Chapter 2: Bios, materiality and biomateriality
Arranged one way, matter is coal; arranged another way, it is diamond. Eugene Thacker (2004: 121) Like all concepts anchored in a particular literary and methodological tradition, the concepts of materiality and biomaterials as they are used in this monograph are co-produced within the wider epistemological and theoretical framework that constitutes the interdisciplinary field of organization theory. Materiality thus means different things for an engineer, a biologist, a jurist and a manager, and consequently the organization theory enactment of the term includes a few specific features. While materiality is in many ways portrayed as a free-standing resource to exploit in organizations, much of the recent philosophical literature and studies of technoscientific practices underline the co-production of materiality, experimental systems and organizational arrangements, including domains of professional expertise and jurisdiction. That is, materiality is both produced by and constitutive of the various activities in which it is embedded. In Longino’s (1992: 332) formulation, Scientific knowledge is not simply a matter of apprehending a nature, waiting to be discovered. Nature is described and understood through the mediation of assumptions, themselves heterogeneously formed by generalization, analogy, social and personal aspiration. But neither are our beliefs about the natural world simply a projection of our contextual values. The ultimate test of adequacy is experimental. ‘Scientific technologies … are highly elaborated symbolic systems, not neutral media for “knowing” nature’, Fujimura (1996: 66) adds.
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