Ont* – Data Politics – a Theoretical Sociology of Verran’s Ontics, Mol’s Ontologies and Barad’s Apparatuses

Ingmar Lippert

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Ontologies, ontics, onto-epistem-ologies – these three words encompass at least four concepts, doubled even when paired with the notion of politics, at least in the work of STS scholars Mol, Barad and Verran. The concepts, in this conceptual space of ont*, are slightly overlapping, in complicated relations, but also afford different analytical work for problematising reality effects in more or less direct action. Empirically, I draw on an ethnography of data practices that, I will argue for, are both directly acting and intervening, but simultaneously (re)producing hegemonic relations. I set out from showing that with the conceptual space of ont*, I can bring forward in analysis how doing data in politically-organisationally situated moments is stabilising and destabilising hegemonic relations. I then analyse how the three scholars various ont* concepts differ in analysing the political effects of mundane data practices. For that, I tell and reanalyse an ethnographic story of data work for, and with, each of the three scholars. I specifically explore reflexively how I nuance the affordances of Verran’s concept ontics for a political analysis of effecting an open realness that matters across direct action and hegemonic relations. I conclude in terms of ont*’s affordances for STS analysis of hegemony and counter-hegemony.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventLocating and Timing Matters: Significance and Agency of STS in Emerging Worlds - Prague/virtual
Duration: 18 Aug 202021 Aug 2020


ConferenceLocating and Timing Matters
Internet address


  • ontics
  • Karen Barad
  • Helen Verran
  • Annemarie Mol
  • ontology
  • Science and Technology Studies


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