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Site ReadingFiction, Art, Social Form$
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David J. Alworth

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183343

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183343.001.0001

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Supermarket Sociology

Supermarket Sociology

(p.25) 1 Supermarket Sociology
Site Reading

David J. Alworth

Princeton University Press

Taking Latour's engagement with the literary as a point of departure, this chapter offers a new model for thinking between the disciplines of literary studies and sociology. At the crux of this model is a site, the supermarket, that dramatizes nonhuman agency as a mundane yet complex fact of social experience—a fact that Latour theorizes throughout his writings and that a host of literary authors, above all Don DeLillo, have sought to explore in different ways. It offers a reading of the novel in terms of Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) and demonstrates how a site that is crucial to both the novelist and the sociologist can facilitate a new interdisciplinary conversation, a mode of inquiry that would divert from a more traditional sociology of literature whose objective would be to identify the deep significance of literary form in the social forces that subtend aesthetic production.

Keywords:   Bruno Latour, site reading, literary studies, sociology, supermarket, nonhuman agency, novel, Actor-Network-Theory, ANT

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