VIBRANT MATTER A POLITICAL ECOLOGY OF THINGS A JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN CENTER BOOK

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Vibrant Matter

Author : Jane Bennett
ISBN : 9780822391623
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 33.85 MB
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In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.
Category: Philosophy

New Materialisms

Author : Diana Coole
ISBN : 9780822392996
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 32.26 MB
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New Materialisms brings into focus and explains the significance of the innovative materialist critiques that are emerging across the social sciences and humanities. By gathering essays that exemplify the new thinking about matter and processes of materialization, this important collection shows how scholars are reworking older materialist traditions, contemporary theoretical debates, and advances in scientific knowledge to address pressing ethical and political challenges. In the introduction, Diana Coole and Samantha Frost highlight common themes among the distinctive critical projects that comprise the new materialisms. The continuities they discern include a posthumanist conception of matter as lively or exhibiting agency, and a reengagement with both the material realities of everyday life and broader geopolitical and socioeconomic structures. Coole and Frost argue that contemporary economic, environmental, geopolitical, and technological developments demand new accounts of nature, agency, and social and political relationships; modes of inquiry that privilege consciousness and subjectivity are not adequate to the task. New materialist philosophies are needed to do justice to the complexities of twenty-first-century biopolitics and political economy, because they raise fundamental questions about the place of embodied humans in a material world and the ways that we produce, reproduce, and consume our material environment. Contributors Sara Ahmed Jane Bennett Rosi Braidotti Pheng Cheah Rey Chow William E. Connolly Diana Coole Jason Edwards Samantha Frost Elizabeth Grosz Sonia Kruks Melissa A. Orlie
Category: Political Science

Materiality

Author : Daniel Miller
ISBN : 9780822386711
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 71.33 MB
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Throughout history and across social and cultural contexts, most systems of belief—whether religious or secular—have ascribed wisdom to those who see reality as that which transcends the merely material. Yet, as the studies collected here show, the immaterial is not easily separated from the material. Humans are defined, to an extraordinary degree, by their expressions of immaterial ideals through material forms. The essays in Materiality explore varied manifestations of materiality from ancient times to the present. In assessing the fundamental role of materiality in shaping humanity, they signal the need to decenter the social within social anthropology in order to make room for the material. Considering topics as diverse as theology, technology, finance, and art, the contributors—most of whom are anthropologists—examine the many different ways in which materiality has been understood and the consequences of these differences. Their case studies show that the latest forms of financial trading instruments can be compared with the oldest ideals of ancient Egypt, that the promise of software can be compared with an age-old desire for an unmediated relationship to divinity. Whether focusing on the theology of Islamic banking, Australian Aboriginal art, derivatives trading in Japan, or textiles that respond directly to their environment, each essay adds depth and nuance to the project that Materiality advances: a profound acknowledgment and rethinking of one of the basic properties of being human. Contributors. Matthew Engelke, Webb Keane, Susanne Küchler, Bill Maurer, Lynn Meskell, Daniel Miller, Hirokazu Miyazaki, Fred Myers, Christopher Pinney, Michael Rowlands, Nigel Thrift
Category: Social Science

Meeting The Universe Halfway

Author : Karen Barad
ISBN : 082233917X
Genre : Science
File Size : 62.11 MB
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A theoretical physicist and feminist theorist, Karen Barad elaborates her theory of agential realism, a schema that is at once a new epistemology, ontology, and ethics.
Category: Science

Thoreau S Nature

Author : Jane Bennett
ISBN : 0742521419
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 73.82 MB
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Thoreau's Nature: Ethics, Politics, and the Wild explores how Thoreau crafted a life open to "the Wild," a term that marks the startling element of foreignness in every object of experience, however familiar. Thoreau's encounters with nature, Bennett argues, allowed him to resist his all-too-human tendency toward intellectual laziness, social conformity, and political complacency. Bennett pursues this theme by constructing a series of dialogues between Thoreau and our contemporaries: Foucault on identity and power, Haraway on the nature/culture of division, Hollywood celebrities on the Walden Woods Project, the National Endowment for the Humanities on politics and art, and Kafka on the question of political idealism. The pertinence to the late 20th century of Thoreau's pursuit of independent judgment, ecological foresight, and moral nobility becomes apparent through these engagements.
Category: Literary Criticism

Material Feminisms

Author : Stacy Alaimo
ISBN : 9780253013606
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 38.75 MB
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Harnessing the energy of provocative theories generated by recent understandings of the human body, the natural world, and the material world, Material Feminisms presents an entirely new way for feminists to conceive of the question of materiality. In lively and timely essays, an international group of feminist thinkers challenges the assumptions and norms that have previously defined studies about the body. These wide-ranging essays grapple with topics such as the material reality of race, the significance of sexual difference, the impact of disability experience, and the complex interaction between nature and culture in traumatic events such as Hurricane Katrina. By insisting on the importance of materiality, this volume breaks new ground in philosophy, feminist theory, cultural studies, science studies, and other fields where the body and nature collide.
Category: Philosophy

