Chapter One
NAME READING (author, page#) AGENDA ITEM (questions, comments, ideas, screeds, manifestos, etc.)

Should we post some comments/questions down here about Masons Tricksters and Cartographers?

So is this just a combination of SSK and Actor Network Theory? In that “knowledge” springs from the local conditions and is then legitimated based on “assembling” a powerful network?


How is the “third space” he advocates on the last page of the book any different from Galison’s trading zones? A place where different “rationalities” can speak…that sounds like a trading zone to me


I can understand why he calls this book a “motley” because for the most part…it is completely unclear and equivocal to me....and when I say "unclear" I don't mean the words I mean the meaning behind the words. I mean the main thing I get from the book is that all knowledge springs from local conditions and flows that all I'm supposed to be getting? Am I missing something?

Also, what the hell is transmodern, I didn't get a clear definition..."Trans" of course literally means "between" so is that what it means: "between" modern and post-modern?

I just read the wikipedia entry on "transmodernism" says it is a critique of relativism...ummm, doesn't he advocate for us as STSers to embrace our relativism...more of Turnbull's equivocation I suppose.
General / To Ross
This book was historically interesting and an important step in the genesis of modern science and architecture.  The motley seemed to be a framework that was applicable to analyzing how societies in specific circumstances accumulate and store knowledge culturally, which is certainly usable in some of our research, but seems more limited than other theories (SSK, mangle, ANT, etc).  Perhaps this is a good thing - the universal applicability of theories like the mangle make them less useful because they explain everything and nothing at the same time.
Chapter 1?
What is the difference between "knowledge space" and a Bourdieuian field?

Just finished reading "The Dream of a Global Knowledge
Network—A New Approach" in which the authors posit a method of cross-repository interoperability based on the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM).

From the CIDOC site: "The CIDOC CRM is intended to promote a shared understanding of cultural heritage information by providing a common and extensible semantic framework that any cultural heritage information can be mapped to. It is intended to be a common language for domain experts and implementers to formulate requirements for information systems and to serve as a guide for good practice of conceptual modelling. In this way, it can provide the "semantic glue" needed to mediate between different sources of cultural heritage information, such as that published by museums, libraries and archives."

They suggest "a generic global ontological model based on relations and co-reference rather than objects" effectively translating between knowledge worlds (in this case cultural heritage information).


Isn't Turnbull, by casting science as local, more or less redefining the polyhedron?



Did anyone see the article on Freeman Dyson in the Times this weekend regarding climate change?  Thought it a good parallel to the discussion of HIV previously.



1) Old fashioned positivists

2) Biased science

3) Strong program, eg social construction


  Assemblage =

Bourdieu's Field

Foucault's episteme

Latour's network

Knor-Cetina Epistemic cultures

Kuhn's paradigms

Lakatos "research programme"

Pickering's mangle 

Schon's Reflection in Action

Phil Agre's "Critical Technical Practice"


  Easy dualisms to watch for:









(Ch. 2  General Comment)
Architects still rely on 2D, sometimes 3D, visualizations (plans, sections, maps, models) for the construction of buildings.  Despite the use of computing technology in the design process, we are still using the same method of representation that was used right after the cathedral era, more than 700 years ago.  Some critics of the contemporary architecture believe this is what is holding back the profession from advancing to a new level of building techniques, materials and processes.  Perhaps if the lines of communication ("Talk") between architect and builder were increased, and the process of erecting buildings was more design-build and on-site, then new visualization techniques could be explored and communicated in order to transform the construction site back to the experimental laboratory.





p. 76 Tacoma Narrows Bridge reference:  Design for the local and the global is extremely important.  We have lost this in architecture through modernism and I found it interesting to see how Turnbull described the parallel position of science and technology.  The International Style of architecture was the equivalent of universal truths in science.


Page 66- “This exposure to new sites and the work of others was a constant spur to innovation. Secondly, the construction site was an experimental laboratory in which the masons were able to see whether an innovation as successful. Talk, tradition, and template provided for a distributed, heterogeneous, design process strongly analogous to the scientific theory building….”


It seems as though compartmentalizing through having institutions of science is disadvantageous, though we’re aware that open “talk” and exchange is critical toward building knowledge. Where might institutions in the future be headed with this knowledge without having a collapse of infrastructure?






p. 75 “The structure of the cathedrals results from the combination of religious beliefs and aesthetic values, a developing but limited set of building practices, economic opportunities, modes of communication, and the work of others”


The problem with the analogy to medieval architecture revolves around intuitive logic and a different understanding of material invention.  This is a problematic for the STS theory in that it isn’t a true example of practice without theory.  The medieval mode of practice is often unviable if even possible in modern science.


Nicole - re Kristen's question --

Seems like this connects to David's discussion in last week's book about undone science, and epistemic modernization


(1)situating this text in STS literature:

motley is not as useful as other SSK theories?  however, discussion of empirical examples of local knowledge/production of science is important?

(2)I was interested in Turnbull's discussion of theory as boundary object in the introduction but did not understand how it fits together well, or does it?