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“Honest English Breed”: The Thoroughbred as Cultural Metaphor

  • Richard Nash
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)

Abstract

Persistent debates in science studies between constructivist and realist accounts of knowledge claims have for some time been seeking a productive alternative to the rhetorical impasse of naive realist and radical relativist articulations.1 Seeking to negotiate the shifting terrain between these poles, theorists have increasingly been focused on material-discursive models of agency that refuse to privilege one set of commitments over the other, but instead engage equally with both. Engaging with these models of agency, I want to focus attention on the particularly powerful and compelling trope of the Thoroughbred racehorse in early modern cultural formation, and attend to its various significations.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Actor Network Theory Thoroughbred Horse National Sport 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Karen Barad has coined the phrase “agential realism” in describing one such alternative: “The ontology I propose does not posit some fixed notion of being that is prior to signification (as the classical realist assumes), but neither is being completely inaccessible to language (as in Kantian transcendentalism), nor completely of language (as in linguistic monism). That reality within which we intra-act—what I term agential reality—is made up of material-discursive phenomena. Agential reality is not a fixed ontology that is independent of human practices, but is continually reconstituted through our material-discursive intra-actions. … According to agential realism, reality is sedimented out of the process of making the world intelligible through certain practices and not others. Therefore, we are responsible not only for the knowledge that we seek, but, in part, for what exists. Scientific practices involve complex intra-actions of multiple material-discursive apparatuses. Material-discursive apparatuses are themselves phenomena made up of specific intra-actions of humans and non-humans. … Intra-actions are constraining but not determining.” Barad’s notion of “intra-actions,” on which her “agential realism” depends, reconfigures the observer’s relationship to nature: we do not observe the nature around us, but rather we observe our own participation within nature. Karen Barad, “Reconceiving Scientific Literacy as Agential Literacy: Or, Learning How to Intra-act Responsibly within the World,” in Doing Science and Culture ed. Roddey Reid and Sharon Traweek (New York: Routledge, 2000), 221–58; quote from 235–36.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker 2005

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  • Richard Nash

There are no affiliations available

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