Mattering Press

This page shows the latest publications (in descending order of publication date) from Mattering Press.

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Last updated: 2023-12-01 01:00:14

May 2022

Democratic Situations

cover for Democratic Situations

Editor: Andreas Birkbak

Editor: Irina Papazu

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2022

Democratic Situations places the making and doing of democratic politics at the centre of relational research. The book turns the well-known sites of contemporary Euro-American democracy – elections, bureaucracies, public debates and citizen participation – into fluctuating democratic situations where supposedly untouchable democratic ideals are contested and warped in practice. The empirical cases demonstrate that democracy cannot be reduced to theoretical schemes of conflict, institutions or deliberation. Instead, they offer an urgently needed renewal of our understanding of democratic politics at a time when conventional ideas increasingly fail to capture current events such as Brexit, Trump and Covid19.

April 2022

Concealing for Freedom: The Making of Encryption, Secure Messaging and Digital Liberties

Author: Ksenia Ermoshina

Author: Francesca Musiani

Foreword by: Laura DeNardis

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2022

Concealing for Freedom: The Making of Encryption, Secure Messaging and Digital Liberties sets out to explore one of the core battlegrounds of Internet governance: the encryption of online communications. Current debates around encryption have fundamental implications for our individual liberties and collective presence on the Internet. Encryption of communications at scale and in increasingly usable ways has become a matter of public concern, especially since Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations. A new cryptographic imaginary is taking hold, which sees encryption as a necessary precondition for the formation of networked publics. At the same time, there have been major evolutions and accelerations in the field of secure communications, prompted in part by the cryptography community’s renewed efforts to create next-generation secure messaging protocols and applications. The book explores developers’ actions and their interactions with other stakeholders, for instance users, security trainers, standardising bodies, and funding organizations. It also examines their interactions with the technical artifacts they develop, in which a core common objective is to create tools that “conceal for freedom” even as how this objective is met differs according to technical architectures, the user publics being targeted and the tools’ underlying values and business models.

November 2021

Engineering the Climate: Science, Politics and Visions of Control

cover for Engineering the Climate: Science, Politics and Visions of Control

Author: Julia Schubert

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2021

Notions of the impending climate crisis have pushed a set of highly contested techno-scientific measures onto policy agendas around the world. Suggestions to deliberately alter, to engineer, the Earth’s climate have gained political currency in recent years not as a positive vision of techno-scientific innovation, but as a daunting measure of last resort. The controversial status of various so-called climate engineering proposals raises a simple, yet pressing question: How has it has come to this? And, more specifically, how did such contested measures earn their place on policy agendas, despite enormous scientific complexities and fierce political contestation?

October 2021

With Microbes

cover for With Microbes

Author: Matthäus Rest

Editor: Charlotte Brives

Editor: Salla Sariola

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2021

Without microbes, no other forms of life would be possible. But what does it mean to be with microbes? With Microbes sets microbes and the multiple ways they exist around, in and on humans at center stage. In this book, 24 social scientists and artists attune to microbes and describe their complicated relationships with humans and other beings. The book shows the multiplicity of these relationships and their dynamism, through detailed ethnographies of the relationships between humans, animals, plants, and microbes. Ethnographic explorations with fermented foods, waste, faecal matter, immunity, antimicrobial resistance, phages, as well as indigenous and scientific understandings of microbes challenge ideas of them being simple entities: not just pathogenic foes, old friends or good fermentation minions, but so much more. By describing these complex, dynamic, and ever-changing entanglements between humans and microbes, the chapters raise crucial points about how microbes are ‘known’ and how social scientists can study microbes with ethnographic methods, more often than not in the absence of microscopes, models, and computations. Following these various entanglements, the book tells how these relations transform both humans and microbes in the process.

August 2021

Sensing In/Security: Sensors as Transnational Security Infrastructures

cover for Sensing In/Security: Sensors as Transnational Security Infrastructures

Editor: Nina Klimburg-Witjes

Editor: Nikolaus Poechhacker

Editor: Geoffrey C. Bowker

Foreword by: Lucy Suchman

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2021

Sensing In/Security: Sensors as Transnational Security Infrastructures investigates how sensors and sensing practices enact regimes of security and insecurity. It extends long-standing concerns with infrastructuring to emergent modes of surveillance and control by exploring how digitally networked sensors shape securitisation practices. Contributions in this volume examine how sensing devices gain political and epistemic relevance in various forms of in/security, from border control, regulation, and epidemiological tracking, to aerial surveillance and hacking. Instead of focusing on specific sensory devices and their consequences, this volume explores the complex and sometimes invisible political, cultural and ethical processes of infrastructuring in/security.

May 2021

Energy Worlds in Experiment

cover for Energy Worlds in Experiment

Editor: Laura Watts

Editor: James Maguire

Editor: Brit Ross Winthereik

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2021

Energy Worlds in Experiment is an experiment in writing about energy and an exploration of energy infrastructures as experiments. Twenty authors have written collaborative chapters that examine energy politics and practices, from electricity cables and energy monitors to swamps and estuaries.

