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The Pasteurization of France by Latour Bruno


Bruno Latour examines the sociology of primatologists and critically analyses laboratory procedures, relating them to real-life situations. In his writings, he reviews Louse Pasteur and his discovery of microbes (Lafarge 23). Latour gives an account of the social phenomena that surrounded Pasteur’s discipline and career. Latour did not accept the way theories were handled (Lafarge 29). Though he accepted the works of Pasteur, he does not believe in other scientific theories. He explains this by explicitly underrating the other scientific theories disassociating them with experimentation and evidence (Woogler 64).

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This paper is going to critically analyze the works of Latour Bruno and how other scholars view his theories. To this end, the author is going to integrate the work of other scholars when reviewing Latour’s ideas.

Theory at Work

In his latest argument, Latour appears as a theoretical as well as a pragmatic scholar. He comes up with different arguments to support theoretical science. For example, he postulates that “………we (humanity) have never been modern” (Latour 48). He wonders whether he is wrong to undertake or engage in science following his inventions regarding scientific workings. When supporting his arguments, he puts into consideration the social critics as well as his professional perspectives.

He proposes that critics in the current or contemporary world are “…..based on irrelevance” (Latour 48). He argues that critics require successful and effective opinion. The same critics need critical equipment subjected to thorough scrutiny to maintain the enthusiasm and energy of their work (Latour 233).

Latour focuses on social critiques and stipulates that empiricism is the order of the day (Lafarge 27). In this context, he argues that scientific evidence and experimentation should be exploited in all social critiques. He further argues that about two-thirds of current social critiques exhibit two scenarios. These are facts and fairy positions (Latour 237). Fairy position is possessed by forces emanating from an outside realm while the facts are based on belief parameters.


In her book We Have Never Been Modern, Porter (43) encourages the reader to think again and evaluate their mental capabilities. For example, she focuses on the outcome of science and incorporates wisdom into the industry. Latour is seen as promoting the non-modernism school of thought. To this end, he argues that we have never been exposed to modernization. This is significant because the philosophy, chronology as well as science of sociology is built on the scientific community’s works. This has been greatly influenced by science in action (Weibel 47). It is noted that scientific development is characterized by complex phrases formulated by scientists. The scientists are also involved in the deciphering of their colleague’s complex phrases.

Science at Work

Empirically, Latour postulates that action is a fundamental requirement in science and technology. Discoveries are indeed made but very few people assimilate and understand the findings made. A given point can be attained by an equifinality factor whereby each scenario is viewed from a different perspective (Porter 234). Most of the time we only understand the positive attributes of science. This is by following closely what is happening in science. Although this idea is strongly criticized (Pandora 115), Latour responds by stating in his epistemology that there is a difference between context and content.

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Bringing Science to an End

Latour argues that “……exhibiting indisputable is as well as being correct” (Latour 40). Latour appears to be contradicting himself when he postulates that “……explanation does not owe reference lies” (Latour 40). The kind of relativism attributed to Kuhn is discernible in Latour (Lafarge 142).

Ignoring this controversy, the author of this paper states that events can be arranged in a given society by progressing from minority to majority. This is for example moving from public to private awareness. Also, change in a given society can be determined by evaluating its various aspects. This is referred to as relative motion (Woogler 34). It is noted that time cannot flow back as far as this argument is concerned.

Latour disregards the notion of measuring truth but adopts his arguments. We can therefore conclude that these scholars have formulated a progress line contrary to the other social groups. Here, the social and all that it entails is reassembled (Latour 118). Scholars in this school of thought argue that there is no reality. On the contrary, it is the actors who come with their reality. The local actors are influenced by their suggestions. According to Weibel (34), this implies a desired dedication to relativism.


In conclusion, Latour is seen as a sociologist as far as science is concerned. He is however able to defend his theories in the disciplines of science and technology. After analyzing his works critically, it appears that he captures people’s minds by engaging them in controversial scenarios. He poses an array of questions and explanations creating controversial scenarios and challenging his theories. It is, therefore, true that he has changed the world view from what it is.

Works Cited

Lafarge, Tony. The Making of Law: Ethnography of the Counsel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Latour, Bruno. The Pasteurization of France. Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Pandora, Catherine. Politics of Nature: How to Bring Science into Democracy. Cambridge: Massachusetts University Press, 2004.

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Porter, Catherine. We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard: Harvard University Press USA, 2003.

Weibel, Peter. Making Things Public: Atmosphere of Democracy. Cambridge: Massachusetts University Press.

Woogler, Steve. Laboratory Life: The Social Contraction of Scientific Facts. New Jersey: McGraw-Hill, 2010.

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