Inseparable from our late industrial present, involvements in, with and against compounds--biomedical substances, crafted materials, manufactured chemicals--are central to several modes of ecological damage, but also to the flourishing of alternative political solidarities and social projects.
Thinking through involvement invites attention to how certain humans and nonhumans make each other in close engagements. Involvement indicates participation in close dealings, embodied intimacies, affective interferences and commitments, contingent experimentation, the ongoing material formation of common worlds. Inseparable from our late industrial present, involvements in, with and against compounds are central to several modes of ecological damage, but also to the flourishing of new political solidarities and alternative social projects. This session explores the differences--conceptual, ethnographic, ethopolitical--that could be made by thinking with the notion of involvement specifically in worlds pervaded by compounds: compositions of previously distinct elements that have achieved stubborn material presence--biomedical substances, industrial products, crafted materials, urban and architectural constructions, manufactured chemicals, military, medical and commercial enclosures. It is through intensive involvements that separate entities become unsubdivided compounds of challenging endurance. Whether we think of compounds as biosocial, sociotechnical, spatial or biochemical; as artificial and/or naturally occurring; beneficial and/or toxic, compounds are consequential. Their solidity affects living beings, people, things, societies and ecologies. Wanted or not, they involve inescapably those humans entangled in their making or touched by their emergence or irruption. Compounds engage, animate and poison, they empower and constrain, they implicate, they involve us as much as we involve them in our worlds.