New Materialism and Its Methodological Consequences: An Introduction

  • Ulrike Tikvah KissmannEmail author
  • Joost van Loon


What to do with a term that is too broad to stand for anything specific and too despised to find anyone defending it? We were confronted with this question when reflecting new materialism on our panel session during the 2016 Biannual Conference of the German Sociological Association (“Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie”). Originally, the panel session consisted of four discussants, representing each a specific perspective on materiality. Later, we decided to edit an anthology and to compare more than four approaches. We are aware that some authors currently have worked through the myriad of materialist standpoints and their critiques. However, our edited volume is the only one that explicitly puts the emphasis on the ensuing methodological consequences. From our perspective, it is necessary to broaden the discussion on new materialism by a thorough reflection on empirical methods. Up to now, Deleuzean “assemblages” and so-called posthuman concepts have given rise to what has been termed “post-qualitative” thinking in qualitative methodology. Our publication aims at presenting a wide range of theoretical approaches together with the corresponding conceptualizations for empirical enquiry. Therefore, the contributions each locate themselves within the discussion of new materialism and elaborate on the theoretical assumptions that lead to the respective methodology as well as method. They ask, for example, which requirements have to be met to study matter and whether traditional sociology furnishes sufficient tools for it.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KasselKasselGermany
  2. 2.Catholic University of Eichstätt-IngolstadtEichstättGermany

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