Theory, Culture and Society 29 (2):107-123 (2012)

Abstract
This article explores what might happen to the concept of performativity within arguments that are understood as ‘topological’. It argues that we might ‘decline’ performativity, which is to say, elaborate the concerns that are expressed in the concept, but inclining it more boldly towards the complexities of a world whose elements are always in process of constitution, of reiterative enfolding. Taking a cue from Isabelle Stengers’ recent work in which she posits the notion of ecologies of practice, on the one hand, and Whitehead’s concept of concern, on the other, the paper argues that emergent entities have differential requirements – not least according to the disciplines to which they appeal – and subtend different modes of implied obligation. An adherence to these requirements needs to be accompanied by persuasive presentation that obliges a community to affirm any entity. On many levels of abstraction, ecologies need to show concern for an entity to facilitate its emergence and to sustain its mode of being. In an expanded vision, then, human and non-human entities at all levels enter into multifarious relational modes of becoming, but these become of sustained consequence only through persuasion of communities, sometimes organized into disciplines. The survival of entities requires forms of differentiation, division and of value. The paper relates these arguments to forms of sociological enquiry that give glimpses of how sociology might respond. It ends with a hesitation around the radical anti-anthropomorphism of the stance developed, and argues that this does not entirely eclipse the importance of political hope.
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DOI 10.1177/0263276412438413
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References found in this work BETA

Order Out of Chaos.Ilya Prigogine & Isabelle Stengers - 1985 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36 (3):352-354.
The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection.J. Butler - 1997 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 46 (6):1016.
Process and Reality.Arthur E. Murphy - 1931 - Journal of Philosophical Studies 6 (21):102-106.

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Citations of this work BETA

Naturecultures? Science, Affect and the Non-Human.Joanna Latimer & Mara Miele - 2013 - Theory, Culture and Society 30 (7-8):5-31.
Being Alongside: Rethinking Relations Amongst Different Kinds.Joanna Latimer - 2013 - Theory, Culture and Society 30 (7-8):77-104.

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