Special Issue "Feminist new materialisms: Activating ethico-politics through genealogies in social sciences"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Gender Studies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Beatriz Revelles Website E-Mail
University of Granada
Guest Editor
Dr. Waltraud Ernst Website E-Mail
Institut für Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung, Johannes Kepler University Linz
Guest Editor
Dr. Monika Rogowska-Stangret Website E-Mail
Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

New materialisms refer to a specific ethico-political and onto-epistemological turn that is deeply committed to de-centralizing knowledge production, cutting across pre-established dichotomies, and focusing on processes transversing hierarchies of power relations that organize diverse forms of life. In particular, it is a methodology of situating material-discursive practices that form specific socio-cultural phenomena via a relational ontology in which different elements come to being through intra-actions and agency materializes and redefines itself as a more than isolated human agency. New materialist approaches to the creation and dissemination of scientific knowledge are proliferating across diverse disciplines such as arts (e.g. Kontturi, Tiainen, Nauha & Angerer, 2018; Barrett, Bolt & Kontturi, 2017; Barrett & Bolt, 2013), science and technology (e.g. Ernst, Bath & Vehviläinen, 2017), contemporary philosophy (e.g. Cielemęcka & Rogowska-Stangret, 2018; Bülhman, Colman & van der Tuin, 2017; Revelles-Benavente, González & Nardini, 2014; Dolphijn & van der Tuin, 2012; Coole & Frost 2010), cultural and media studies (e.g. Tianen, Kontturi & Hongisto, 2015), and social sciences (e.g. Allhutter, Bargetz, Meißner, and Thiele, forthcoming; Juelskjær, Plauborg, and Adrian, forthcoming; Revelles-Benavente & González Ramos, forthcoming; Bath, Meißner, Trinkaus, and Völker, 2017; Volk, Löw, Leicht, and Meisterhans, 2017; Fox & Allred, 2017; Alaimo & Hekman, 2010). Although in the mentioned publications the ethico-political frames are strongly present, this is not the case for how new materialisms are recognized and represented in the academia in general. Often, the more recognition new materialisms get in academia, the less space and time is devoted to their ethico-political frames. As a result, the feminist, queer, postcolonial, and ecological stakes are given less attention and importance; the ethico-political frames of feminist new materialisms are amputated from the onto-epistemological turn. In the forthcoming issue of “Social Sciences”, the editors are committed to stressing the importance of ethico-political frames to feminist new materialisms.

According to Dolphijn & van der Tuin (2012), new materialisms are about putting it to work, which means that it is not meant to be described, but performed. The editors of this issue would like to add yet another loop that has to do with situating new materialisms as ethico-politics. We would like to put new materialisms to work for feminist, queer, postcolonial, ecological practices, since we want to invite one to understand feminism with new materialisms and vice-versa. Our approach to this field of research is strongly marked by the concepts of genealogies (van der Tuin, 2015), feminicity (Colman, 2014), diffracting diffraction (Barad, 2014), and the processes of becoming and sense-making of our own flexible and multiple identities (Braidotti 2013). That is, our approach has to do with how we build, contemporaneously, our epistemological genealogies affectively to produce points of activitation for feminist, queer, postcolonial, and ecological practices. We invite one to investigate examples for new social bondings and community building beyond identity politics, and we look for contributions dealing with specific instances of realities that engage with the world with an entanglement between feminist ethics, politics, and methodologies.

Possible areas of focus might include:

  • How are feminist new materialisms put to work?
  • How are feminist new materialist methodologies dis/activating ethico-politics?
  • How are queer, postcolonial, or ecological practices dis/entangled within feminist new materialisms and vice versa?
  • What kind of methodologies approach socio-cultural phenomena that deal with social injustices from a new materialist perspective?
  • How is situatedness of knowledge production and feminist, queer, postcolonial, or ecological practices un/implied within feminist new materialisms?
  • Are new materialisms (re)creating scientific canons and hegemonic knowledges? How?
  • How feminist new materialisms face its whiteness, its ghosts, its omissions, and blind spots?
  • In which way do new social bondings and community building provide examples for material entanglements within a new onto-ethico-epistemology?
  • If processes of becoming take place on a local as well as global level, how is this situatedness linked to the idea of performativity of scientific knowledge production?

