Social

"Between a car driver that slows down near a school because she has seen the '30 MPH' yellow sign and a car driver that slows down because he wants to protect the suspension of his car threatened by the bump of a 'speed trap', is the difference big or small? Big, since the obedience of the first has gone through morality, symbols, sign posts, yellow paint, while the other has passed through the same list to which has been added a carefully designed concrete slab. But it is small since they both have obeyed something: the first driver to a rarely manifested altruism - if she had not slowed down, her heart would have been broken by the moral law; the second driver to a largely distributed selfishness...Should we say that only the first connection is social, moral, and symbolic, and that the second is objective and material? No. But if we say that both are social, how are we going to justify the difference between moral conduct and suspension springs? They might not be social all the way through, but they certainly are collected or associated together by the very work of road designers. One cannot call oneself a social scientist and pursue only some links - the moral, legal, and symbolic ones - and stop as soon as there is some physical relation interspersed in between the others. That would render any enquiry impossible." -Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social. 

Alex SiegmanComment