Back & Puwar, Live Methods

Back, Les, and Nirmal Puwal. “A manifesto for live methods: provocations and capacities.” The Sociological Review (2012): 6-17. Print.

Abstract [from article]: In this manifesto for live methods the key arguments of the volume are summarized in eleven propositions. We offer eleven provocations to highlight potential new capacities for how we do sociology. The argument for a more artful and crafty approach to sociological research embraces new technological opportunities while expanding the attentiveness of researchers. We identify a set of practices available to us as sociologists from the heterodox histories of the tradition as well as from current collaborations and cross-disciplinary exchanges. The question of value is not set apart from the eleven points we raise in the manifesto. Additionally, we are concerned with how the culture of audit and assessment within universities is impacting on sociological research. Despite the institutional threats to sociology we emphasize the discipline is well placed in our current moment to develop creative, public and novel modes of doing imaginative and critical sociological research.

Aspirations of “live methods”:

  1. Develop new tools for ‘real-time’ and ‘live’ investigation (7)

  2. Avoid the ‘trap of the now’ and be attentive to the larger scale and longer historical time frame (8)

  3. Develop capacities to see the whole, without a totalizing perspective (8)

  4. Make sociological craft more artful and crafty (9)

  5. Develop empirical devices and probes that produce affects and reactions that re-invent relations to the social and environmental (9)

  6. Curating sociology within new public platforms (10)

  7. Utilize our senses equally in attending to the social world (11)

  8. Foster the liveliness of words (12)

  9. Recover sociology’s history of inventive craft (12)

  10. Take time, think carefully and slowly (13)

  11. Engage political and ethical issues without arrogance or the drum roll of political piety (14)

To consume:

  • Motamedi Fraser, Irradiant Archive

  • Paul Connorton, How Modernity Forgets
  • Veena Das, Life and Words

  • Pierre Bourdieu, Homo AcademicusFiring Back: Against the Tyranny of the Market

  • Latour, An attempt at a “compositionist manifesto”,  Iconoclash: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and ArtParis Ville Invisible, Making Things Public

  • Rey Chow, Ethics after Idealism

  • Benjamin, The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire
  • John Law, Enacting the Social
  • Isabelle Stengers, The cosmopolitical proposal

  • Marilyn Strathern, Commons and Borderlands
  • Edward Said, The public role of writers and intellectuals
  • Mentioned, but not referenced: Alberto Toscano, Noortje Marres, Yasmin Gunaratnam, Albion Small


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