The somatechnics of perception and the matter of the non/human: A critical response to the new materialism

European Journal of Women's Studies 19 (3):299-313 (2012)

Abstract

Drawing on Sara Ahmed, this article confronts the often repeated claim that feminists and/or social constructionists – even those whose work appears to focus on ‘the body’ – routinely ignore the materiality of corporeal life. This charge is often accompanied by the claim that poststructuralist feminists have, for connected reasons, also ignored ‘non-human animal’ life. This article critically interrogates the ways in which the somatechnics of perception and particular universalizing epistemic sexing practices feed into and out of one another in much contemporary work on ‘animal sex’. It also aims to build on Ahmed’s critique of the founding gestures of the new materialism in and through a close engagement with the work of a small number of theorists who identify with the new materialism.

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