Bruno Latour on Thinking Like a State


Here’s an excellent speech given by French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour in the Netherlands about the challenges of governing and the role of innovation in addressing the mounting challenges faced by the state.


Never was the state so busy, so overburdened than now. Everyday, we discover to our great dismay more elements to take into account and to throw into the melting pot of public life instead of less.

Not only law and order, not only commerce and war, not only industry and class struggle, not only city life and health, but also (or so it seems) the entire environment. From the quality of the air to the remaindering of river.

From the quarters of herrings to the in the North Sea to the slow disappearance of bees and thus, of pollinated flowers. And what would be the Netherlands without flowers and without herrings?

What the nightmare of the darkest totalitarianism could not even anticipate – that the day would come when the state would have to manipulate the climate itself – the unfortunate, the unprepared, the fragile democratic states of today have now to take in charge in addition to the rest.

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