Emergent Publics, Public Emergencies: The Importance of John Dewey in Jane Bennett’s Nonhuman Politics of Vital Materialism

  • Daniel P. RichardsEmail author


The overarching argument of this chapter is that Jane Bennett’s project of vital materialism can be construed as doing pragmatist work, specifically in her use of John Dewey to frame publics as inclusive of the nonhuman and her valuing of this frame as a way to better the politics of disasters. The parallel argument of this chapter is that Dewey’s attention to the roles of nonhumans in generating and affecting publics has been overlooked and, given recent philosophical trends in new materialism and posthumanism, might be rediscovered and uncovered to further the role or pragmatist theory in contemporary political discussions, particularly in the context of disasters involving human and nonhuman bodies. Thus, the author argues, Bennett as a political theorist is both an overlooked pragmatist while simultaneously helping recover an overlooked part of pragmatism.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Old Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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