Object Sociality: Researching Living Things Simon Roberts Heinrich Schwarz
Workshop Outline: Objectives <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge traditional understandings of objects in social life an...
Workshop Flow <ul><li>Participant and Moderator Introductions (10) </li></ul><ul><li>Heinrich’s Object (10) </li></ul><ul>...
Group Session 1: Personal Objects <ul><li>Steps  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presenting and discussing stories about objects tha...
Key Frameworks <ul><li>Brief summaries of key frameworks for understanding objects from sociology, anthropology and STS: <...
Things in the beginning… WHR Rivers
Carpets, cars , khadi  and  qat <ul><li>Things in cultural context </li></ul><ul><li>Regimes of value </li></ul><ul><li>Bi...
‘ the social life of…”  books documents avatars XML information echo chambers bacteria coffee routers paper ePrint archive...
“ Objects are social relations made durable” Danny Miller
“ Listen to the whisper of things” Credit: Excerpted from Marco Susani’s presentation at Doors8, Delhi 2005
STS & Actor Network Theory
Connecting humans & non-humans Material Social Thing
Object centred environments… “ The expansion of object centred environments which situate and stabilize selves, define ind...
What this means? “ the influx of some of these objects and object-worlds into the social world has brought profound change...
Social software beyond people  <ul><li>Social networks are not just composed of people </li></ul><ul><li>But people connec...
Break (for Practicing Object Relations)
Group Session 2: Researching Objects <ul><li>Reframing objects in research:  </li></ul><ul><li>Steps  </li></ul><ul><ul><l...
Discussion and Implications <ul><li>What are the dimensions of objects that we have found?  </li></ul><ul><li>Do these dim...
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  • Things

    1. 1. Object Sociality: Researching Living Things Simon Roberts Heinrich Schwarz
    2. 2. Workshop Outline: Objectives <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge traditional understandings of objects in social life and analyses </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss key frameworks from sociology, anthropology and science and technology studies </li></ul><ul><li>Reflect on our own experiences of living with and studying object </li></ul><ul><li>Develop new ways to restore objects to the centre of ethnographic research and analysis </li></ul>
    3. 3. Workshop Flow <ul><li>Participant and Moderator Introductions (10) </li></ul><ul><li>Heinrich’s Object (10) </li></ul><ul><li>Group Session 1: Personal Objects (45) </li></ul><ul><li>Key Frameworks (20) </li></ul><ul><li>Break (5) </li></ul><ul><li>Group Session 2: Researching Objects (40) </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion and Implications (20) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Group Session 1: Personal Objects <ul><li>Steps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presenting and discussing stories about objects that have personal meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawing out aspects / levels / roles and functions of these objects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Session Outline </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time to prepare your stories (5 min) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presenting individual stories in small groups (30) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Groups report back in plenary (10) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion and analysis (5) </li></ul></ul>OBJECTIVE: Discussing objects and analysing levels of meaning
    5. 5. Key Frameworks <ul><li>Brief summaries of key frameworks for understanding objects from sociology, anthropology and STS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>STS and ANT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Social Life of Things </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Object Centred Sociality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the dimensions of objects addressed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do they assume about research? </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Things in the beginning… WHR Rivers
    7. 7. Carpets, cars , khadi and qat <ul><li>Things in cultural context </li></ul><ul><li>Regimes of value </li></ul><ul><li>Biographies </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on commodities and exchange </li></ul>
    8. 8. ‘ the social life of…” books documents avatars XML information echo chambers bacteria coffee routers paper ePrint archive speech
    9. 9. “ Objects are social relations made durable” Danny Miller
    10. 10. “ Listen to the whisper of things” Credit: Excerpted from Marco Susani’s presentation at Doors8, Delhi 2005
    11. 11. STS & Actor Network Theory
    12. 12. Connecting humans & non-humans Material Social Thing
    13. 13. Object centred environments… “ The expansion of object centred environments which situate and stabilize selves, define individual identities just as communities or families used to do, and promote forms of sociality that feed on and supplement the forms of sociality studied by social scientists” The Market as an Object of Attachment: Exploring Postsocial Relations in Financial Markets Karin Knorr Cetina & Urs Bruegger, in Canadian Journal of Sociology 25, 2 (2000): 141-168.
    14. 14. What this means? “ the influx of some of these objects and object-worlds into the social world has brought profound change to the way we work and spend our spare time…But it may also bring profound change to the structure of relationships, and call for the rethinking of sociality along lines that include objects in the concept of social relations.” Traders' engagement with markets: A postsocial relationship. Knorr-Cetina K. & Bruegger, U, in Theory, Culture & Society , 2002:19, 161–185
    15. 15. Social software beyond people <ul><li>Social networks are not just composed of people </li></ul><ul><li>But people connected by a shared object </li></ul><ul><li>The social networking services that are successful are built around objects </li></ul>See: Jyri Engström's “Why some social network services work and others don't — Or: the case for object-centred sociality”
    16. 16. Break (for Practicing Object Relations)
    17. 17. Group Session 2: Researching Objects <ul><li>Reframing objects in research: </li></ul><ul><li>Steps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recall the ‘thickness’ of personal objects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider what the frameworks suggest about research practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflect on your own past research experience with objects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask how in practice we can research living things </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Discussion and Implications <ul><li>What are the dimensions of objects that we have found? </li></ul><ul><li>Do these dimensions require different research approaches and strategies? </li></ul><ul><li>How should we conceptualise object sociality theoretically and how should we research it in practice? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it make sense to speak of object sociality? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we understand social relations without understanding objects and object relations? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we need to understand our relations to objects as objects to understand what it means to be human? </li></ul>

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