Kultura mezi materialitou a diskursem: případ Higgsova bosonu a „božské částice“

Jan Váňa

Abstrakt

The article discusses the neglect that cultural sociology pays to the sciences and technology.
Even though the “strong program” in cultural sociology claims that cultural meanings exist in every social
fact, its research focuses mainly on culture in a narrow sense, e.g. ethics, aesthetics, politics, memory, religion
etc. I overcome this shortcoming by development of two approaches: 1) ethnography of a scientific facility
based on science and technology studies (STS); and 2) cultural-sociological analysis of symbols, discourses
and narratives related to the research of a subatomic particle called the Higgs boson. Re-interpreting
ethnographic studies conducted at CERN and sociological research focused on quantum physics, the article
demonstrates that media and popular-cultural discourses on the Higgs boson are tightly related to its material
aspects. While the strong program traditionally presumes the arbitrariness of symbolic structures, the
“iconic turn” in cultural sociology stresses the importance of the aesthetic material surface in the resulting
meaning. Conceiving the Higgs boson as a “secular icon”, we can see that the practically oriented actions of
researchers at CERN relate to cultural meanings that reach far beyond the “laboratory” of quantum physics.

Klíčová slova

cultural sociology; strong program; iconic turn; materiality; Higgs boson; quantum physics

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https://doi.org/10.5817/SOC2017-2-123