Political Materials: Excavation, Transformation, Incorporation
Workaround: In current version of Panels 3.8, it seems this body field needs to be populated in order for title above to appear. This note is hidden by custom CSS style. Jack Latimer.
University of Manchester
In recent years, processes of social and political transformation have put nature and the environment squarely on the table as objects of social scientific concern. Climate change, the crisis in energy provision, and the development of biotechnologies in the fields of agriculture and medicine, have refigured the landscape of social scientific interests, and have generated new challenges as to the methods and theories appropriate to the study of these complex phenomena.
At the same time, a vigorous debate has emerged within social and political theory as to the way in which the social sciences have themselves come to rest on a problematic separation between nature and culture in their diagnosis and analysis of issues facing society. Recent approaches have urged a move away from the ‘linguistic turn’ of the 1980s which focused on symbolic and textual approaches, towards a re-appreciation of the material dynamics of social relations (e.g. Latour, Serres and Descola). Key political issues surrounding the ethics of environmental transformation are potentially refigured by these approaches which offer philosophically and ethnographically derived alternatives to dominant modes of describing the challenges facing contemporary societies. Aware of the risk of returning to a form of environmental determinism associated with what were previously known as ‘materialist’ studies of social situations, those involved in this conversation have worked hard to introduce new languages and to re-pose the question of what methods might be adequate to understanding what Descola has termed the domain of the ‘transecological’.
This seminar series brings together key thinkers in this debate from across the social sciences and humanitites to explore the contemporary politics of materiality and the materiality of politics from a range of different philosophical and disciplinary perspectives. The dates of the seminars are as follows:
The seminar series is funded by the School of Social Sciences, and the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC)