In memoriam Bruno Latour

We mourn the death of Bruno Latour in Paris on the 9th of October. A prolific, unclassifiable and ceaselessly inventive author, Bruno Latour produced work that sits at the crossroads of philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and art – and is always grounded in detailed empirical descriptions of the ways in which humans interact with each other, with ideas, with institutions, and with surrounding non-human entities in given contexts. Though he is best known for his groundbreaking essay We Have Never Been Modern (1993) – probably the most implicitly quoted book in all contemporary social science – and for his revolutionary studies of science and technology (Laboratory Life, with S. Woolgar, 1979; Aramis ou l’amour des techniques, 1992; The pasteurization of France, 2001), Latour also wrote about sociology and what it should be (La sociologie en action, 1989; Reassembling the Social, 2005), the production of law (La fabrique du droit, 2002), faith and religious discourse (Jubiler, 2002), the work of the public in democracy (Le public fantôme, 2008), and a neglected philosophical magnum opus An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2012). Driven by his deep concern over the current climate crisis, Latour spent the last decade inventing new ways of getting people to engage in the front of political ecology, from theatrical performances, via exhibitions and experimental workshops in rural communities, to his final books (Face à Gaïa, 2015; Où atterrir? 2017; Où suis-je? 2021). His work has been widely translated, and most of his books have been published in English by Harvard University Press. Bruno Latour’s many friends across the world will remember above all his boundless generosity of spirit, his love of scientific practice, and his enthusiastic embrace of all forms of creativity.