Article ID: CBB281059364

(Dis)entangling Barad: Materialisms and ethics (December 2017)


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.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article van Heur, Bas; Leydesdorff, Loet; Wyatt, Sally; (June 2013)
Turning to ontology in STS? Turning to STS through ‘ontology’ (/isis/citation/CBB199076323/)

Article Massimiliano Simons; (2021)
Synthetic biology as a technoscience: The case of minimal genomes and essential genes (/isis/citation/CBB407365411/)

Article Martin Calamari; (2021)
The Metaphysical Challenge of Loop Quantum Gravity (/isis/citation/CBB643976714/)

Book William Demopoulos; (2022)
On Theories: Logical Empiricism and the Methodology of Modern Physics (/isis/citation/CBB978762409/)

Article Andrea Mazzola; (2015)
La controversia sulla teoria dei quanti e la Scuola di Lisbona (/isis/citation/CBB584135644/)

Article Enric Pérez; Joana Ibáñez; (2022)
Indistinguishable elements in the origins of quantum statistics: The case of Fermi–Dirac statistics (/isis/citation/CBB576846777/)

Book Alexander Wendt; (2015)
Quantum Mind and Social Science: Unifying Physical and Social Ontology (/isis/citation/CBB889047690/)

Book Gabor Hofer-Szabo; (2013)
The Principle of the Common Cause (/isis/citation/CBB454051627/)

Article Cristian Soto; Diego Romero-Maltrana; (2020)
Local Selective Realism: Shifting from Classical to Quantum Electrodynamics (/isis/citation/CBB826372933/)

Article Diederik Aerts; Massimiliano Sassoli de Bianchi; Sandro Sozzo; Tomas Veloz; (2020)
On the Conceptuality Interpretation of Quantum and Relativity Theories (/isis/citation/CBB847601811/)

Book Lee, Keekok; (2005)
Zoos: A Philosophical Tour (/isis/citation/CBB000600182/)

Article Chen, Ruey-Lin; (September 2017)
A Linguistic or an Ontological Problem? Some Comments (/isis/citation/CBB899007276/)

Article Andrea Sangiacomo; (2015)
The Ontology of Determination: From Descartes to Spinoza (/isis/citation/CBB003679171/)

Article Papadopoulos, Dimitris; (April 2011)
Alter-ontologies: Towards a constituent politics in technoscience (/isis/citation/CBB185760393/)

Article Jamie Lorimer; (February 2017)
The Anthropo-scene: A guide for the perplexed (/isis/citation/CBB615988878/)

Article Brives, Charlotte; (2013)
Identifying ontologies in a clinical trial (/isis/citation/CBB362744143/)

Article Lynch, Michael; (June 2013)
Ontography: Investigating the production of things, deflating ontology (/isis/citation/CBB361114447/)

Article Clémence Pinel; Barbara Prainsack; Christopher McKevitt; (April 2020)
Caring for data: Value creation in a data-intensive research laboratory (/isis/citation/CBB399588537/)

Authors & Contributors
Lee, Keekok
Sangiacomo, Andrea
Papadopoulos, Dimitris
Heur, Bas van
Leydesdorff, Loet
Wyatt, Sally
Social Studies of Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Foundations of Science
Science in Context
European Physical Journal H
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Cambridge University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Harvard University Press
Technoscience; science and technology studies
Philosophy of science
Quantum theory
Spinoza, Baruch
Descartes, René
Venter, J. Craig
Koonin, Eugene V.
Morowitz, Harold J.
Dirac, Paul Adrien Maurice
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
17th century
16th century
20th century, early
Lisbon (Portugal)
Philadelphia, PA
United States

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment