passage.)

The convention in social studies of science has been to avoid reference to an agent’s psychology for fear of shifting the terms of explanation from the social realm to an unobservable realm of the agent’s mind. I find dubious both the equation of social with observable and the empiricist rejection of unobservables. In any case, notice that imagination relies on a distributed, not an internal, notion of mind and psychology. Furthermore, psychological or cognitive models of the scientist as social agent are implicit in every explanation of the outcome of scientific activity. For example, Latour (1987) depicts scientists building “networks” in response to the stimulus of others building competing networks, and assumes that scientists seek to accumulate resources, all of which results, if successful, in “centers of calculation,” “obligatory passage points” (Callon 1985), and their becoming macroactors (Callon and Latour 1981). Like the psychology of pigeons in the accounts of behaviorists, the psychology implied is both strong and minimal—the scientists are governed only by this egocentric metric of resource accumulation; they are not assumed to have multiple projects in their lives and work. This, like most other models of psychology and rationality implicit in social studies of science, is quite restrictive, even when rationalized as a methodological tactic intended to highlight the flexibility of agents’ actions and network building (Taylor 1993).

Excerpted the Notes section of Taylor, Peter J. 2005. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement. U. Chicago Press.

References
Callon, M. (1985). “Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay,” in J. Law (Eds.), Power, Action, Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge? London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 196-233.
—— and B. Latour (1981). “Unscrewing the big Leviathin: How actors macro-structure reality and how sociologists help them to do so,” in K. Knorr-Cetina and A. V. Cicourel (Eds.), Advances in Social Theory and Methodology: Toward an Integration of Micro- and Macro-sociologies. Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 277-303.
Robinson, S. (1984). “The Art of the Possible.” Radical Science Journal 15: 122-148.
Taylor, P.J. (1993). “What’s (not) in the mind of scientific agents? Implicit psychological models and social theory in the social studies of science.” Paper presented to Society for Social Studies of Science, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Tucker, R. C. (Ed. (1978). The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: Norton.