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Revista Uruguaya de Antropología y Etnografía

Print version ISSN 2393-7068On-line version ISSN 2393-6886


URIBE, David Antolinez. The disciplinary emergence of Science and Technology Studies, the hybrid genesis of the ‘ontological turn’ and some contemporary debates. Rev. urug. Antropología y Etnografía [online]. 2020, vol.5, n.2, pp.51-67.  Epub Dec 01, 2020. ISSN 2393-7068.

The ‘ontological turn’ has been a recent intellectual trend that has received attention and criticism from both philosophy and anthropology. Actually, this movement is not part of any of those disciplines, but rather was constituted as the theoretical matrix of a new discipline: Science and Technology Studies. As these gained academic legitimacy and defined their professional identity, certain incommensurability emerged between this scientific community and the other disciplines that were threatened by this new trend. This article makes a historical account of the parallel construction of Science and Technology Studies and the ‘ontological turn’, emphasizing the proposal of Bruno Latour, the first to articulate ontological theories with ethnographic methodologies, a founding gesture of Science and Technology Studies. Some recent criticisms made of the ‘ontological turn’ are also shown, which seek to undo this hybridization between philosophy and anthropology. It is concluded that, despite the accuracy of some of these criticisms, Science and Technology Studies manage to maintain a certain disciplinary dominance, while the ‘ontological turn’, as a theoretical matrix of this new discipline, must face those contemporary challenges.

Keywords : Science and Technology Studies; Ontology; Ethnography; Incommensurability; Purification.

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