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Technological materiality: Beyond the dualist paradigm

Küchler, S; (2008) Technological materiality: Beyond the dualist paradigm. Theory, Culture and Society , 25 (1) 10.1177/0263276407085159.

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This article introduces a new field of research, which is presently opening up around an abundance of technological solutions that strive to connect, bring together and solidify immaterial streams of information in a material medium. Such engineered materials and technical processes that make customization possible at the stage of materials production do more than reveal to us, through a kind of retro-projection, the social labour and its multiple animations in the lifeless body of the fetishized object, as it challenges the dualist definition of humanity on which science has relied for long. For what is "new" now in material and technical terms, appears not in the guise of what it "is" on the basis of its form and associated interpretation, but as what it "does" or can do of its own accord, revealing a vehicular notion of materiality, one that displays signs of what we call animation or agency without a hidden, interior, invisible essence terms that now appear to be in as much need of revision as our notion of materiality. We must beware of assuming from this that we are moving from a mechanical materialism to a kind of material vitalism, for what is really at stake is a new kind of surface ontology which replaces the opposition of inside and outside, invisible and visible, immaterial and material with a complementary relation that thrives on transformation rather than distinction.

Type: Article
Title: Technological materiality: Beyond the dualist paradigm
DOI: 10.1177/0263276407085159
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences
UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/119316
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