What is the Matter with Matter? Barad, Butler, and Adorno

Matter: Journal of New Materialist Research 9 (2024)
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Abstract

This article aims to read feminist new materialisms (Barad), together with ‘postulated’ linguistic or cultural primacy of Queer Theory (Butler), to show how both are engaged in similar critical-ethical endeavours. The central argument is that the criticism of Barad and new materialisms misses Butler’s materialistic insights due to a narrow interpretation of Butler's alleged social-constructivist position. There is, therefore, a specific focus on where they both make similar ethical appeals. Moreover, the article relies on Adorno's negative dialectic to highlight an interpretation of Barad and Butler as being part of the same dialectical movement, in which materialism and idealism fluctuate in their mutual criticisms, thus continuing the procession towards 'new knowledge' and emancipation, or freedom, through their motions back and forth.

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Philip Højme (Hoejme)
Polish Academy of Sciences (PhD)

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