Designing The Olympics

Author : Jilly Traganou
ISBN : 9781317226369
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 69.40 MB
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Designing the Olympics claims that the Olympic Games provide opportunities to reflect on the relationship between design, national identity, and citizenship. The "Olympic design milieu" fans out from the construction of the Olympic city and the creation of emblems, mascots, and ceremonies, to the consumption, interpretation, and appropriation of Olympic artifacts from their conception to their afterlife. Besides products that try to achieve consensus and induce civic pride, the "Olympic design milieu" also includes processes that oppose the Olympics and their enforcement. The book examines the graphic design program for Tokyo 1964, architecture and urban plans for Athens 2004, brand design for London 2012, and practices of subversive appropriation and sociotechnical action in counter-Olympic movements since the 1960s. It explores how the Olympics shape the physical, legal and emotional contours of a host nation and its position in the world; how the Games are contested by a broader social spectrum within and beyond the nation; and how, throughout these encounters, design plays a crucial role. Recognizing the presence of multiple actors, the book investigates the potential of design in promoting equitable political participation in the Olympic context.
Category: Social Science

The Handbook Of Food Research

Author : Anne Murcott
ISBN : 9781472538987
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 23.66 MB
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The last 20 years have seen a burgeoning of social scientific and historical research on food. The field has drawn in experts to investigate topics such as: the way globalisation affects the food supply; what cookery books can (and cannot) tell us; changing understandings of famine; the social meanings of meals - and many more. Now sufficiently extensive to require a critical overview, this is the first handbook of specially commissioned essays to provide a tour d'horizon of this broad range of topics and disciplines. The editors have enlisted eminent researchers across the social sciences to illustrate the debates, concepts and analytic approaches of this widely diverse and dynamic field. This volume will be essential reading, a ready-to-hand reference book surveying the state of the art for anyone involved in, and actively concerned about research on the social, political, economic, psychological, geographic and historical aspects of food. It will cater for all who need to be informed of research that has been done and that is being done.
Category: Social Science

Parables For The Virtual

Author : Brian Massumi
ISBN : 9780822383574
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 82.55 MB
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Although the body has been the focus of much contemporary cultural theory, the models that are typically applied neglect the most salient characteristics of embodied existence—movement, affect, and sensation—in favor of concepts derived from linguistic theory. In Parables for the Virtual Brian Massumi views the body and media such as television, film, and the Internet, as cultural formations that operate on multiple registers of sensation beyond the reach of the reading techniques founded on the standard rhetorical and semiotic models. Renewing and assessing William James’s radical empiricism and Henri Bergson’s philosophy of perception through the filter of the post-war French philosophy of Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault, Massumi links a cultural logic of variation to questions of movement, affect, and sensation. If such concepts are as fundamental as signs and significations, he argues, then a new set of theoretical issues appear, and with them potential new paths for the wedding of scientific and cultural theory. Replacing the traditional opposition of literal and figural with new distinctions between stasis and motion and between actual and virtual, Parables for the Virtual tackles related theoretical issues by applying them to cultural mediums as diverse as architecture, body art, the digital art of Stelarc, and Ronald Reagan’s acting career. The result is an intriguing combination of cultural theory, science, and philosophy that asserts itself in a crystalline and multi-faceted argument. Parables for the Virtual will interest students and scholars of continental and Anglo-American philosophy, cultural studies, cognitive science, electronic art, digital culture, and chaos theory, as well as those concerned with the “science wars” and the relation between the humanities and the sciences in general.
Category: Philosophy

Becoming Undone

Author : Elizabeth Grosz
ISBN : 9780822350712
Genre : Science
File Size : 27.49 MB
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In Becoming Undone, Elizabeth Grosz addresses three related concepts—life, politics, and art—by exploring the implications of Charles Darwin’s account of the evolution of species. Challenging characterizations of Darwin’s work as a form of genetic determinism, Grosz shows that his writing reveals an insistence on the difference between natural selection and sexual selection, the principles that regulate survival and attractiveness, respectively. Sexual selection complicates natural selection by introducing aesthetic factors and the expression of individual will, desire, or pleasure. Grosz explores how Darwin’s theory of sexual selection transforms philosophy, our understanding of humanity in its male and female forms, our ideas of political relations, and our concepts of art. Connecting the naturalist’s work to the writings of Bergson, Deleuze, and Irigaray, she outlines a postmodern Darwinism that understands all of life as forms of competing and coordinating modes of openness. Although feminists have been suspicious of the concepts of nature and biology central to Darwin’s work, Grosz proposes that his writings are a rich resource for developing a more politicized, radical, and far-reaching feminist understanding of matter, nature, biology, time, and becoming.
Category: Science