Author: Jane Bennett
Publisher: Duke University Press
Release Date: 2009-12-14
In Vibrant Matter the political theorist Jane Bennett, renowned for her work on nature, ethics, and affect, shifts her focus from the human experience of things to things themselves. Bennett argues that political theory needs to do a better job of recognizing the active participation of nonhuman forces in events. Toward that end, she theorizes a “vital materiality” that runs through and across bodies, both human and nonhuman. Bennett explores how political analyses of public events might change were we to acknowledge that agency always emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. She suggests that recognizing that agency is distributed this way, and is not solely the province of humans, might spur the cultivation of a more responsible, ecologically sound politics: a politics less devoted to blaming and condemning individuals than to discerning the web of forces affecting situations and events. Bennett examines the political and theoretical implications of vital materialism through extended discussions of commonplace things and physical phenomena including stem cells, fish oils, electricity, metal, and trash. She reflects on the vital power of material formations such as landfills, which generate lively streams of chemicals, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can transform brain chemistry and mood. Along the way, she engages with the concepts and claims of Spinoza, Nietzsche, Thoreau, Darwin, Adorno, and Deleuze, disclosing a long history of thinking about vibrant matter in Western philosophy, including attempts by Kant, Bergson, and the embryologist Hans Driesch to name the “vital force” inherent in material forms. Bennett concludes by sketching the contours of a “green materialist” ecophilosophy.
Designing the Olympics claims that the Olympic Games provide opportunities to reflect on the relationship between design, national identity, and citizenship. The "Olympic design milieu" fans out from the construction of the Olympic city and the creation of emblems, mascots, and ceremonies, to the consumption, interpretation, and appropriation of Olympic artifacts from their conception to their afterlife. Besides products that try to achieve consensus and induce civic pride, the "Olympic design milieu" also includes processes that oppose the Olympics and their enforcement. The book examines the graphic design program for Tokyo 1964, architecture and urban plans for Athens 2004, brand design for London 2012, and practices of subversive appropriation and sociotechnical action in counter-Olympic movements since the 1960s. It explores how the Olympics shape the physical, legal and emotional contours of a host nation and its position in the world; how the Games are contested by a broader social spectrum within and beyond the nation; and how, throughout these encounters, design plays a crucial role. Recognizing the presence of multiple actors, the book investigates the potential of design in promoting equitable political participation in the Olympic context.
Author: Anne Murcott
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 2013-08-15
Genre: Social Science
The last 20 years have seen a burgeoning of social scientific and historical research on food. The field has drawn in experts to investigate topics such as: the way globalisation affects the food supply; what cookery books can (and cannot) tell us; changing understandings of famine; the social meanings of meals - and many more. Now sufficiently extensive to require a critical overview, this is the first handbook of specially commissioned essays to provide a tour d'horizon of this broad range of topics and disciplines. The editors have enlisted eminent researchers across the social sciences to illustrate the debates, concepts and analytic approaches of this widely diverse and dynamic field. This volume will be essential reading, a ready-to-hand reference book surveying the state of the art for anyone involved in, and actively concerned about research on the social, political, economic, psychological, geographic and historical aspects of food. It will cater for all who need to be informed of research that has been done and that is being done.