Material Culture

Week 9 : Mattering now

How dose new-materialism influence our thinking about research and subjectivity?

We’ve historically treated the world as separable– there are ontologies and epistemologies. New materialism is grounded in the idea that what we know and how we can know are constantly interaction.

Parikka and Tianinen argue that the literally capitalizes in the new materiality share the same as it was, and it’s neutral and has it’s limitation of expressing the more context of feelings or more.

The new materialism with the immaterial philosophy exploring the interaction between each other. As Kirby (2006: 84) claimed ‘There is no outside of language as there is no outside of nature, because then it’s in the nature of nature, to write, to read and to model.’ That is to say, we determine both of our language and natural, they interact and influenced each other at the same time. Based on this, the philosophy is focused on immanence, so the research question is what will going on, not what is there.( Deleuze and Guattari 1980) The immaterial is liquid and fluid as digital world online in community thinking. It changes all the time. So embrace the differences to bring together is the new times method. New materialism involving flows, fluidity and movement, which is not the dualism of the mind/body split that Descartes promoted, but becomes the holistic approach that Spinoza had highlight, the interdependent between.

Agency flow throughout the net work, it’s only part of us as the subjectivity. ‘Subjectivity is considered in the realm of ageing and freedom only through the attainment of reason, rights, and recognition, that is only through the operation of forces-social or cultural- outside the subject.’ (Grosz 2010:140)

There is no epistemology, knowledge is our gain from the material but what we believe in, when the discursive and material interact together. That is the way of how ontology of new materialism construct, and different from the old epistemology of knowledge.

Old materialism = ontology + epistemology

New materialism = material + discursive (idea)

The social context give object ontology meaning, but ontology has no boundary, they have links together. And this kind of link is personally within subjectivity. ‘The embodiment of the subject is to be understood as neither a biological not a sociological category, but rather as a point of overlap between the physical, the symbolic and the sociological.’ (Briadotti 2012: 33)


As our weekly task:

  • Visualise the network that connect you with your object.
  • Think about all the other things that surround you and the object.


For my object,  the connection between me and my amethyst is freely from many dimensions. Even the photo of it or the remixed photo of it would have the same meaning to me, just like I see the real object. As I don’t want to give them categories, so the network seems a bit messy, but that is also how I feel. Thus will include both material and discursive. And so do other stuffs around me, even some of them are not really belong to me But I have countless ties with them and so do they.




Braidotti, R. (2011). Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. 1st ed. Columbia University Press,22-26.

Deleuze, G.Guattari, F. (1980). Mille Plateaux. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

Grosz, E. (2010). ‘Feminism, Materialism, and Freedom’, in Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, eds, New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics, Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Kirby, V. (2006). Judith Butler: Live Theory. London and New York: Continuum.


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