Jean-Paul Fourmentraux (2021):
In: Hennion, Antoine/Levaux, Christophe (eds.), Rethinking music through science and technology studies. London: Routledge, pp. 268-282.
Extract: “But alongside these studies in the sociology of art, other sociological domains accorded importance to the objects that provide for and result from coordinated human activities. The sociologies of sociotechnical networks, situated action, and distributed cognition proved less reluctant to incorporate objects! into their framework for analyzing activities, proposing a more direct approach to the articulation of technical and social facts. Accordingly, the relation to technical objects would no longer solely concern instrumentation or alienation but could also extend to modes of frequentation and contact or even of play. This interpretive shift offered anew perspective on different domains of social life, from the fabrication of scientific discoveries (Latour and Callon 1991) or industrial innovations (Vinck 1999) to the most ordinary of activities, now equipped with a wide variety of technical objects that themselves would be put to the test of social relations (Boltanski and Thévenot 1991; Conein, Dodier, and Thévenct 1993). By resituating social interactions in the places, practices, and worlds of objects, these sociologies offer alternatives to the approaches of technical determinism and social constructivism. No longer seen as mere signs or symbolic representations of the social and cultural issues leading to or following from their manipulation, the technical objects now equip social exchanges and participate in the dynamic of the interaction by giving the actors new resources and reference points. Two new notions—-prises and mediation—would enable the sociology of art to take advantage of these reflexive advances. The notion of prise put forth by Christian Bessy and Francis Chateauraynaud seeks to explain, in an active mode, the perceptual grasp as well as the assessment of objects; the concept was chosen for its symmetrical character, implying both that which gives affordance to (donne prise a) and that which exerts control over (a prise sur) (Bessy and Chateauraynaud 1995).” (p. 268-269)