Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett 

I just finished Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennet... after 9 years of being on and off this book. And it was worth it. I'm into the thing/multispecies/nonhuman discourse for a good while and I always struggled with exactly one major problem that this book addresses so well. How to flatten the ontology, when one comes from a place of hierarchy. Or more specifically: I grew up in central Europe with all its background of racism, colonialism, sexism, homo- and transphobia and you name it, all designed to create hierarchies of power. And now I should be able to step outside these not just for people and animals, but also cumulus clouds, lithium, cockroaches, doorknobs, and blades of grass? Many indigenous communities have their specific ways of incorporating such a view, deeply rooted in their respective stories.

I don't have these and I'm jealous of them.


Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett 

One of the most fascinating paths for me is the attribution of personhood through jurisdictional processes, such as the river Whanganui in Aotearoa, and many more examples by now. I figured the law is a language westerners like me understand, epistemologically speaking. A lot of ontological negotiations are happening via this path. What is subject, object, or agency are questions that are relegated to the language of the law.

I found Jane Bennett's approach to political philosophy similar but different. It is richer in depth, poetics and individuality, also because of her style. It speaks directly to my practice and daily experience. It ends with epistemological violence that I enjoy quite a lot. It is shaking the fundamentals on which my everyday experience is based and it is refreshing, even exhilarating at times. And I have the feeling that it gives me a vocabulary to speak what I'm feeling.

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Vibrant Matter by Jane Bennett 

Hell no, she didn't… well, there goes another 9 years of reading Jane Bennett 😅

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