CFP: The Politics of Materiality

Call for Papers: Annual Sociology Conference 2013
New School for Social Research
New York City
Saturday, April 6, 2013

Can national and global politics be viewed through the lens of our
material environments? Can the architecture of a city square incite
political demonstration? How, through the use of drones, are
populations transformed into targets? Do Nike shoes define
citizenship? Where might we locate power in reproductive technologies?

Sociologists often locate political power in the spaces and dynamics
between agency and structure: organizationally embedded,
interactionally negotiated, or structurally entrenched. The spaces we
inhabit and the objects with which we interact, however, also shape
our politics and in turn become the means and targets of political
struggles. Objects, spaces and technologies can be activated as tools
for empowerment or experienced as carriers of inequality. Protesters
can use the internet to gather at a rally while security forces can
mobilize these technologies for surveillance and political repression.
A wall can be erected as a frontier of expansion or an oppressive
barrier against admission.

From Marx?s commodification of social life and Durkheim?s totems to
Foucault?s disciplinary technologies and Latour?s interobjectivity,
social theorists have discussed objects, spaces and technologies as
shaping, framing and structuring social relations. We aim to use those
social theoretical frameworks in order to gain a fresh perspective on
local, national, or global political events in the last decade.

We encourage the submission of research papers from diverse
disciplinary perspectives that analyze the power of objects, the
political life of technologies, and the relationship between politics
and the natural/built environment. We invite papers addressing these
and related themes:

- Borders, camps, cities, and imperial spaces ? natural/built
environment, place, and power
- Symbols, objects, and political regimes
- Sovereignty of the people and new technologies
- Consumer citizenship, commodities, and identity politics
- Tools and places of oppression/weapons and spaces of resistance
- Aesthetic politics
- Technomorphism and embodied technologies
- The body objectified and bodily technologies, disability studies
- Spaces of production and empowerment
- The political agency of objects
- Material feminism
- Tangible symbols of religion

The conference is open to graduate students as well as post-doctoral
students and faculty. Those interested, please submit a 300-word
abstract by December 7th, 2012 along with your name, department, and
designation. Please send submissions in the e-mail body and as PDF to
materiality2013nssr@gmail.com.
We will inform selected presenters by December 31st, 2012.

We are looking forward to your submissions!