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There is broad acceptance across the Humanities and Social Sciences that our deliberations on the social need to take place through attention to practice, to object-mediated relations, to non-human agency and to the affective dimensions of human sociality. This Companion focuses on the objects and materials found at centre stage, and asks: what matters about objects?

Objects and Materials explores the field, providing succinct summary accounts of contemporary scholarship, along with a wealth of new research investigating the capacity of objects to shape, unsettle and exceed expectations. Original chapters from over forty international, interdisciplinary contributors address an array of objects and materials to ask what the terms of collaborations with objects and materials are, and to consider how these collaborations become integral to our understandings of the complex, relational dynamics that fashion social worlds.

Objects and Materials will be of interest to students and scholars across the social sciences and humanities, including in sociology, social theory, science and technology studies, history, anthropology, archaeology, gender studies, women’s studies, geography, cultural studies, politics and international relations, and philosophy.


1. Objects and Materials: An Introduction by Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox Part I: Material Qualities Part I Introduction by Gillian Evans and Eleanor Conlin Casella 2. An Interview with Artist Helen Barff by Gillian Evans 3. A Poor Workman Blames His Tools or How Irrigation Systems Structure Human Actions by Maurits W. Ertsen 4. The Material Construction of State Power: Artifacts and the New Rome by Chandra Mukerji 5. The Material Politics of Solid Waste: Decentralization and Integrated Systems by Penny Harvey 6. From Stone to God and Back Again: Why We Need Both Materials and Materiality by Soumhya Venkatesan 7. New Materials and Their Impact on the Material World by Susanne Küchler and Peter Oakley 8. Decay, Temporality and the Politics of Conservation: An Archaeological Approach to Material Studies by Eleanor Conlin Casella and Karina Croucher Part II: Affective Objects Part II Introduction by Eleanor Conlin Casella and Kath Woodward 9. Boxing Films: Sensation and Affect by Kath Woodward 10. Tactile Compositions by Kathleen Stewart 11. Bodies and Cadavers by Maryon McDonald 12. Domination and Desire: The Paradox of Egyptian Human Remains in Museums by Karen Exell 13. A Dream of Falling: Philosophy and Family Violence by Patricia Ticineto Clough 14. Sarah Kofman’s Father’s Pen and Bracha Ettinger’s Mother’s Spoon: Trauma, Transmission and the Strings of Virtuality by Griselda Pollock 15. Spectral Objects: Material Links to Difficult Pasts for Adoptive Families by Steven D. Brown, Paula Reavey and Helen Brookfield Part III: Unsettling Objects Part III Introduction by Elizabeth Silva 16. Haunting in the Material of Everyday Life by Elizabeth Silva 17. The Fetish of Connectivity by Morten Axel Pedersen 18. Useless Objects: Commodities, Collections and Fetishes in the Politics of Objects by Nicholas Thoburn 19. The Unknown Objects of Object-Orientation by Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey 20. How Things Can Unsettle by Martin Holbraad 21. Objects Are the Root of All Philosophy by Graham Harman Part IV: Interface Objects Part IV Introduction by Nicholas Thoburn 22. True Automobility by Tim Dant 23. The Environmental Teapot and Other Loaded Household Objects: Re-connecting the Politics of Technology, Issues and Things by Noortje Marres 24. Interfaces: The Mediation of Things and the Distribution of Behaviours by Celia Lury 25. Idempotent, Pluripotent, Biodigital: Objects in the ‘Biological Century’ by Adrian Mackenzie 26. Real-ising the Virtual: Digital Simulation and the Politics of Future Making by Hannah Knox 27. Money Frontiers: The Relative Location of Euros, Turkish Lira and Gold Sovereigns in the Aegean by Sarah Green 28. Algorithms and the Manufacture of Financial Reality by Marc Lenglet Part V: Becoming Object Part V Introduction by Chris McLean and Gillian Evans 29. Animal Architextures by John Law and Marianne Elisabeth Lien 30. Objects Made Out of Action by Matei Candea 31. Quantitative Objects and Qualitative Things: Ethics and HIV Biomedical Prevention by Mike Michael and Marsha Rosengarten 32. Potentialities and Possibilities of Needs Assessment: Objects, Memory and Crystal Images by Chris McLean 33. Digital Traces and the ‘Print’ of Threat: Targeting Populations in the War on Terror by Alexandra Hall and Jonathan Mendel 34. Intangible Objects: How Patent Law is Redefining Materiality by Mario Biagioli 35. Thinking through Place and Late ANT Spatialities by Robert Oppenheim 36. What Documents Make Possible: Realising London’s Olympic Legacy by Gillian Evans

Author Bio

Penny Harvey is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester and Director of CRESC, the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change. Eleanor Conlin Casella is Professor of Historical Archaeology at the University of Manchester.

Gillian Evans is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester.

Hannah Knox is a Research Fellow at CRESC, the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at the University of Manchester.

Christine McLean is a Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

Elizabeth B. Silva is Professor of Sociology at the Open University.

Nicholas Thoburn is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Manchester.

Kath Woodward is Professor of Sociology at the Open University.

Name: Objects and Materials: A Routledge Companion (Hardback)Routledge 
Description: Edited by Penny Harvey, Eleanor Conlin Casella, Gillian Evans, Hannah Knox, Christine McLean, Elizabeth B. Silva, Nicholas Thoburn, Kath Woodward. There is broad acceptance across the Humanities and Social Sciences that our deliberations on the social need to take place through attention to practice, to object-mediated relations, to non-human agency and to the affective dimensions of human...
Categories: Sociology & Social Policy, Cultural Theory, Sociology of Culture, Consumption