Multi-Level Analysis with New Materialist Ethnographies

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:54
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Cornelia SCHADLER, University of Vienna, Austria
A recent nexus of theories subsumed under the notion of new materialisms is increasingly recognized within sociology. Theories, such as the agential realism of Karen Barad (2003, 2007), the posthumanism of Donna Haraway (2008) or the deleuzian materialism of Rosi Braidotti (2002) claim to rewrite definitions of humans, overcome dualisms and representationalism, include material processes into research and redefine the relationship of structural and individual levels in research. This also includes the definition of research cases as inherently contextual and multi-layered. A multi-level analysis of a specific research interest is an integral part in research from this perspective.

My talk will include a brief introduction to new materialist thought and new materialist methodology (Schadler, forthcoming). In the following I will illustrate the new materialist-multi-level analysis with (qualitative) empirical examples from two projects. A project on the transition to parenthood (from 2008 to 2012) concerned the entanglements of different levels and layers analysing policy documents, interviews, observations, bulletin boards and diaries (Schadler, 2013, 2014). Another example from a recent project on practices of collective parenting will show how legal discussions (custody laws), private practices (organizing family live with more than two parents), physical environments (buildings, cities, apartments) and public discourses (about family norms) are creating specific multi-layered situations and worlds of which collective parents are a part of.


Barad, Karen (2007): Meeting the Universe Halfway. Duke University Press

Haraway, Donna (2008). When Species Meet. University of Minnesota Press

Braidotti, Rosi (2002). Metamorphosis. Polity Press

Schader, Cornelia (forthcoming). Some enactments of a new-materialist ethnography: Methodological Framework and Research Processes. Qualitative Research

Schadler, Cornelia (2014). Key practices of the transition to parenthood through the lens of a new materialist ethnography. Current Sociology 62/1