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(Dis)entangling Barad: Materialisms and ethics

Hollin, Gregory; Forsyth, Isla; Giraud, Eva; Potts, Tracey

(Dis)entangling Barad: Materialisms and ethics Thumbnail


Gregory Hollin

Isla Forsyth

Eva Giraud


In the wake of the widespread uptake of and debate surrounding the work of Karen Barad, this article revisits her core conceptual contributions. We offer descriptions, elaborations, problematizations and provocations for those intrigued by or invested in this body of work. We examine Barad’s use of quantum physics, which underpins her conception of the material world. We discuss the political strengths of this position but also note tensions associated with applying quantum physics to phenomena at macro-scales. We identify both frictions and unacknowledged affinities with science and technology studies in Barad’s critique of reflexivity and her concept of diffraction. We flesh out Barad’s overarching position of ‘agential realism’, which contains a revised understanding of scientific apparatuses. Building upon these discussions, we argue that inherent in agential realism is both an ethics of inclusion and an ethics of exclusion. Existing research has, however, frequently emphasized entanglement and inclusion to the detriment of foreclosure and exclusion. Nonetheless, we contend that it is in the potential for an ethics of exclusion that Barad’s work could be of greatest utility within science and technology studies and beyond.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 1, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 15, 2017
Publication Date 2017-12
Deposit Date Oct 23, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 23, 2019
Journal Social Studies of Science
Print ISSN 0306-3127
Electronic ISSN 1460-3659
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Issue 6
Pages 918-941
Keywords History and Philosophy of Science; General Social Sciences; History
Public URL
Publisher URL


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