A somatechnics of moralism: new materialism or material foundationalism

Dennis Bruining

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12 Citations (Scopus)


A growing number of critical theorists are associating themselves with a movement now commonly referred to as new materialism. What characterizes this movement, broadly speaking, is a reconceptualization of matter in response to an alleged erasure of materiality in postmodern, poststructuralist, and/or constructivist theories. In this way of thinking, those associated with the so-called linguistic turn are said to have upheld (and reinforced) the dichotomy of nature/culture by focusing on culture to the detriment of nature. However, in this paper, I will argue that new materialist texts are often founded upon and supported by a problematic moralistic rhetoric. Employing a somatechnic framework, I will show that the ethical investment guiding much of the new materialism could be thought of as a particular vitalism, or rather, as I am conceiving it, a material foundationalism, in which matter possesses an inherent life-force.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-168
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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