This paper is a rough draft that I need to rewrite and expand, and that I would like to publish. All comments, and suggestions for publication, are welcome.
Latour’s modes are hegemonic selections of élite elements in a domain’s assemblage that are given definitory power over the essence of the domain, an essence which Latour considers to be semiotic. In each case a mode of enunciation is put to the trial of the intuition of the experts in that domain, sole interlocutors authorised to “protest” against a proposed characterisation of the relevant mode. In a strange move where the authorities are defined as the only legitimate protestors, Latour enshrines prophets and priests as the “experts” in religious utterance, and the rest must accept their opinion, or be regarded as “gnostics” whether confessional or secularised. Only the experts can protest, the testimony of the gnostics (i.e. virtually everybody) is rejected as resulting from the “wrong” apocalypse.