August 2020

Boxes: A Field Guide

cover for Boxes: A Field Guide

Editor: Susanne Bauer

Editor: Maria Rentetzi

Editor: Martina Schlünder

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2020

A book full of boxes. A box in itself. An unboxing. This book explores boxes in their broadest sense and size. It invites us to step into the field, unravel how and why things are contained and how it might be otherwise. By turning the focus of Science and Technology Studies (STS) to boxing practices, this collation of essays examines boxes as world-making devices.

July 2018

An Anthropology of Common Ground: Awkward Encounters in Heritage Work

cover for An Anthropology of Common Ground: Awkward Encounters in Heritage Work

Author: Nathalia Brichet

Manchester: Mattering Press, 2018

Paying attention to details and ‘small stories’ as that which make worlds (heritage projects as well as ethnography), the book proposes a kind of postcolonial scholarship. Rather than uncovering or building up one story about the Danish-Ghanaian past, the work insists on providing ‘inconclusive’ analyses, collaboratively generated in the course of the project work and in the process of writing ethnographically about it. The ambition is to nurture fieldwork as an opportunity for creating a common ground, on which to think about what heritage and ethnography could be. Common ground, then, is not only an ideal of the joint heritage project, but an expression of an anthropological ambition. In consequence, the book is an account of a particular ethnographic research project – the ‘methods story’ being about how post-colonial relations might be noticed and supported and about how empirical research is done as relations between what is going on in the field and the way that the ethnographer chooses to tell the story of the field in the text.

Ghost-Managed Medicine: Big Pharma’s Invisible Hands

cover for Ghost-Managed Medicine: Big Pharma’s Invisible Hands

Author: Sergio Sismondo

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2018

Ghost-Managed Medicine by Sergio Sismondo explores a spectral side of medical knowledge, based in pharmaceutical industry tactics and practices.

Inventing the Social

cover for Inventing the Social

Editor: Noortje Marres

Editor: Michael Guggenheim

Editor: Alex Wilkie

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2018

Inventing the Social, edited by Noortje Marres, Michael Guggenheim and Alex Wilkie, showcases recent efforts to develop new ways of knowing society that combine social research with creative practice. With contributions from leading figures in sociology, architecture, geography, design, anthropology, and digital media, the book provides practical and conceptual pointers on how to move beyond the customary distinctions between knowledge and art, and on how to connect the doing, researching and making of social life in potentially new ways.

Presenting concrete projects with a creative approach to researching social life as well as reflections on the wider contexts from which these projects emerge, this collection shows how collaboration across social science, digital media and the arts opens up timely alternatives to narrow, instrumentalist proposals that seek to engineer behaviour and to design community from scratch. To invent the social is to recognise that social life is always already creative in itself and to take this as a starting point for developing different ways of combining representation and intervention in social life.

January 2017

The Ethnographic Case

Editor: Emily Yates-Doerr

Editor: Christine Labuski

The Ethnographic Case challenges a widespread academic inclination to treat concepts as immutable mobiles. The contributions to this volume develop “ethnographic casing” as a technique of attending to heterogeneities in systems of thought. Medical cases. Legal cases. Briefcases. Detective cases. Some cases featured are violent, others compassionate; some set stereotypes in motion, others break them down. Connected more by difference than similarity, the “cases” in this volume make a case for the virtue of relational science. This is a science that is not beholden to the masters’ narratives, but which embraces the double-work of caring for detail, while caring for the practices through which one learns to care. In 26 gripping and provocative installations, the volume showcases research from numerous influential feminist and decolonial scholars. Where anthropology has long sought to identify patterns in culture, this volume makes space for inquiry focused on particularities and advocates for an intellectual politics where that which doesn’t fit is still allowed to matter.

July 2016

Modes of Knowing: Resources from the Baroque

cover for Modes of Knowing: Resources from the Baroque

Editor: John Law

Editor: Evelyn Ruppert

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2016

How might we think differently? This book is an attempt to respond to this question. Its contributors are all interested in non-standard modes of knowing. They are all more or less uneasy with the restrictions or the agendas implied by academic modes of knowing, and they have chosen to do this by working with, through, or against one important Western alternative — that of the baroque.

Imagining Classrooms: Stories of children, teaching, and ethnography

cover for Imagining Classrooms: Stories of children, teaching, and ethnography

Author: Vicki Macknight

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2016

Practising Comparison: Logics, Relations, Collaborations

cover for Practising Comparison: Logics, Relations, Collaborations

Editor: Michael Guggenheim

Editor: Joe Deville

Editor: Zuzana Hrdličková

Manchester, UK: Mattering Press, 2016

This book compares things, objects, concepts, and ideas. It is also about the practical acts of doing comparison. Comparison is not something that exists in the world, but a particular kind of activity.

Agents of various kinds compare by placing things next to one another, by using software programs and other tools, and by simply looking in certain ways. Comparing like this is an everyday practice. But in the social sciences, comparing often becomes more burdensome, more complex, and more questions are asked of it.

How, then, do social scientists compare? What role do funders, their tools, and databases play in social scientific comparisons? Which sorts of objects do they choose to compare and how do they decide which comparisons are meaningful? Doing comparison in the social sciences, it emerges, is a practice weighed down by a history in which comparison was seen as problematic. As it plays out in the present, this history encounters a range of other agents also involved in doing comparison who may challenge the comparisons of social scientists themselves.