Skip to main content

Materiality of Cooperation—An Introduction

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Materiality of Cooperation

Abstract

Thinking cooperation through materiality addresses questions of production and impact of both media and social order, and, most importantly, their interconnections. It also points, and this is the central claim of this book, towards the situation as an important methodological concept for social order and its spatio-temporal organisation—a concept which needs updating if we want to deal with the relation between media and sociality adequately. For us, both materiality and cooperation can only be grasped through their situated temporalisations and can only be historicised on this basis. This allows us to include media in this picture: materiality of cooperation deals with the socio-material and cultural-technical reciprocal fabrication and production of media and social order beyond communication and semiotic practices. As we will establish in this introduction, methodologically, in order to access the materiality of cooperation through situations it is necessary to update the influential micro-sociological concept of the situation: a ‘methodological situationalism’ (Knorr Cetina, 1981) based on the centrality of the local situation created in situ by physically co-present actors (Goffman, 1964, 1981). We suggest the notion of a post-situationalism: by starting off from situated practices—rather than an individual situation formed by practices—and by including media practices. The present volume—like the Siegen Collaborative Research Centre ‘Media of Cooperation’ in which it originated—takes these questions on the situated, cooperative and material constitution of media practices as its starting point for different theoretical, historical and empirical endeavours presented in the chapters.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. 1.

    According to the rules of transatlantic post-war discourses on ‘media’ and ‘communication’, this definition addresses not so much an everyday understanding of communication as the question of what constitutes media in general (Schüttpelz, 2005).

  2. 2.

    Here, we draw on recent discussions concerning materiality in practice theory (Gherardi, 2017; Schmidt, 2019) and New Materialisms (Barad, 2003; Haraway, 1991) which—while not at the centre of the volume—we also want to contribute to with our arguments on situated cooperative media practices.

  3. 3.

    In contrast to cultural studies research on the materiality of communication (Gumbrecht & Pfeiffer, 1994) which focused primarily on semiotic practices and the symbolic potential of media.

  4. 4.

    On the concept of the condition of cooperation following Alfred Schütz and Harold Garfinkel, see Schüttpelz (2015).

  5. 5.

    This already addresses (implicit) possibilities of connecting to media theories (see Thielmann, 2012; Schüttpelz, 2013). Accountability points to the fundamental representational dimension of practices, i.e. their mediality. Doing something means to make it accountable to others by making it visible, hearable, witnessable, etc.

  6. 6.

    Nevertheless, this criticism has not remained unchallenged on the part of ethnomethodology—artefacts and other mediators (such as the temporal order of the laboratory table; Lynch et al., 1983) were dealt with early on (Koschmann 2008, p. 364).

  7. 7.

    See Engell et al. (2008), Engell and Siegert (2013), Kneer et al. (2008), Neubert (2013), Schabacher (2013), Spöhrer and Ochsner (2017) and many more.

  8. 8.

    Comparable turns of phrase can still be found today, especially in German-language media theory, as if it were still necessary to emphasise what is common sense anyway.

  9. 9.

    This points to a pragmatic understanding of stability and instability (Strauss, 1993, pp. 285 ff.). Even apparently stable things can—with sufficient effort or simply after sufficient time has passed—become unstable. And vice versa, unstable things are situationally hardened and appear in the next moment as stable unquestioned conditions of a subsequent situation.

  10. 10.

    See Coole and Frost (2010), van Dyke (2015), Kissmann and van Loon (2019).

References

  • Abend, P. (2013). Geobrowsing. Google Earth & Co. – Nutzungspraktiken einer digitalen Erde. transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Akrich, M. (1992). The description of technological objects. In W. E. Bijker & J. Law (Eds.), Shaping technology/building society: Studies in sociotechnical change (pp. 205–224). MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801–831.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bardini, T. (2000). Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, coevolution, and the origins of personal computing. Stanford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (2003 [1966/1969]). Die gesellschaftliche Konstruktion der Wirklichkeit. Eine Theorie der Wissenssoziologie (19th edition). Fischer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bergmann, J. (2000). Ethnomethodologie. In U. Flick, E. von Kardorff, & I. Steinke (Eds.), Qualitative Forschung. Ein Handbuch (pp. 118–135). Rowohlt.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blumer, H. (1986 [1969]). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boltanski, L., & Thévenot, L. (2006). On justification: Economies of worth (C. Porter, Trans.). (New edition). Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowker, G. C., & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting things out: Classification and its consequences. MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brohm, H., Gießmann, S., Schabacher, G., & Schramke, S. (Eds.). (2017). ilinx, Berliner Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft, 4: Workarounds. Praktiken des Umwegs. Philo Fine Arts.