Important deadlines:

  • Extended abstracts ( 500-word abstract with bibliography and 100-word biography): 15th of November, 2018
  • Notification of acceptance: 17th of December, 2018
  • Receiving full papers: 18th of March, 2019

Dr. Beatriz Revelles
Dr. Waltraud Ernst
Dr. Monika Rogowska-Stangret
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • New Materialisms
  • Feminism
  • ethico-politics

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Entanglements of Difference as Community Togetherness: Faith, Art and Feminism
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(9), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8090264 - 18 Sep 2019
Abstract
Using a feminist, new materialist frame to activate ethico-political research exploring religion and gender at a community level both on Instagram and in arts workshops, we show how sharing ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, gender identities and sexualities through art practice entangles a diffraction [...] Read more.
Using a feminist, new materialist frame to activate ethico-political research exploring religion and gender at a community level both on Instagram and in arts workshops, we show how sharing ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, gender identities and sexualities through art practice entangles a diffraction of differences as ‘togetherness’. Such entanglement creates cross-cultural interfaith understandings and gender diverse acceptance and inclusion online. We use diffraction, intra-action and entanglement as a way of framing our understanding of this ‘togetherness’ and show that human feelings rely on more-than-human assemblages; they rely on homelands, countries, wars, places of worship, orientations, attractions, aesthetics, art and objects of attachment. The feelings of ‘community’ and ‘belonging’ that we discuss are therefore direct products of human and non-human interactions, which we explore through arts-based research. In this article, we apply Karen Barad’s feminist new materialist theories of ‘diffraction’, ‘intra-action’ and ‘entanglement’ to ways of thinking about human experience as intra-acting with aspects of the world that we classify as non-human. We use these new materialist frames to reconceptualize the human feelings of ‘community’, ‘belonging’ and ‘what really matters’ in feminist and intra-religious collaborative art practices and Instagram-based art communities. To better understand and encourage communities of difference, we argue that the feelings of ‘community’ and ‘belonging’, which are central to human subjectivity and experience, are produced by more-than-human assemblages and are central to identity. The methodologies we present are community focused, intra-active, arts-based research strategies for interrogating and understanding expressions of ‘community’ and ‘belonging’. We identify how creative methods are a significant and useful way of knowing about communities and argue that they are important because they are grounded in being with communities, showing that the specificity of their materiality needs to be considered. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Sonic Intra-Face of a Noisy Feminist Social Kitchen
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(9), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8090245 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
This paper asks what is the value of transforming the kitchen into a sonic performative work and public site for art and social practice. A Public Kitchen is formed by recreating the private and domestic space of a kitchen into a public space [...] Read more.
This paper asks what is the value of transforming the kitchen into a sonic performative work and public site for art and social practice. A Public Kitchen is formed by recreating the private and domestic space of a kitchen into a public space through a sonic performance artwork. The kitchen table is a platform for exploring, repositioning and amplifying kitchen tools as material phenomena through electronic and manual manipulation into an immersive sonic performance installation. This platform becomes a collaborative social space, where somatic movement and sensory, sonic power of the repositioned kitchen tools are built on a relational architecture of iterative sound performances that position the art historical and the sociopolitical, transforming disciplinary interpretations of the body and technology as something that is not specifically exclusively human but post-human. A Public Kitchen represents a pedagogical strategy for organizing and responding collectively to the local, operating as an independent nomadic event that speaks through a creative practice that is an unfolding process. (Re)imagining the social in a Public Kitchen produces noisy affects in a sonic intra-face that can contribute to transforming our social imaginations, forming daring dissonant narratives that feed post-human ethical practices and feminist genealogies. This paper reveals what matters—a feminist struggle invaluable in channeling the intra-personal; through the entanglement of the self, where language, meaning and subjectivity are relational to human difference and to what is felt from the social, what informs from a multi-cultural nomadic existence and diffractive perspective. The labored body is entangled with post-human contingencies of food preparation, family and social history, ritual, tradition, social geography, local politics, and women’s oppression; and is resonant and communicates as a site where new sonic techniques of existence are created and experiences shared. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Materialist Feminist Ecological Practices: La Via Campesina and Activist Environmental Work
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(8), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8080235 - 08 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Within the context of new theoretical developments in environmentalist materialism, as inflected by gender issues, this paper attempts to analyze the important work of La Via Campesina (women’s section) both in grassroots activism and in creating a feminist agenda for the transformation of [...] Read more.
