Blogging in a male dominated Phlegm by Peter Giger
version 0.1, 2008-10-09 Are there emerging male-dominated Karl Palmås is drawing on Gabriel Tarde networks of power in the the blogos- and Bruno Latour's reading of Tarde, as phere? The Swedish researcher Karl well as Deleuze and Guttari. In particuPalmås argue there is, and he is calling lar Latour's recent endeavor to align it a male phlegm, which in Swedish Tarde with contemporary sociology. My translates to the disgusting word "gubb- main thought when I was reading the arslem". The article is called Follow the ticle was: THIS IS IMPORTANT. VI DO phlegm: Tracing the infinitesimal in NOT WANT PHLEGMATIC ONESEX PATmale networks of power and is pub- TENS IN CYBERSPACE. They do not work lished in the Open Peer Review journal in analogue shapes and will not work in International
Feminist the digital becoming. Noticeable is also
Technoscience1. This article is written that Palmås research is done within the as a reading, affirmation of that arti- male Phlegm and not from the outside. cle, trying to escape the dogmatic cate- He is a male writer who noticed that he gories of academic writing. I am not is trapped in a male network, and he is sure if I have succeded, but my aim was drawing on the theory of other male to write a short text outside the normal writers. This male self reflecting pergame of interpretation and evaluation. spective is too rare. The world could use Starting in and drawing on Palmås arti- more of this perspective. The world cle, but in the same time I hope it will need more of this perspective, and the add something in itself.
need is urgent. There are several interesting points in this article. What if Gabriel Tarde's social theory had been in our sociology
1. http://feministtechnoscience.se/ 2008/07/03/follow-the-phlegm-tracing-theinfinitesimal-in-male-networks-of-powerkarl-palmas/
spines rather than the more essentialistic (my interpretation) Emilé Durkheim? This question is nessecarily somewhat
retorical, but the mere speculation the same actuality. In Tarde's critique of could lead to reconstruction and redi- these "Grand Pattens/Narratives" there rection of the becoming. In some way is something pointing forward to Lythat is what Latour and Palmås is trying otard, but he also reaches for the situto do, pointing to a particular location atedness of knowledge we find in Donna in one the infinite number of crossroads Haraway's epistemology; the situated, tradition has written into the pattens the located, or in his own words, the determining our potential actions. And infinitesimal. in some way they are creating association pattens connecting them to Michael Foucaults early archeology project.
According to Palmås, the key to Tarde's account of society is built on the thought that social relations - in forms
What Tarde reacted aginst in Durkheim like the emerging male phlegm in the and his followers was (among other blogosphere - are to be seen as "the inthings): in order to see a gradual dawn of regularity, order, and logic in social phenomena, we must go outside of the details, which are essentially irregular, and rise high enough to obtain a panoramic view of the general effect. 
It is not difficult to see high modern (quantum) physics in these words, and
tercerebral relation of two minds, the one reflecting the other" . And this is an answer to Emilé Durkheim's explanation "the conformity of millions of men acting together under certain relations" . Palmås calls "the intercerebral relation of two minds" epidemology, which seems appropriate and constructive.
the emergent weight of statistics in so- Seeing the emergent male phlegm in he ciology. The individual person is lost as blogosphere as an epedemie perhaps a tree in the forrest or an individual render it possible to view male power particle in an emergence pattern where networks as an illness which primarily everything has to do with probability. does not affect the carrier, only persons An actual individual person is complete- in the carriers life world - in this case, ly unimportant and only treated as a women. This would shift the problem possibility. Because if you are working from women to men. We could stop with possibilities, everyone can be the talking about women as some inferior same, have the same potentiality - and beings and concentrate the discussion to more frightening, in a way the can have
male networks as infected by something tiction2, synthetic is in this context sick, something treatable.
more valuable than propositions follow-
As Palmås points out, refering to a passage in Deluze & Guttari: it is important to view the social as encompassing both imitation and invention . My own take on this would be that imitation and invention are clinched together, one cannot live without the other. This article, for example, is some kind of imitation or simulacra of Palmås article, which in its turn draws on other authors. But at every person cluster, as Palmås article, as this article, there is some degree of invention. Perhaps one could call it a dialectic, or symbiotic, relationship
ing nessecarily from the premisses - or deterministic
quantitive data. So Palmås reasoning and his take on methodology is one interesting story among other actual and potential stories. I do not think this theoretical, methodological approach ever will lead to the structuralist dream of finding the universal laws, generalizable patterns determining social life. But
process of searching for infinitesimal traces of power networks in the blogosphere will be of great importance as long as these networks assert power. I am looking forward to more articles by Karl Palmås on this subject and hope
My own view of reserach and science the conversation about it will lead to could be described as holistic. I view actions promoting social change. science as intersections of multiple ideas and practices. As I see it Palmås is more reductionistic, searching for "universal laws" in sociology. His mode of social reserach defenitly has a place in my view of science and reserach, but I cannot see quantative reserach as the key to synthetic knowledge. If it is possible to draw the analytic, synthetic dis2. See the article Two Dogmas of Empiricism by W. V. O. Quine (1953) where he is argumenting against the dualistic nature of the analytic/synthetic distinction.
References Quine, W. V. O. (1953). Two Dogmas of Empiricism. From a Logical Point of View, 2, 20â€“ 46.
Are there emerging male-dominated networks of power in the the blogosphere? The Swedish researcher Karl Palmås argue there is, and he is cal...