In "The Mangle of Practice" (1995), the renowned sociologist of science Andrew Pickering argued for a re-conceptualization of research practice as a 'mangle,' an open-ended, evolutionary, and performative interplay of human and non-human agency. While Pickering's ideas originated in science and technology studies, this collection aims to extend the mangle's reach by exploring its application across a wide range of fields including history, philosophy, sociology, geography, environmental studies, literary theory, biophysics, and software engineering. "The Mangle in Practice" opens with a fresh introduction to the mangle by Pickering. Several contributors then present empirical studies that demonstrate the mangle's applicability to topics as diverse as pig farming, Chinese medicine, economic theory and domestic-violence policing. Other contributors offer examples of the mangle in action: real-world practices that implement a self-consciously 'mangle-ish' stance in environmental management and software development. Further essays discuss the mangle as philosophy and social theory.
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As Pickering argues, the mangle points to a shift in interpretive sensibilities that makes visible a world of de-centered becoming. This volume demonstrates the viability, coherence, and promise of such a shift, not only in science and technology studies but in the social sciences and humanities much more generally.