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Material agency: a theoretical framework for ascribing agency to material culture

Journal Article


Abstract


  • This article attempts to articulate a theoretical framework, the target of which is to systematically unearth the conditions validating the ascription of agency to material culture. A wide range of studies, located within the interdisciplinary field known as material culture studies, testify to and aim at (re)uniting the materials of material culture with the notion of agency. In this article the argument is advanced that material entities have agency only if two necessary conditions are met: an ontological condition (agency is an asymmetrical and relational category) and an epistemological condition (material entities mediate and transform human understanding). Hopefully, this way of approaching matters will help to establish a constructive framework for future debates.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Geographic Focus


Citation


  • Kirchhoff, M. 2009, 'Material agency: a theoretical framework for ascribing agency to material culture', Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 1-11.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84874304763

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/artspapers/1801

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 10

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 11

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 3

Abstract


  • This article attempts to articulate a theoretical framework, the target of which is to systematically unearth the conditions validating the ascription of agency to material culture. A wide range of studies, located within the interdisciplinary field known as material culture studies, testify to and aim at (re)uniting the materials of material culture with the notion of agency. In this article the argument is advanced that material entities have agency only if two necessary conditions are met: an ontological condition (agency is an asymmetrical and relational category) and an epistemological condition (material entities mediate and transform human understanding). Hopefully, this way of approaching matters will help to establish a constructive framework for future debates.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Geographic Focus


Citation


  • Kirchhoff, M. 2009, 'Material agency: a theoretical framework for ascribing agency to material culture', Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 1-11.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84874304763

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/artspapers/1801

Has Global Citation Frequency


Number Of Pages


  • 10

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 11

Volume


  • 13

Issue


  • 3