Within the context of new theoretical developments in environmentalist materialism, as inflected by gender issues, this paper attempts to analyze the important work of La Via Campesina (women’s section) both in grassroots activism and in creating a feminist agenda for the transformation of human-non-human connections. Methodologically, this paper proceeds by historically situating La Via Campesina and the progressive incorporation of women’s issues as part of the movement. In parallel, La Via Campesina’s insurgent practices of contestation to the exploitation of huge multinational agrobusinesses, to genetically modified crops, and to land-grabbing practices and land usurpation from indigenous populations are illustrated. In conclusion and within the frame of new materialisms, my discussion addresses issues of response-ability, sustainability, and co-habitation to reflect upon the major changes brought about by these new modes of thinking and inhabiting the planet. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Moving with Touch: Entanglements of a Child, Valentine’s Day Cards, and Research–Activism against Sexual Harassment in Pre-Teen Peer Cultures
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(8), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8080226 - 26 Jul 2019
Abstract
In this paper, we respond to feminist new materialist scholars’ calls to explore what research in the field of gendered and sexual violence can be, do, and become. This paper explores the microprocesses of change within the more-than-human child–card entanglements as part of [...] Read more.
In this paper, we respond to feminist new materialist scholars’ calls to explore what research in the field of gendered and sexual violence can be, do, and become. This paper explores the microprocesses of change within the more-than-human child–card entanglements as part of our research–activist campaign addressing sexual harassment in pre-teen peer cultures. Drawing on one of our creative workshops, we generate three analytical readings that map touch. We focus, first, on the intra-action of bodies, objects, and abstractions that reconfigures painful experiences of harassment for recognition; second, on the affective charge in moments and movements of response and resistance; and third, on what else touch can become when it travels across time–space domains as part of our research–activism. Re-engaging with our research–activism, we propose that different kinds of touch converge into a sensing-feeling, inherently ethico-political, matter-realizing apparatus that reconfigures painful experiences of gendered and sexual harassment for recognition, response, and resistance. Connecting to feminist new materialist endeavors to envision and enact response-able research, we propose that ‘moving with touch’ helps us shed light on the microprocesses of change in generative ways—that is, in ways that recraft response-abilities and invite movement. Full article
Open AccessArticle
New Materialist Perspectives on Sex Robots. A Feminist Dystopia/Utopia?
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(8), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8080224 - 26 Jul 2019
Abstract
Feminist discourses on sex robots and robot sex largely focus on the dystopian fear of an exponentiation of hegemonic masculinity. The very possibility of robot sex is put on a level with slavery or prostitution and is rejected as a continuation of male [...] Read more.
Feminist discourses on sex robots and robot sex largely focus on the dystopian fear of an exponentiation of hegemonic masculinity. The very possibility of robot sex is put on a level with slavery or prostitution and is rejected as a continuation of male dominance over women. Proceeding from a feminist new materialist perspective and building both on the refutation of normative definitions of sex and a general openness to the manifold variants consenting adults can engage in in sexual matters, the article presents a queer alternative to this outright rejection. Leaving the beaten tracks of pornographic mimicry, sex robots may in fact enable new liberated forms of sexual pleasure beyond fixed normalizations, thus contributing to a sex-positive utopian future. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Feminist Documentary Cinema as a Diffraction Apparatus: A Diffractive Reading of the Spanish Films, Cuidado, resbala and Yes, We Fuck!
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(7), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8070206 - 02 Jul 2019
Abstract
Following Karen Barad’s diffractive methodology, we encounter feminist documentary cinema as a diffraction apparatus: that is, as technologies that make part of the world intelligible to another part of the world in specific ways, by means of intra-actions between human and non-human agencies [...] Read more.
Following Karen Barad’s diffractive methodology, we encounter feminist documentary cinema as a diffraction apparatus: that is, as technologies that make part of the world intelligible to another part of the world in specific ways, by means of intra-actions between human and non-human agencies and objects of observation. We propose three analytical tools: materiality, emotionality, and performativity. In this article, we analyse two Spanish documentary films that render visible the potential of feminist documentary cinema for building alliances from and against precarity: Cuidado, resbala and Yes, We Fuck! Reading the insights and patterns raised in each case study through one another (i.e., diffractively), we discuss the intra-actions by which each of these films participates in co-creating the real. We end up describing three possible effects of feminist material-discursive practices in documentary cinema. Full article
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