Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things


Product Details

Duke University Press
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.9 X 0.6 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Jane Bennett is Professor of Political Theory and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics and Thoreau's Nature: Ethics, Politics, and the Wild, and an editor of The Politics of Moralizing and In the Nature of Things: Language, Politics, and the Environment.


"Vibrant Matter is a fascinating, lucid, and powerful book of political theory. By focusing on the 'thing-side of affect, ' Jane Bennett seeks to broaden and transform our sense of care in relation to the world of humans, non-human life, and things. She calls us to consider a 'parliament of things' in ways that provoke our democratic imaginations and interrupt our anthropocentric hubris."--Romand Coles, author of Beyond Gated Politics: Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy
"Vibrant Matter represents the fruits of sustained scholarship of the highest order. As environmental, technological, and biomedical concerns force themselves onto worldly political agendas, the urgency and potency of this analysis must surely inform any rethinking of what political theory is about in the twenty-first century."--Sarah Whatmore, coeditor of The Stuff of Politics: Technoscience, Democracy, and Public Life
"This manifesto for a new materialism is an invigorating breath of fresh air. Jane Bennett's eloquent tribute to the vitality and volatility of things is just what we need to revive the humanities and to redraw the parameters of political thought."--Rita Felski, author of Uses of Literature
"Orienting us to re-encounter both nature and familiar objects as newly strange and pulsing with 'thing-power, ' Bennett challenges our worn assumptions concerning the hierarchy between humans and things, the workings of causality, and our deep cultural attachment to matter and nature as inanimate. . . . Her book is surprising, refreshing, and troubling."--Lori J. Marso "Political Theory "
"Bennett's is one of those books where, on finishing, you want to begin immediately again to experience the excitement and élan vital of eloquent, simple ideas presented in clear, concise and considered prose, wherein the presence of a generous, kind and unpretentious author speaks straight into your understanding. Vibrant Matter is fresh, alert, quiet and potent, a door opening in a stuffy room to let the outside in, which lets it speak so as to embolden us to breathe differently. It will redraw the boundaries of political thought; it's already doing so. Read it."--Mark Jackson "Emotion, Space and Society "
"For the sake of assuaging harms already inflicted we have always cobbled together publics that deal with vibrant matters of floods, fires, earthquakes and so on. For the sake of preventing unseen future harms, Bennett's book argues that we need to take a closer look at how we are embedded in a web of mutual affect that knows no bounds between living and nonliving, human and nonhuman. It is in this refreshingly naïve 'no-holds-barred' approach that Bennett's work has much to offer for a reconsideration of our role as thinking, speaking humans in a cosmos of vibrant matter that we continually depoliticize even in our efforts to 'protect' and 'save' the earth . . . a highly recommended read."--Stefan Morales "M/C Reviews "
"Jane Bennett's Vibrant Matter is an admirable book for at least three reasons. First, it is wonderfully written in a comfortable personal style, which is rare enough for academic books. Second, Bennett makes an explicit break with the timeworn dogmas of postmodernist academia. . . . The third point
that makes this book admirable is Bennett's professional position: Chair of
Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. That someone in a Political
Science department at an important university could write as candid a work
of metaphysics as Vibrant Matter is an encouraging sign. Perhaps philosophical speculation on fundamental topics is poised for a comeback throughout the humanities. "--Graham Harman "New Formations "
"Jane Bennett's Vibrant Matter is an important work, linking critical movements in recent continental philosophy, namely a vitalist tradition that runs from Bergson to Deleuze and even, on Bennett's reading, to Bruno Latour, and (on the other hand) a 'political ecology of things' that should speak to anyone conscious enough to be aware of the devastating changes underway in the world around us. There is good reason Bennett's book has, in short order, gained a wide following in disparate areas of political theory and philosophy."--Peter Gratton "Philosophy in Review "