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Innovation through withdrawal. Contribution to a sociology of detachment
Revue Française de Sociologie
To develop the understanding of innovation processes conceptualized in terms of asso- ciation through the "sociology of translation" (cf. actor-network theory) studies, this article analyses innovation processes in terms of dissociation and detachment mechanisms, exami- ning innovation through "withdrawal;" that is, innovation based on reducing or withdrawing use of a practice-"subtracting," "detaching"-a given artefact. Specifically, it focuses on the shift to farming techniques that have eliminated ploughing, bringing to light four major mechanisms constitutive of dissociation: centrifugal association; making entities and asso- ciations visible; making other entities and associations invisible; bringing together or "asso- ciating" new entities. The study helps refine our understanding of the detachment processes at work in innovation, shedding light in this particular case on transfers between public research institutes, industrial companies, farmers and citizens seeking to develop new farm production models.
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