Andrew Barry’s new book: Material Politics

Stuart Elden has highlighted on his blog that a new book by Andrew Barry entitled ‘Material politics: disputes along the pipeline‘ is forthcoming in the RGS-IBG book series, its currently set for release in September.

Andrew Barry is a thoughtful commentator on the politics intimately concerned with technology and, one might say, technics. His book ‘Political Machines’ was of significant help to me during my PhD work for thinking through how we can conceptualise the sorts of politics that emerge within institutions or networks focused on ‘innovation’ in technology.

Perhaps more importantly, Barry is also one of a still-limited number of social scientists engaging with the work of the philosopher Isabelle Stengers. In fact, his talk at the recent ‘Politics and Matter‘ event held by the University of Bristol’s geography department offered an excellent and rigorous exegesis of Stengers’ project of ‘cosmopolitics’, which, as he suggested, is not easy.

This new book clearly draws upon some of the thinking that Barry has been engaged in around these themes, as the blurb on the book’s web page demonstrates:

In Material Politics, author Andrew Barry reveals that as we are beginning to attend to the importance of materials in political life, materials has become increasingly bound up with the production of information about their performance, origins, and impact.
* Presents an original theoretical approach to political geography by revealing the paradoxical relationship between materials and politics
* Explores how political disputes have come to revolve not around objects in isolation, but objects that are entangled in ever growing quantities of information about their performance, origins, and impact
* Studies the example of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline – a fascinating experiment in transparency and corporate social responsibility – and its wide-spread negative political impact
* Capitalizes on the growing interdisciplinary interest, especially within geography and social theory, about the critical role of material artifacts in political life

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