In practice research needs to be messy and heterogeneous. It needs to be messy and heterogeneous, because that is the way it, research, actually is. And also, and more importantly, it needs to be messy because that is the way the largest part of the world is. Messy, unknowable in a regular and routinised way. Unknowable, therefore, in ways that are definite or coherent. Clarity doesn’t help. Disciplined lack of clarity, that may be what we need.
In After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, Law elaborates upon this argument at much greater length. He does so in his own way, drawing on his immersion in the discourses of actor- network theory (ANT) and its successor projects. I also find ANT to be very generative in thinking about methodology but my current preference is to engage messy and heterogeneous objects of inquiry through the frames and figurations provided by Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘geophilosophy’, especially their concepts of rhizome and nomad.