Materiality and social life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations

Abstract

An important issue in contemporary social theory is how social thought can systematically take materiality into account. This article suggests that one way social theory can do so is by working with an ontology that treats materiality as part of society. The article presents one such ontology, according to which social phenomena consist in nexuses of human practices and material arrangements. This ontology (1) recognizes three ways materiality is part of social phenomena, (2) holds that most social phenomena are intercalated constellations of practices, technology, and materiality, and (3) opens up consideration of relations between practices and material arrangements. A brief practice-material history of the Kentucky Bluegrass region where the author resides illustrates the idea that social phenomena evince changing material configurations over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-149
Number of pages27
JournalNature and Culture
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Social ontology
  • Social practices
  • Society/materiality
  • Society/nature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)

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