Enacting the social

  title={Enacting the social},
  author={John Law and John R. Urry},
  journal={Economy and Society},
  pages={390 - 410}
  • J. Law, J. Urry
  • Published 1 August 2004
  • Sociology
  • Economy and Society
This paper is concerned with the power of social science and its methods. We first argue that social inquiry and its methods are productive: they (help to) make social realities and social worlds. They do not simply describe the world as it is, but also enact it. Second, we suggest that, if social investigation makes worlds, then it can, in some measure, think about the worlds it wants to help to make. It gets involved in ‘ontological politics’. We then go on to show that its methods - and its… 
Time and method: After survival, for a renewed praxis of social theory
This paper is an intervention in the debate on Big Data or the digital. Recognising the importance of engaging with what has become known as Big Data, I seek to re-situate the Big Data issue in a
Live Sociology: Social Research and its Futures
The article draws on recent debates about empirical sociology's methodological crisis that results from the emergence of sophisticated information-based capitalism and digital culture. Researchers
Social Theory and the Politics of Big Data and Method
This article is an intervention in the debate on big data. It seeks to show, first, that behind the wager to make sociology more relevant to the digital there lies a coherent if essentially unstated
Degrowth, anthropology, and activist research: the ontological politics of science
Abstract This article argues that scientific practice of all kinds does not simply represent but actively constructs social and cultural realities: it is involved in an "ontological politics." It
This article explains the relationship between performativity and social ontology in the case of Latin American narratives of resistance and liberation. In particular, it shows how these narratives
Beyond Flows, Fluids and Networks: Social Theory and the Fetishism of the Global Informational Economy
In this paper we critically explore some of the arguments made by those social theorists who claim that we live in a new global economy defined by informational and technological flows, fluids and
Doing Rights with Things: The Art of Becoming Citizens
  • E. Isin
  • Art
    Performing Citizenship
  • 2019
The languages of ‘performance’ and ‘performativity’ have become prominent within the disciplines of social sciences and humanities and their interdisciplinary fields, enabling researchers to bridge
The social life of time and methods: Studying London’s temporal architectures
This paper contributes to work on the social life of time. It focuses on how time is doubled; produced by, and productive of, the relations and processes it operates through. In particular, it
A method of intuition: becoming, relationality, ethics
This article examines social research on the relations between (young) women's bodies and images through Bergson's method of intuition, which suggests that the only way a thing can be known is
Critical methods in International Relations: The politics of techniques, devices and acts 1
Methods have increasingly been placed at the heart of theoretical and empirical research in International Relations (IR) and social sciences more generally. This article explores the role of methods


Open the Social Sciences
How were the social sciences constructed? In preparing our report we had to consider this question to understand the dilemmas of the social sciences. We started the story in the late 18th century by
Do the social sciences create phenomena?: the example of public opinion research.
It is argued that by the 1950s public opinion produced a version of the world that had entered 'into the true' and that the social sciences have played a key role in the creation of opinioned persons and an opinionated society.
The Visibility of Social Systems
The role of the senses in social life is a neglected theme in social analysis. Despite the philosopher Whitehead’s (1938) early call for systematic study of the ‘organization of the sensorium’ in
We Have Never Been Modern
What makes us modern? This is a classic question in philosophy as well as in political science. However it is often raised without including science and technology in its definition. The argument of
Romanticism and Classicism: Deep Structures in Social Science
ions. The anthropologist writes about events that have color and vividness, in contrast to the sociologist’s greater proclivity for the matter-of-fact and the prosaic. The anthropologist persuades
Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order
The theme of reflexivity has come to be central to social analysis. In this book three prominent social thinkers discuss the implications of "reflexive modernization" for social and cultural theory
Ideas of Difference: Social Spaces and the Labour of Division
This book introduces contemporary writing about difference through the idea of the labour of division. The contributors see divisions as artefacts that are not only produced in representations of the
The rise of the network society
From the Publisher: This ambitious book is an account of the economic and social dynamics of the new age of information. Based on research in the USA, Asia, Latin America, and Europe, it aims to
The Making of the English Working Class.
Fifty years since first publication, E. P. Thompson's revolutionary account of working-class culture and ideals is published in Penguin Modern Classics, with a new introduction by historian Michael
Researching Social Life
The Third Edition of Nigel Gilbert's hugely successful Researching Social Life covers the whole range of methods from quantitative to qualitative in a down-to-earth and unthreatening manner.