Material things and phenomena have come to vie with belief and thought as worthy subjects of inquiry in the interdisciplinary study of religion. Yet, to the extent that we are justified in speaking of a “material turn”, no consensus has arisen about what materiality is or does. This article offers a preliminary sketch of the diverse terrain of material religion studies, delineating three dominant approaches to religious materiality as well as an emerging alternative. It argues that the dominant approaches—respectively characterized by an emphasis on symbolism, material disciplines, and phenomenological experience—continue to privilege the human subject while material things themselves struggle to come into sharp focus. That is, they remain anthropocentric and beholden to the biases against materiality deeply entrenched in the study of religion. Such biases may be negotiated more successfully via the emerging alternative “new materialism”.
Social scientists working in Africa have begun to take an interest in roads and road building. This interest seems to stem from both theoretical and real-world developments: on the one hand, the “material turn” and the recent explosion of interest in infrastructure are drawing scholars’ attention to the “material substrate” that underlies social life; on the other, roads-focused development funding, low-cost Western credit, and the growing role of Chinese investment on the continent have resulted in a proliferation of road-building projects ranging from small rural feeder roads to large megaprojects. This is a moment of rapid change, and focusing on the concrete manifestations of that change offers scholars a rich focal point for understanding the more diffuse effects of a continental trend to make infrastructure the basis of development.
Patrick O'Hare and Anna Szolucha
are embedded. This is rather characteristic of her human-centred ethnography, which devotes little space to the material-turn or post-human approaches to the study of waste. This is perhaps why Millar's book is explicitly about human labour and lives
Anthropology of Infrastructure and Debates around “Green” Transit
Heather Anne Swanson
resurgence in the past two decades—substantial enough that many scholars have referred to the phenomenon as a “material turn.” 7 Informed by the focus on more-than-human agency in science and technology studies, 8 anthropologists have begun to pay attention
Collective responses to shrinking water access among farmers in Arequipa, Peru
Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen
. In Tony Bennett and Patrick Joyce , eds., Material powers: Cultural studies, history, and the material turn . New York : Routledge . Harvey , Penny , and Hannah Knox . 2012 . The enchantments of infrastructure . Mobilities 7 ( 4
Competing Forms of Knowledge in Rachel's Tomb in Tiberias
its extensive impacts on social life. The extraordinary power of thinking spatially to explain social processes and actions has helped to inspire a material turn in the study of religion and a growing engagement with phenomenological dimensions of
Engaging Anthropological Legacies toward Cosmo-optimistic Futures?
Sharon Macdonald, Henrietta Lidchi, and Margareta von Oswald
their agency and affordances, their capacities to “act back on the world, manifesting resistances, capacities, limits and potential” (Harvey and Knox 2014: 4)—has been promoted by the material turn across a number of disciplines (see, e.g., Coole and
A Case Study of Interpretative Museology, Public Engagement, and Digital Development
Nicolas Bigourdan, Kevin Edwards, and Michael McCarthy
, making it more widely accepted and entering museum galleries that once focused on materials from a much earlier era ( McCarthy 2011: 1046 ; Harvey 2009 ). This was also supported by the nascent “material turn” in archaeology (generally) as a means of
Toward an (In-flight) Understanding of the Sensuousness of Mobilities Design
Ole B. Jensen and Phillip Vannini
material context. More precisely, we will be focusing on things, units, and materials in an attempt to contribute to the ongoing material turn in mobility research. To illustrate the usefulness of our theoretical ideas we draw illustrative material from two
material turned over to an unknown layman for further differentiation, the amoeba of Doris’s “7-headed informer” metamorphosed with the “Invisible LP” through another dilletant (sic). Distributing potential rather than certainty, the band shows how despite