Social and Cognitive Dimensions of Technological Change

‘Materiality’ has become a hot topic across the humanities and social sciences. Under this single umbrella term a wide range of approaches are trying to find shelter; some of them are so divergent, however, as to barely be in dialogue. They range from philosophy (Harman) and political science (Conolly, Bennett), to history (Trentmann), sociology (Cerulo, Shove, Molotch), social anthropology (Lemonnier, Coupaye, Miller), and archaeology (Shanks; Hodder). Some viewpoints orient themselves towards psychology and cognitive science, others towards biology, while others characterize themselves as relational and practice-based. This broad interdisciplinary concern with materiality, particularly considering both its technological and cognitive dimensions, makes it a suitable theme for a Fyssen seminar.