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Reconnecting Culture, Technology and Nature

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This exciting new book uses case studies of mundane technologies such as the car and TV remote control to question some of the fundamental dichotomies thought which we make sense of the world.

This book uses case studies of mundane technologies such as the walking boot, the car and the TV remote control to question some of the fundamental dichotomies through which we make sense of the world.

Everyday life is increasingly mediated by technology, but most of the literature on the subject talks only in terms of radical changes. In Reconnecting Culture, Technology and Nature Mike Michael uses case studies of mundane technologies such as the walking boot, the car and the TV remote control to question some of the fundamental dichotomies through which we make sense of the world. Drawing on the insights of Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway and Michel Serres, the author elaborates an innovative conceptual and methodological framework through which new hybrid objects of study are creatively constructed, tracing the ways in which the cultural, the natural and the technological interweave in the production of order and disorder. This book critically engages with, and draws connections between, a wide range of literatures including those concerned with the environment, consumption and the body.
- Mike Michael is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

There are no humans in the world. Or rather, humans are fabricated – in language, through discursive formations, in their various liaisons with technological and natural actors, across networks that are heterogeneously comprised of humans and non-humans who are themselves so comprised. Instead of humans and nonhumans we are beginning to think about flows, movements, arrangements, relations. It is through such dynamics that the human (and the non-human) emerges. This book is about the complex processes of such fabrication. It is concerned with the ways in which the human is not simply ‘tied to’ – that is, an ambiguous product of – the social (however that might be formulated), but also ‘tied to’ much more – the technological, the natural.

But of course those entities that fall into the categories of the technological and the natural are no different. They are ‘tied to’ the social: a technology only ‘works’ because certain configurations of the social, the technological and the natural are in place. Nature’s particular recalcitrance, nature’s evident bounty, partly and complexly, rest on the conduct of networks of humans and technologies and natures.

Consequently, a key task of this book is to make a small contribution to the unravelling of some of these connections. It is to place the social in a complex, heterogeneous nexus of entities and flows. In addressing an audience of ‘social scientists’, the (gently evangelical) aim is to show how a number of categories typical of the social sciences are shot through with the technological and the natural.
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