New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics

New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics

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Edited by Diana H. Coole, Edited by Samantha Frost

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  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 234mm x 22mm | 500g
  • Publication date: 9 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: North Carolina
  • ISBN 10: 0822347725
  • ISBN 13: 9780822347729
  • Sales rank: 43,961

Product description

New Materialisms rethinks the relevance of materialist philosophy in the midst of a world shaped by forces such as digital and biotechnologies, global warming, global capital, and population flows. Moving away from modes of inquiry that have prioritized the study of consciousness and subjectivity over matter, the essays in this collection show that any account of experience, agency, and political action demands renewed attention to the urgent issues of our own material existence and our environment. The editors propose "new materialisms" as a way to take matter seriously without falling into the conceptual dualism that posits an opposition between matter and thought, materialism and idealism, and body and mind. They locate new materialisms within post-humanist discourses, explaining that new materialist philosophies do not privilege human bodies, but rather view human bodies as one of many bodies, or agential materialities, in the world. By revealing how emerging accounts of matter, materiality, and corporeality are combining with developments in science and technology to demand radically new conceptions of nature, agency, and social and political relationships, New Materialisms makes a significant contribution to the recent resurgence of interest in phenomenology and materialist philosophy in the humanities. Contributors: Sara Ahmed; Jane Bennett; Rosi Braidotti; Pheng Cheah; Rey Chow; Diana Coole; William E. Connolly; Jason Edwards; Samantha Frost; Elizabeth Grosz; Sonia Kruks; Melissa A. Orlie

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Author information

Diana Coole is Professor of Political and Social Theory at Birkbeck College, University of London, England. She is the author, most recently, of "Merleau-Ponty and Modern Politics after Anti-Humanism." She is a Leverhulme Research Fellow, 2010-13.Samantha Frost is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, the Gender and Women's Studies Program, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of "Lessons from a Materialist Thinker: Hobbesian Reflections on Ethics and Politics."

Review quote

"The essays collected here--authored by leading political theorists, feminist and cultural critics--examine the 'choreographies of becoming' and move beyond constructivism and humanism to track processes of de- and re-materialization. The effect is to scramble habitual categories of thought - active versus passive, inert versus animate, political versus ontological, causality versus spontaneity--and force us to think materiality, not matter for, as the editors put it: 'materiality is always something more than "mere" matter: an excess, force, vitality, relationality or difference that renders matter active, self-creative, productive, unpredictable.'"--Bonnie Honig, author of Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy "This is a strong and timely collection, one that could very well direct future discussions of the 'new materialisms' toward an experimental, process-oriented, and politically-engaged 'new ontology.'"--Ellen Rooney, Brown University

Back cover copy

"This is a strong and timely collection, one that could very well direct future discussions of the 'new materialisms' toward an experimental, process-oriented, and politically-engaged 'new ontology.'"--Ellen Rooney, Brown University

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introducing the New Materialisms / Diana Coole and Samantha Frost The Force of Materiality A Vitalist Stopover on the Way to a New Materialism / Jane Bennett; Nondialectical Materialism / Pheng Cheah; The Inertia of Matter and the Generativity of Flesh / Diana Coole; Impersonal Matter / Melissa A. Orlie Political Matters Feminism, Materialism, and Freedom / Elizabeth Grosz; Fear and the Illusion of Autonomy / Samantha Frost; Materialities of Experience / William E. Connolly; The Politics of "Life Itself" and New Ways of Dying / Rosi Braidotti Economies of Disruption The Elusive Material: What the Dog Doesn't Understand / Rey Chow; Orientations Matter / Sara Ahmed; Simone de Beauvoir: Engaging Discrepant Materialisms / Sonia Kruks; The Materialism of Historical Materialism / Jason Edwards Bibliography; Contributors; Index