chapter  1
21 Pages

Introduction

The objects of translation
WithTobias Berger, Alejandro Esguerra

Scholars investigating the diffusion of norms and ideas have increasingly started to pay attention to the processes of translations. Intertwined with an overall critique of representation – popularized, for example, in Anthropology through the writing culture debate – translation is understood as an inherently political process. Colonial expansion and the ‘politics of translation’ have historically been deeply intertwined and translation has been a key concept of postcolonial scholarship. In the early 1980s, Bruno Latour, Michel Callon and John Law wrote a series of empirical essays in which they outlined elements of a sociology of translation. Thinking of translation as a process rather than a result opens up the space to take seriously the non-humans that are part of the formation of a scientific or political object. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.