Conventionally, scientific research has been regarded as a human activity or practice. This has marginalised the part that other matter plays in the research endeavour. The more-than-human ontology of the new materialisms de-privileges human agency, focusing instead upon how assemblages of the animate and inanimate together produce the world. This has fundamental implications for social inquiry methodology and methods. Here, we use this post-anthropocentric perspective to re-think research as more-than-human engagements, in which multiple materialities contribute to the production of research findings, outputs and knowledge. The research assemblage comprises not only human elements such as researcher, respondents and audience, but also research tools, data, contexts and material outputs. Using the ethological new materialist toolkit of Gilles Deleuze, we use the concepts of affects, assemblages and micropolitics to make sense of social inquiry, and also to address issues of validity. We use this understanding to explore the more-than-human micropolitics of the research process, before assessing how this more-than-human perspective on research challenges representationalism, and moves beyond both a realist and a constructionist model of research epistemology. We conclude by considering the implications for the practical endeavour of social inquiry, and offer a framework for more-than-human social inquiry methodology and methods.
|Title of host publication
|The Routledge International Handbook of More-than-Human Studies
|Number of pages
|Published - 24 Nov 2023
|Routledge International Handbooks