    Google Scholar 

  • Callon, M., & Latour, B. (1981). Unscrewing the big leviathan: How actors macro-structure reality, and how sociologists help them to do so. In K. Knorr & A. Cicourel (Eds.), Advances in social theory and methodology (pp. 277–303). Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Callon, M. (1986). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the Fishermen of St Brieuc Bay. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief: A new sociology of knowledge? (pp. 196–223). Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Coole, D., & Frost, S. (Eds.). (2010). New materialisms: Ontology, agency, and politics. Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Diaz-Bone, R. (2011). Soziologie der Konventionen. Grundlagen einer pragmatischen Anthropologie. Campus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dieter, M., Gerlitz, C., Helmond, A., Tkacz, N., van der Vlist, F., & Weltevrede, E. (2018). Store, interface, package, connection: Methods and propositions for multi-situated app studies. Working Paper Series CRC Media of Cooperation, 4 (August). urn:nbn:de:hbz:467-13410.

    Google Scholar 

  • Döring, J., & Thielmann, T. (Eds.). (2009). Mediengeographie. Theorie – Analyse – Diskussion. transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • van Dyke, R. (Ed.). (2015). Practicing materiality. University of Arizona Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Engell, L., & Siegert, B. (2013). Editorial. Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung, 4(2), 5–10.

    Google Scholar 

  • Engell, L., Siegert, B., & Vogl, J. (Eds.). (2008). Archiv für Mediengeschichte: Agenten und Agenturen. Universitätsverlag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garfinkel, Harold. (2008 [1951]). Memo # 2: Organizational behavior project, October 4, 1951: Some problematical areas in the study of communicative work. In A. W. Rawls (Ed.), Toward a sociological theory of information (pp. 248–265). Paradigm Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gherardi, S. (2017). Sociomateriality in Posthuman practice theory. In A. Hui, T. Schatzki, & E. Shove (Eds.), The nexus of practices: Connections, constellations, practitioners (pp. 38–51). Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibson, J. J. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gießmann, S., & Schabacher, G. (2014). Umwege und Umnutzung oder: Was bewirkt ein Workaround? Diagonal. Zeitschrift der Universität Siegen 35: Alte Sachen, neue Zwecke 35: 13–26.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gießmann, S. (2018). Für eine Medienpraxistheorie der Delegation. Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 2: Homo Faber (pp. 133–148).

    Google Scholar 

  • Gießmann, S., Röhl, T., & Trischler, R. (Eds.). (2019). Materialität der Kooperation. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. (1964). The neglected situation. American Anthropologist, 66(6), 133–136.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction ritual: Essays on face-to-face interaction. Anchor Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. University of Pennsylvania Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. (1983). The interaction order: American sociological association, 1982 presidential address. American Sociological Review, 48(1), 1–17.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodwin, C. (2017). Co-operative action. Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gumbrecht, H. U., & Ludwig Pfeiffer, K. (Eds.). (1994). Materialities of communication. Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haraway, D. (1991). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. In Simians, cyborgs and women: the reinvention of nature (pp. 183–201). Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hirschauer, S. (2014). Intersituativität. Teleinteraktionen und Koaktivitäten jenseits von Mikro und Makro. In B. Heintz & H. Tyrell (Eds.), Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Special Issue ‘Interaktion – Organisation – Gesellschaft revisited. Anwendungen, Erweiterungen, Alternativen’ (pp. 109–133).

    Google Scholar 

  • Hirschauer, S. (2016). ‘Verhalten, Handeln, Interagieren. Zu den mikrosoziologischen Grundlagen der Praxistheorie’. In H. Schäfer (Ed.), Praxistheorie. Ein soziologisches Forschungsprogramm (pp. 45–67). transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • James, W. (1950 [1890]). The principles of psychology. Dover.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kalthoff, H., Cress, T. & Röhl, T. (2016). Einleitung: Materialität in Kultur und Gesellschaft. In H. Kalthoff, T. Cress, & T. Röhl (Eds.), Materialität. Herausforderungen für die Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften (pp. 11–41). Fink.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kissmann, U. T., & van Loon, J. (Eds.). (2019). Discussing new materialism: Methodological implications for the study of materialities. Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kittler, F. (1986). Grammophon, film, typewriter. Brinkmann und Bose.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kneer, G., Schroer, M., & Schüttpelz, E. (Eds.). (2008). Bruno Latours Kollektive: Kontroversen zur Entgrenzung des Sozialen. Suhrkamp.

    Google Scholar 

  • Knoblauch, H. (1991). Die Welt der Wünschelrutengänger und Pendler: Erkundungen einer verborgenen Wirklichkeit. Campus.

    Google Scholar 

  • Knorr Cetina, K. (1981). The micro-sociological challenge of macro-sociology: Towards a reconstruction of social theory and methodology. In K. Knorr Cetina & A. V. Cicourel (Eds.), Advances in social theory and methodology: Toward an integration of micro- and macro-sociologies (pp. 1–47). Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Knorr Cetina, K. (2009). The synthetic situation: Interactionism for a global world. Symbolic Interaction, 32(1), 61–87.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koschmann, T. (2008). CHAT, ethnomethodology, distributed cognition, actor-network theory. Pick one. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 15(4), 361–365.

    Google Scholar 

  • Köster, I., & Schubert, K. (Eds.). (2009). Medien in Raum und Zeit. Maßverhältnisse des Medialen. transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Latour, B., & Woolgar, S. (1986 [1979]). Laboratory life: The social construction of scientific facts. SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Latour, B. (1996). On interobjectivity. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 3(4), 228–245.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Loenhoff, J. (Ed.). (2012). Implizites Wissen: Epistemologische und handlungstheoretische Perspektiven. Velbrück.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lynch, M., Livingston, E., & Garfinkel, H. (1983). Temporal order in laboratory work. In K. K. Cetina & M. Mulkay (Eds.), Science observed: Perspectives on the social study of science (pp. 205–238). Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Magaudda, P., & Piccioni, T. (2019). Practice theory and media infrastructures: ‘Infrastructural disclosures’ in smartphone use. Sociologica, 13(3), 45–58.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mayer, V., Banks, M. J., & Caldwell, J. T. (Eds.). (2009). Production studies: Cultural studies of media industries. Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • McLuhan, M. (1954). Notes on the media as art forms. Explorations: Studies in Culture and Communication, 2(August), 6–13.

    Google Scholar 

  • McLuhan, M. (2011 [1964]). Understanding media: The extensions of man. Critical edition. In T. W. Gordon (Ed.), (2nd ed.). Gingko Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merleau-Ponty, M. (1964 [1960]). The philosopher and his shadow. In R. C. McCleary Bermes (Ed.), Signs (pp. 159–181). Northern University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, C., Streeck, J., & Scott Jordan, J. (Eds.). (2017). Intercorporeality: Emerging socialities in interaction. Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Neubert, C. (2013). Innovation, Mobilisierung, Transport. Zur verkehrstheoretischen Grundlegung der Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie in Bruno Latours Aramis, or the Love of Technology. In C. Neubert & G. Schabacher (Eds.), Verkehrsgeschichte und Kulturwissenschaft. Analysen an der Schnittstelle von Technik, Kultur und Medien (pp. 93–140). transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nicolini, D. (2017). Is small the only beautiful? Making sense of ‘large phenomena’ from a practice-based perspective. In A. Hui, T. Schatzki, & E. Shove (Eds.), The nexus of practices: Connections, constellations, practitioners (pp. 98–113). Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pinch, T. (2010). The invisible technologies of Goffman’s sociology: From the merry-go-round to the internet. Technology and Culture, 51(2), 409–424.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reckwitz, A. (2002). Towards a theory of social practices: A development in culturalist theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2), 243–263.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ribes, D. (2014). Ethnography of scaling: Or, how to fit a national research infrastructure in the room. In CSCW’ 14. Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (pp. 158–170). ACM Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Richterich, A. (2014). Geomediale Fiktionen. Map Mashups – Zur Renaissance der literarischen Kartographie in der digitalen Literatur. transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schabacher, G. (2013). Medium Infrastruktur. Trajektorien soziotechnischer Netzwerke in der ANT. Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung, 4(2), 129–148.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schäfer, H. (2013). Die Instabilität der Praxis: Reproduktion und Transformation des Sozialen in der Praxistheorie. Velbrück.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schatzki, T. R. (2002). The site of the social: A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change. Pennsylvania State University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Schatzki, T. R. (2016). Practice theory as flat ontology. In G. Spaargaren, D. Weenink, & M. Lamers (Eds.), Practice theory and research: Exploring the dynamics of social life (pp. 28–42). Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scheffer, T. (2004). Materialities of legal proceedings. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, 17(4), 356–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schmidt, R. (2019). Materiality, meaning, social practices: remarks on new materialism. In U. T. Kissmann & J. van Loon (Eds.), Discussing new materialism: Methodological implications for the study of materialities (pp. 135–150). Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schüttpelz, E. (2005). Von der Kommunikation zu den Medien/In Krieg und Frieden (1943–1960). In J. Fohrmann (Ed.), Gelehrte Kommunikation. Wissenschaft und Medium zwischen dem 16. und 20. Jahrhundert (pp. 483–551). Böhlau.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schüttpelz, E. (2013). Elemente einer Akteur-Medien-Theorie. In T. Thielmann & E. Schüttpelz (Eds.), Akteur-Medien-Theorie (pp. 9–67). transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schüttpelz, E. (2015). Gebrochenes Vertrauen, provozierte Rechenschaft. Harold Garfinkels soziologische Kernfusion. In U. Bröckling (Ed.), Das Andere der Ordnung: Theorien des Exzeptionellen (pp. 275–298). Velbrück.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schüttpelz, E., & Meyer, C. (2017). Ein Glossar zur Praxistheorie: ‘Siegener Version’. Navigationen – Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturwissenschaften, 17(1), 155–163.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schüttpelz, E. (2017). Infrastructural media and public media. Media in Action, 1(1), 13–61. https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/16235.

