Neonatal food and the politics of theory: Some questions of method

Annemarie Mol, Jessica Mesman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    62 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The nurses on an intensive care ward for new-borns feed babies with food and doctors with information. Showing that this is so is one of the ways in which scholars working in humanist traditions of social analysis, such as symbolic interactionism, reveal the politics of hospital relations. However, semiotics, along with similar 'non-humanist' theoretical traditions, is no less political; neither, as is sometimes suggested, does it necessarily side with the strong. Here we demonstrate that semiotics implies another style of political theory — one in which the relevant axes of difference are not primarily between groups of people, but between ways of ordering the world. Thus the differences between two modes of feeding or of calculating the contents of a bottle can be understood as both 'political' and 'technical' matters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)419-444
    JournalSocial studies of science
    Volume26
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1996

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