Ontology or 'Virtuology'? On the Nature of the Social
Partly inspired by the writings of Gilles Deleuze (particularly his notion of 'Matter') and those of Geiorgio Agamben (particulary his notion of potentiality), the presentation will give a more general twist to the basic intuition underlying the theories of Bourdieu and Luhmann. The social is not something that is given (Durkheim's social facts) but a virtual realm of potentialities to act together that is contingely ordered by both situational social structures (expectations) and the structured potentialities (habitus) of the participating individuals. Ontology is thus replaced by 'virtuology', or the axiom that everything that 'is' refers to both a virtual space of countless possibilities to act and the intermediating mechanisms that always confine but never determine, in the strict sense, the actualization of of these possibilities. The social therefore consists of 'everything that could happen', 'that which may be expected to happen', and 'that which happens'.