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A Cosmopolitical Proposal: Towards a Democratic Composition of Environments
Unformatted Document Text:  21 Been Modern have taken up this task. In The Invention of Modern Science, Isabelle Stengers adds to Latour’s formulation of the Parliament of Things, offering what she sees its goals and functions of to be. Discussing the above lengthy quote, Stengers notes that a Parliament already includes significantly more participants than existing parliaments, but in addition to this, new participants that may not have previously existed or whose existence was undetectable must be added as well. Latour’s Parliament of Things, according to Stengers, “celebrates the triumph of scientific practices,” and “recognizes these practices to the degree in which they make representatives proliferate, always more varied and demanding.” 46 Scientific practices are a valuable means of producing more participants of a Parliament, creating new entities and representing them through their work. The representative practices of scientists, among others, bring the contributions and insights of environments to the discussion of a particular problem. Rather than basing political participation upon conquest and submission of human voters or environments, this Parliament expects a multiplicity of participants involved in any question of coexistence, and always remains open to new participants to find a way in. “Every new representative is added to the others, complicating the problem that brings them together.” 47 The Parliament is “open admission,” with the only qualification, for now, being relevance established throughout whatever means available. There is no scarcity of seats in this parliament. Countering claims that Latour’s project is utopian, Stengers argues that the Parliament of Things “does not belong to the future.” 48 For both Latour and Stengers, the Parliament already exists, but only provisionally, in spurts and moments. The Parliament of Things does not require revolutionary action to come into existence, according to Latour, but simply that we “ratify what we have always done,” acknowledge and actively allow the participation of human-nonhuman 46 Stengers, 153. 47 Stengers, 154. 48 Stengers, 154.

Authors: Nordquist, Michael.
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21
Been Modern have taken up this task. In The Invention of Modern Science, Isabelle Stengers
adds to Latour’s formulation of the Parliament of Things, offering what she sees its goals and
functions of to be. Discussing the above lengthy quote, Stengers notes that a Parliament already
includes significantly more participants than existing parliaments, but in addition to this, new
participants that may not have previously existed or whose existence was undetectable must be
added as well. Latour’s Parliament of Things, according to Stengers, “celebrates the triumph of
scientific practices,” and “recognizes these practices to the degree in which they make
representatives proliferate, always more varied and demanding.”
Scientific practices are a
valuable means of producing more participants of a Parliament, creating new entities and
representing them through their work. The representative practices of scientists, among others,
bring the contributions and insights of environments to the discussion of a particular problem.
Rather than basing political participation upon conquest and submission of human voters or
environments, this Parliament expects a multiplicity of participants involved in any question of
coexistence, and always remains open to new participants to find a way in. “Every new
representative is added to the others, complicating the problem that brings them together.”
The
Parliament is “open admission,” with the only qualification, for now, being relevance established
throughout whatever means available. There is no scarcity of seats in this parliament.
Countering claims that Latour’s project is utopian, Stengers argues that the Parliament of
Things “does not belong to the future.”
For both Latour and Stengers, the Parliament already
exists, but only provisionally, in spurts and moments. The Parliament of Things does not require
revolutionary action to come into existence, according to Latour, but simply that we “ratify what
we have always done,” acknowledge and actively allow the participation of human-nonhuman
46
Stengers, 153.
47
Stengers, 154.
48
Stengers, 154.


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