Presencing the Im-Material

Chapter

Abstract

I would like to consider here the rather paradoxical nature of the immaterial: that in order to conceive the immaterial, one must always try to understand it in material terms. I want to suggest that this is not so much a paradox but an artifact of our particular terms of analysis and in fact an ideological effect of the productive dualisms that structure social life (Miller 2005). We need this apparent paradox in order to gird the dualisms that make our social categories possible. What exactly is the relationship between the material and immaterial? I propose to cast this question in different terms; in relation to the notion of propinquity as an alternative way of seeing this relationship, and also as a way of understanding in a different manner what Michael Rowlands has observed regarding the multiplicities of materiality and relative degrees of materiality and immateriality at play in social and historical life (Rowlands 2005). I want to argue that our understandings of the relationship of the material and the immaterial and the issue of multiple materialities might be more profitably understood when considered in terms of propinquity. I will examine this issue in relation to different understandings of the prototype, one derived from the notion of the prototype and its technologies in early Christian life, focusing on Christ as the divine prototype, and the other, a more recent technology of the prototype, namely rapid prototyping, and in particular rapid manufacturing. I want to see how examining both technologies of the prototype, their conceptualizations and implementations might help us gain a better understanding of multiple materialities and of how the relationship between prevailing notions of the material and the immaterial and its apparently paradoxical nature might be more profitably engaged.

Keywords

Migration Shipping Stake Metaphor Undercut 

References

  1. Barad, K. 1998. Getting Real: Technoscientific Practices and the Materialization of Reality. Differences 10(2), 87-128.Google Scholar
  2. Barber, C. 2002. Figure and Likeness: On the Limits of Representation in Byzantine Iconoclasm. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Buchli, V and G. Lucas, eds.. 2001. Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Claassen, C. 1993. Worlds of sense: exploring the senses in history and across cultures. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Claassen, C. and D. Howes. 2006. The museum as sensescape: Western sensibilities and indigenous artifacts. In Sensible Objects: Colonialism, Museums and Material Culture, eds. E. Edwards, C. Gosden, and R. Phillips, 199-222, Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  6. Cummings, B. 2002. Iconoclasm and bibliophobia in the English Reformations, 1521-1558. In Images, Idolatry, and Iconoclasm in Late Medieval England, eds. Dimmick, J.; Simpson, J.; Zeeman, N., 185-206. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Durkheim, E. 2001. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  8. Eck, D.L. 1998. Darśan: Seeing the Divine Image in India. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Engelke, M. 2005. Sticky Subjects and Sticky Objects. In Materiality, ed. D. Miller, 118-139. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Frank, G. 2000. The Memory of the Eyes: Pilgrims to Living Saints in Christian Late Antiquity. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gillespie, S. 2000. Maya Nested Houses: The Ritual Construction of Place. In Beyond Kinship: Social and Material Production in House Societies, eds. Joyce, R. and S. Gillespie, 135-160. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  12. Gell, A. 1998. Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  13. Ginzburg, C. 2002. Wooden Eyes: Nine Reflections on Distance. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  14. Hague, R.J.M., Hopkinson, N. and Dickens, P.M., eds. 2005. Rapid Manufacturing and Industrial Revolution for the Digital Age. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.Google Scholar
  15. Henare, A, M. Holbraad, and S. Wastell, eds. (2007) Thinking Through Things: Theorising Artefacts Ethnographically, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Howes, D., ed. 2005. Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  17. Keane, W. 2005. Signs are not the garb of meaning: on the social analysis of material things. In Materiality, ed. D. Miller, 182-205. Durham N.C.: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Michalski, S. 1993. The Reformation and the Visual Arts: the Protestant Image Question in Western and Eastern Europe. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Miller, D. 2005. Materiality: an introduction. In Materiality, ed. D. Miller, 1-50. Durham N.C.: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Ong, W. 1967. The presence of the word: some prologemena for cultural and religious history. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Pietz, W. 1985. ‘The Problem of the Fetish, part I’. Res 9, 5-17.Google Scholar
  22. Pietz, W. 1987. The Problem of the Fetish, part 2: The Origin of the Fetish. Res 13, 23-45.Google Scholar
  23. Pietz, W. 1988. The Problem of the Fetish, part 3: Bosman’s Guinea and the Enlightenment Theory of Fetishism. Res 16, 105-123.Google Scholar
  24. Pinney, C. 2002. Visual Culture. In The Material Culture Reader, ed. V. Buchli, 81-86. Oxford: Berg Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Povinelli, E. 2001. Radical Worlds: The Anthropology of Incommensurability and Inconceivability. Annual Review of Anthropology 30, 319-34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rorty, R. 1970. Incorrigibility as the Mark of the Mental. Journal of Philosophy LXVII, pp 399-424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rose, N. 1998. Inventing our Selves: Psychology, Power and Personhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Rouse, J. 2002. How scientific practices matter: reclaiming philosophical naturalism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  29. Rowlands, M. 2005. A materialist approach to materiality. In Materiality, ed. D. Miller, 72-87. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Sassen, S. 2007. Territory, Authority, Rights: from medieval to global assemblages. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Thalberg I. 1983. Immateriality, Mind XCII(365), 105-113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Vilaça, A. 2005. Chronically Unstable Bodies: Reflections on Amazonian Corporalities. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11(3), 445-464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Whitehead, A.N. 2000. The Concept of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of AnthropologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations