Accepted Paper:

Objectual companionship? Intimating with objects at the end of their lives  

Authors:

Blanca Callén (BAU, Design College of Barcelona)
Daniel Lopez Gomez (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)

Paper short abstract:

We propose the notion of intimate entanglements to explore, in the context of consumption and disposal economies, how objects come to matter to us and what makes us care for them. Hence, we will review the consequences this shift may have for the political ecology of discard and maintenance studies.

Paper long abstract:

The material turn in social theory have put the study of objects in the center of any attempt to understand the production of social order, but only recently their affectivity has become an important issue. Scholars such as Stengers (2010), Haraway (2008), Latimer (2013), Despret (2004; 2013) and Hennion (2004; 2007) have brought to the forefront the affective entanglements between humans and non-humans as constitutive of ecologies of knowledge production. Our contribution aims to further pursue this in relation to practices of maintenance, repairing, mending and conservation of everyday objects. We propose the notion of intimate entanglements to explore, in the context of consumption economies and disposal practices, how objects come to matter to us, what makes us care for them, and how they might become companions and mutual interdependent supporters (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2011). To do so, we have interrogated people from different ages and rural and urban contexts about the reasons and conditions that move them to keep and maintain certain objects while discarding others. The notion of intimate entanglements may enable us to approach various objectual biographies as stories of companionship and becoming with these objects (Haraway 2008). This will enable to explore objectual affectivity while questioning self-centred and anthropocentric approaches to objects' sociality such as the theory of affordances (Norman, 1999) in design studies or the domestication theory (Silverstone & Haddon 1994) in the study of technologies' consumption. The consequences this shift may have for the political ecology of discard and maintenance studies will also be explored.

Panel A15
Intimate entanglements in science and technology