Shall We Just Call Them Sociomaterial Black Boxes or Take a Peek Inside? An Anthropologist’s Impressionist Remarks

  • Pierre Lemonnier
Part of the Technology, Work and Globalization book series (TWG)


The anthropology of objects and techniques has recently stopped talking about techniques and materiality from afar and turned to exploring in detail the specificities of what materiality actually ‘does’ in human societies and culture. This led to the demonstration of the highly specific role of materials, artefacts and physical actions in people’s everyday lives, namely an essential participation in the sharing of a common world and way of life. We propose that ‘sociomateriality’ may similarly be based on round-trips between theory and the ethnographic description and analysis of concrete situations and not on a never-ending search for philosophical formulations of the mysteries of the ‘constitutive entanglement’ of the ‘material’ and the ‘social’ that every discipline interested in technology or materiality rightly takes for granted anyway.


Anthropology of techniques Blending power of things Body techniques Bundling of material qualities Material action Material culture Materialism Post-dualism 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Lemonnier
    • 1
  1. 1.Aix-Marseille University CREDOMarseilleFrance

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