Introduction: When Things Break Down

  • Philippe SormaniEmail author
  • Alain Bovet
  • Ignaz Strebel


The introduction co-authored by Philippe Sormani, Alain Bovet and Ignaz Strebel spells out the empirical and theoretical interest of studying repair work in situ against the background of recent developments in STS (its principal “materiality” foci), classic ethnographies of repair work (in both rural and urban settings), and “Broken World Thinking” (Jackson 2014) more broadly. Drawing upon phenomenological and pragmatist insights, the introduction argues for a broadened perspective on the actual unfolding of multiple situations of material disruption, whilst emphasizing the heuristic interest of breakdown(s) for re-examining repair, rethinking infrastructure maintenance, and relocating materiality. In so doing, the introduction makes explicit the rationale that articulates the three book sections—“Settings,” “Networks,” and “Politics”—and its successive ordering of chapters.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Sormani
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Alain Bovet
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ignaz Strebel
    • 4
  1. 1.STS LabUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.CEMS-IMMEHESSParisFrance
  3. 3.HEG—Haute école de gestion ArcUniversity of Applied Sciences and Arts Western SwitzerlandNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institute of Geography and SustainabilityUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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