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Reinventing things: transgressing the rules of the material world in times of crisis 
Tomas Errazuriz (Universidad Andres Bello)
Juan Sanin (RMIT University)
Ricardo Greene (Universidad de las Américas)
Melisa Duque (Monash University)
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Material Culture and Museums
Monday 21 June, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

In the context of a world in crisis, this panel invites to explore the effects of social, economic, environmental, political or spiritual ruptures in our material lives and how in response people are breaking the rules that condition our relationships with everyday things and environments.

Long Abstract

Our material world - from urban spaces to mundane objects - is the result of complex frameworks that rule our ways of living. We are expected to cross the road at the traffic light, read user manuals of new appliances, get rid of things if they stop working, sit down properly. These basic actions constitute a system of rules and conventions that reveal the power that material culture exercises on our behaviour. Already in the 1970s, De Certeau noted that in everyday life these rules are tactically appropriated. It is well known that people constantly transgrede regulatory frameworks that attempt to rule our relationship with objects and environments. These forms of disobedient participation transform the meanings, shapes and functions of things and liberate our ways of living. This panel aims to explore how people are breaking the rules of the material world in response to current multilayered crises produced by pandemics, migration, waste, social discontent, political oppression, etc. The panel invites discussions around (but not limited to): What happens when everyday objects make no sense due to current crises? How has COVID-19 changed the use of things and shifted perceptions of cleanliness and contamination? How are reuse, thrift and other sustainable behaviours contesting throwaway society? How is queerness challenging gendered objects? How is immigration reshaping urban and domestic spaces around the world? How are online and offline protests shaping new visual cultures by mixing-up political and commercial imagery? How are these transformations in our material lives shaping future post-crisis scenarios?

Accepted papers: