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CfP: Objects – What Matters? Technology, Value and Social Change

September 19, 2008

Call for papers
Objects – What Matters? Technology, Value and Social Change
University of Manchester, 2-4 September 2009

As contemporary social theorists continue to signal the need to reconfigure our deliberations on the social through attention to practice, to object-mediated relations, to non-human agency and to the affective dimensions of human sociality, this conference takes as its focus the objects and values which find themselves at centre stage. And we ask, in the context of nearly two decades of diverse disciplinary approaches to these issues, what matters about objects? How are they inflecting our understandings of technology, of expertise, and of social change? How has a focus on objects reconfigured our understandings of how values inflect the ways in which people make relations, create social worlds, and construct conceptual categories? How have objects become integral to human enthusiasms and energies, to transformational ambition, or to the transmission of values across time and space? How do objects move between ordinary and extraordinary states, shade in and out of significance, manifest instability and uncertainty? How do moral and material values attach to objects as they move in space and time? What dimensions do they inhabit and/or reveal?

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