Performative Experiments

Guggenheim, Michael. 2024. Performative Experiments. In: Rebecca Coleman; Kat Jungnickel and Nirmal Puwar, eds. How To do Sociology With... London: Goldsmiths Press, pp. 297-311. ISBN 9781913380427 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The relationship of sociology to experiments is torn: For both quantitative and qualitatitve sociologists, experiments are the other, the unachievable or problematic descendent of the natural sciences: Unachievable, because proper experiments depend on a level of artificiality that for sociologists makes the results unusable and problematic, because they are the opposite of the naturalistic logic that qualitative sociology loves. But there is a different way to think about experiments. We can think of experiments as generative, as speculative as a way of creating and inventing new social worlds. Instead of denouncing their artificiality, we can take social research more seriously as a mode in which the social is made. Once we have accepted this, we can begin to embrace experiments as formats that do not only produce data about the social world, but in which the social world is reordered in surprising ways. Such a form of experimentation is also an appropriate form of critique for a time when critique as the domain of the academic who can see behind the veil of ideology has vanished. The article will demonstrate these experimental logics by discussing two research projects, one about disaster scenarios and the second about cooking and taste.

Item Type:

Book Section


Experiment, Food, Risk, Sociology, STS, Performative Experiment,

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Invention and Social Process (CISP) [2016-]
Goldsmiths Press


16 October 2022Accepted
9 January 2024Published

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Date Deposited:

21 Dec 2023 10:38

Last Modified:

21 Dec 2023 10:38


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