This book responds to moves to rematerialize the social sciences, to attend to the stuff of daily life but challenges the social sciences to think beyond objects as stable things. It forwards the argument that objects need to be seen not as stabilising things, or immutable mobiles – as time stilled and materials fixed and conserved in the object form – or even always in the making, as becoming but as unbecoming things. It argues that objects are better seen as things coming apart, as en route to becoming something else, some stuff else, somewhere else. It locates these arguments in economies of demolition, disposal and reincarnation, focusing on object death, materials recovery and re-fabrication, and the sequestration and unleashing of materials classified as wastes. It uses as its exemplar case the classic immutable mobile, the ship – one of the most durable and complex of fabricated objects. It illustrates these arguments through global ethnography conducted in various settings around the world, including South Asia and the EU.
Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: The Dynamics of Object Death Chapter 3: Technologies and Spatialities of Breaking Chapter 4: Breaking Up Big Things Is Hard To Do Chapter 5: Becoming Things Chapter 6: Becoming Wastes Chapter 7: Conclusion
This series establishes the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and historical work on the relations between social, cultural and economic change. It publishes empirically-based research that is theoretically informed, that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural and economic change is framed and made visible, and that is attentive to perspectives that tend to be ignored or side-lined by grand theorising or epochal accounts of social change. The series addresses the diverse manifestations of contemporary capitalism, and considers the various ways in which the `social', `the cultural' and `the economic' are apprehended as tangible sites of value and practice. It is explicitly comparative, publishing books that work across disciplinary perspectives, cross-culturally, or across different historical periods.
We are particularly focused on publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:
The series is actively engaged in the analysis of the different theoretical traditions that have contributed to critiques of the `cultural turn'. We are particularly interested in perspectives that engage with Bourdieu, Foucauldian approaches to knowledge and cultural practices, Actor-network approaches, and with those that are associated with issues arising from Deleuze's work around complexity, affect or topology. The series is equally concerned to explore the new agendas emerging from current critiques of the cultural turn: those associated with the descriptive turn for example. Our commitment to interdisciplinarity thus aims at enriching theoretical and methodological discussion, building awareness of the common ground has emerged in the past decade, and thinking through what is at stake in those approaches that resist integration to a common analytical model.