We Have Never Been Individuals New Materialist Ethnography

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: 416
Oral Presentation
Cornelia SCHADLER , Department of Sociology, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany
In 2011 I finished an ethnographic project on the transition to parenthood from the perspective of new materialism (Schadler 2013a, 2013b) and started another empirical project on definitions of family from this perspective. My talk will summarize the theoretical principles and onto-epistemological foundations of these theories and how they are transformed into an apparatus (Barad) that act as a tool for actual empirical research. I will also discuss how the researcher, research and a research field are established within this process. Theoretically we cannot perceive the researcher as a subject acting on a filed, but the researcher is becoming with and figured with it during research. However, this process is also producing research outcomes, which are therefore not a product created by the actions of the researcher, but a part of the practice of researching. The researcher is formed as the part of the practice that assembles outcomes and provides them in writing and talking to research communities.

In particular I rely on the work of Karen Barad, Rosi Braidotti, Donna Haraway and Stefan Hirschauer. In my talk I also want to provide information how I derived a concrete method of analysis from the principles of new materialism. To collect data I used interviews, observations, documents and self enactments. For analysis a developed a coding process, that reconstructs practices and the establishment of the boundaries, which separate components/participants in order to make them perceivable. The consequence is an ethnographic transcription of the figurations of interest (e.g. becoming parents) and the worlds they are becoming with. The researchers’ tools become an apparatus (Barad), which is becoming with a research environment. As a consequence research has its part in the formation of those boundaries, which are researched and in the figurations of the “object”, while we study how the object is figured.