Archive | Vol. 15/2022 | No. 1
Barla, Josef; Trischler, Ronja [Publishing editor]
Editorial: Neomaterialistische Techniksoziologien – Potentiale, Spannungen, Desiderata / Barla, Josef [Autor:in] … – 2022
Barla, Josef; Trischler, Ronja
Technology, materiality, and gender : a comparative analysis of thought styles in feminist studies of technology
Paulitz, Tanja; Prietl, Bianca; Winter, Martin
Re-turning as responding : technology, race, and the haunting inheritance of materialisations
Exploring how racism has been inscribed in the spirometer – a medical apparatus for measuring lung capacity – this article makes a broader argument about the historical entanglement of race and technology. By way of mobilising Karen Barad’s notion of „re-turning“ as an analytical lens and reading it through insights from Black critical theories of technology and the body, an understanding of the spirometer as an apparatus of bodily production is put forward that allows for the taking into account of how technologies help enact racialised bodies and meanings. Rather than problematising racial bias and the mismeasurement of Black bodies, such an approach to race and technology aims at contributing to both the sociology of technology and the sociology of the body with a critique of empiricist notions of technological objectivity and the idea of a (racialised) body that precedes measurements.
Agential realism and the performativity of digital apparatuses : potentials and pitfalls on the way from subjects and objects to mediated subjectivities and materializations
The ubiquity of digital technologies has long raised the question of the boundaries of the apparatus. This situation requires process-operational concepts of media that assume neither fixed boundaries of media nor subjectivity and instead foreground the performativity of mediality as well as its materiality, linking it to the analysis of social relations of power and inequality. For the development of such a perspective, this paper discusses the productivity of Karen Barad’s Agential Realism in the field of (sociological) media studies and elaborates possibilities for overcoming both humanistic and technicist notions of media. In addition, the article raises the question of how to problematize the ontologisation of the performative in Agential Realism. Finally, the article outlines a posthumanist, operativeprocessual media/cultural/social research of the digital that combines theories of performativity, media theory and the analysis of social relations of power and inequality.
Mediality and divergence : on some neo-materialist and decolonial concepts of non-commonality
In this paper, questions of mediality will be thought through figures / concepts / strategies of neo-materialist, decolonial and STS approaches: Connection and disconnection, mediation and interruption, commonality and difference – mediality and divergence, seem to be concepts that are mutually exclusive. Feminist science and technology studies, new queer-feminist materialism, as well as decolonial critiques of the universalist epistemologies and ontologies of European modernity offer possibilities to intertwine these concepts in other, that is, non-binary ways. It is these different yet interfering concepts, their figures (or conceptual personae) of divergence, diffraction, and uncommons, that this paper attempts to follow. It is not about the divergence of the media themselves, that is, to a certain extent, about media divergence instead of media convergence, not about how different media relate to each other, but rather about the medial enabling of divergent practices, divergent worlds. Divergence is a formulation for the simultaneity of reference and difference, a multidirectional or nonlinear processuality.
Handling and de-activating the user : on the sociomaterial agency of a ‘fitness app’
Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) in many accounts is regarded as a forerunner of approaches summarized as ‘new materialism’. Similar to ANT New Materialism tends to conceive of material entities as having agency, i.e. as active contributors to processes of becoming. At the same time, however, criticisms have been raised against ANT as well as against New Materialism as to their undifferentiated conceptions of agency. Against this background, in this article I will contribute to the conceptual differentiation of agency by drawing on the case of a ‘fitness app’. I will do so by first providing a thick description of the app’s workings and the way it is syntagmatically networked in the technoeconomic frame of the data economy. Second, I will introduce Rammert’s and Schulz-Schaeffer’s gradual notion of agency to specify different types of agency performed by the app, including negative ones. Third, I will draw conceptual conclusions following from my analysis.
Autor*innengespräch: Jannis Ruhnau im Gespräch mit Autor:in Jule Govrin über „Politische Körper. Von Sorge und Solidarität“ (Matthes & Seitz 2022) / Govrin, Jule [Autor:in] … – 2022
Govrin, Jule; Ruhnau, Jannis
[Rezension von: Adrian Favell: The Integration Nation. Immigration and Colonial Power in Liberal Democracies] / Schumann, Daniel [Autor:in] – 2022