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  • Szerszynski - Colloidal social theory - author final version

    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory, Culture and Society, ? (?), 2021, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2021 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Social Psychological and Personality Science page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/TCS on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

    Accepted author manuscript, 303 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Colloidal social theory: thinking about material animacy and sociality beyond solids and fluids

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>24/05/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Theory, Culture and Society
Publication StatusAccepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper argues that an exploration of colloids can help us situate human social life within a wider understanding of the sociality and animacy of matter. Colloids are substances such as sols, foams, powders, gels, doughs and pastes that exhibit complex and shifting macroscale physical properties that do not conform to standard conceptions of solids, liquids or gases. Colloids can behave in complex and creative ways because of their topological enfolding of dispersed and continuous matter, in different phases, at a ‘mesoscale’ intermediate between the scale of molecules and that of the macroscale substance. I relate colloids, with their twin phenomena of ‘repetition’ and ‘mediation’, to an understanding of social life as reducible neither to the interaction between separate individuals nor to a transindividual whole. I suggest that human social life participates in a colloidal ‘metapattern’ of repetition and mediation that is manifest across diverse material substrates and spatial scales.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory, Culture and Society, ? (?), 2021, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2021 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Social Psychological and Personality Science page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/TCS on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/