Chapter 6: Displacement as Ordering
Ordering is always partial and in-the-making, and all attempts to act on the world must compete with other, equally possible modes of ordering (Kendall and Wickham 2001; Law and Mol 2008). As we have seen in previous chapters, the organization of the global politics of the Internet has in this way been marked by constantly shifting alliances, ongoing organizational experiments and recurring contestations of attempts at ordering. So far, however, we have observed a stabilization and consolidation of organizational techniques, subject positions and issue areas. Focusing on the relationship between stability and transformation in hybrid forums, this chapter will show how ordering also takes the shape of dissidence and instability and will substantiate the somewhat counter-intuitive claim that ‘instability and multiplicity actually contributes to the continuity of the program’ (Singleton 1998: 86). This concern with instability as a form of ordering ties in with discussions about longevity in STS, and particularly more recent calls for a closer scrutiny of difference, instability and looser networks in what has been termed the post-ANT literature (Law and Singleton 2005). While the emergence of ANT was driven by a discomfort with categories and explanations based on conceptions of order, and sought to pave the way for a sociology of association and ordering (Law 1994; Latour 2005a), much of the work in this tradition actually ended up only focusing on successful stabilizations, or what have been termed ‘macro actors’ (Czarniawska 2008: 21). But ordering also involves messier and more fluctuating configurations. This chapter captures the...
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