  • Schütz, A. (1982 [1962]). On multiple realities. In M. Natanson (Ed.), Collected papers I. The problem of social reality. Phaenomenologica (Collection Publiée Sous le Patronage des Centres d’Archives-Husserl) (Vol. 11). Martinus Nijhoff. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-2851-6_9.

  • Shove, E., Pantzar, M., & Watson, M. (2012). The dynamics of social practice: Everyday life and how it changes. Sage.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Spöhrer, M., & Ochsner, B. (Eds.). (2017). Applying the actor-network theory in media studies. IGI Global.

    Google Scholar 

  • Star, S. L., & Griesemer, J. R. (1989). Institutional ecology, ‘translations’ and boundary objects. Amateurs and professionals in Berkeley’s museum of vertebrate zoology, 1907–39. Social Studies of Science, 19(3), 387–420.

    Google Scholar 

  • Star, S. L. (2017). Grenzobjekte und Medienforschung. S. Gießmann & N. Taha (Eds.). transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Star, S. L. (1999). The ethnography of infrastructure. American Behavioral Scientist, 43(3), 377–391.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stengers, I. (2010 [1997]). Cosmopolitics I: The science wars. University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Strauss, A. L. (1993). Continual permutations of action. Aldine.

    Google Scholar 

  • Suchman, L. (2007). Human-machine reconfigurations: Plans and situated actions (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thielmann, T. (2012). Taking into account. Harold Garfinkels Beitrag für eine Theorie sozialer Medien. Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft, 6(1), 85–102.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thielmann, T., & Schüttpelz, E. (Eds.). (2013). Akteur-Medien-Theorie. transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thielmann, T. (2013). Digitale Rechenschaft. Die Netzwerkbedingungen der Akteur-Medien-Theorie seit Amtieren des Computers. In T. Thielmann & E. Schüttpelz (Eds.), Akteur-Medien-Theorie (pp. 377–424). transcript.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thomas, W. I., & Thomas, D. S. (1928). The methodology of behavior study. In The child in America: Behavior problems and programs (pp. 553–575). Alfred A. Knopf.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

Collaborative volumes are not obsolete if they use their format sensibly. With this in mind, we have deliberately given the contributors room for longer texts that would go beyond the scope of common journal publications. The intensive readings and collaborative criticism, both during and after the Siegen conference ‘Media Practices in Cooperative Situations’ in December 2016, can be considered a separate, collaborative form of peer review. The editors would like to thank all authors, who have responded to our constant questions and enquiries. The contributions of Thomas Scheffer and Petra Löffler were made possible by evening lectures and workshops of the Siegen Lecture and Workshop Series on Practice Theory.

We would like to thank Anja Höse, Thomas Blum, Jenny Berkholz, Sina Bär, Christiane Böker, Damaris Lehmann and Esra Otto for organising the conference, guest lectures and workshops.

We would like to thank Thomas Blum, Christiane Böker, Esra Otto, Simon Czech, Nina Selbach and Eva Müller for their help in proofreading the texts. For their work on the English translation of this volume, we thank Mark Schreiber and Julene Knox. We would like to thank Carolin Gerlitz, Bina Mohn, Erhard Schüttpelz and Nadine Taha for critical questions and further comments during a panel discussion at the German Society of Media Studies’ (GfM) annual conference ‘Industry’ in September 2018.

Springer Publishing House reliably looked after this book thanks to Vivek Gopal and Dagmar Kern. The financial and contractual matters were excellently handled by Susanne Kokel of the Collaborative Research Center Media of Cooperation.

The volume was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – Project-ID 262513311 – CRC 1187 Media of Cooperation. The CRC’s subprojects A01 (Digital Network Technologies Between Specialisation and Universalisation), A04 (Normal Operating Failures: Structure and Change of Public Service Infrastructures), B04 (Digital Publics and Social Transformation in the Maghreb) as well as the CRC’s Lecture and Workshop Series on Practice Theory contributed to its production.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sebastian Gießmann .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Gießmann, S., Röhl, T., Trischler, R. (2023). Materiality of Cooperation—An Introduction. In: Gießmann, S., Röhl, T., Trischler, R., Zillinger, M. (eds) Materiality of Cooperation. Medien der Kooperation – Media of Cooperation. Springer VS, Wiesbaden. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-39468-4_1

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics