Demonstrations of strength during street protests, Colin Powell demonstrating the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2003 at the United Nations headquarters, Steve Jobs’s highly publicized presentations of new Apple products, YouTube demos of makeup products by famous influencers: public demonstrations are omnipresent in social life. Yet they are often perceived as isolated, even anecdotal events. Reversing the perspective, Claude Rosental will show that they are worthy of systematic examination. He will explore the underlying dynamics of what he calls a “demonstration society” – see Claude Rosental, The Demonstration Society. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press, 2021. He will show how, both in today's world and historically, public demonstrations constitute not only tools to prove, persuade, and promote, but fundamental forms of interaction and exchange, and, in some cases, attempts to lead the world.
About the Speaker
Claude Rosental is Research Professor of Sociology at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and a member of Centre de Recherche Français à Jérusalem (CRFJ, Jerusalem). Before that he taught or conducted research at various institutions in France, Norway, the UK, and the US. He was Director of the Centre d’Étude des Mouvements Sociaux at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) [Institute for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences] in Paris, France. He has conducted research in the fields of social studies of science and technology, and social, political and cultural theory. His publications include: The Demonstration Society (MIT Press, 2021), Logical Skills: Social-Historical Perspectives (coed. with J. Brumberg-Chaumont, Birkhäuser-Springer, 2021), The Internationalization of Scientific Research (coed. with M. Dubois & Y. Gingras, Special Issue of the French Sociological Review, 57(3), 2016), Weaving Self-evidence: A Sociology of Logic (Princeton University Press, 2008), La cognition au prisme des sciences sociales [Social Scientific Approaches to Cognition] (coed. with B. Lahire, EAC, 2008) and Les capitalistes de la science. Enquête sur les démonstrateurs de la Silicon Valley et de la NASA [The Capitalists of Science: Investigations on Silicon Valley and NASA Demonstrators] (CNRS Éditions, 2007).