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Title: Socio-materiality as phenomenon : growing Transition culture
Author: Russi, Luigi
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis innovates on existing literature on the Transition movement by relinquishing stock academic definitions of its ends and means, which purportedly spell out what Transition 'is'. In its stead, it approaches Transition as phenomenon, namely as an evolving socio-material formation that proliferates a cultural repertoire to sustain a growing range of concerted everyday activities. This is the difference between an instrumental focus, whereby Transition is reduced to a strategy which is oriented towards an unchanging programmatic definition, and an orientational one; the latter attuned to the contingent process by which a movement expresses form and orientation in emergent fashion. The monograph and the introductory chapter contribute to this task in different ways. Everything Gardens and Other Stories undertakes a rich description of various practical realms of Transition and, to capture the coming into being of a phenomenon, it pays particular attention to its developmental trajectory. This entails focusing on the generative movement of the culture of Transition, as it emerges from the attempt to address embodied disquiets originally elicited by information about peak oil and climate change. That initial focus, however, forms merely a station along a path in which new sources of anxiety find validation and prompt further cultural production. The monograph also describes the tensions arising in the process, as a growing body of discursive and material resources have to negotiate an accommodation, in order to become reciprocally recognisable as participant parts enfolded in a common cultural milieu. The introductory chapter supports this account by fleshing out a methodological paradigm that helps direct attention to the unfolding of a socio-material phenomenon in its dilemmatic moments and continual negotiations. For this purpose, starting from canonical sources in phenomenology, it goes on to situate the 'unfolding' of a phenomenon in the proliferation of entanglements between actors, human and nonhuman. In the 'mattering' of a phenomenon so understood, dilemmatic moments call forth an ethical questioning and an ontological politics immanent to the very process of cultural production. This, it is submitted, is precisely how an orientational focus allows to access Transition as phenomenon, beyond the bounds of academic definitions.
Supervisor: Inglis, David; DeNora, Tia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: social movements ; sociology of organization ; process organization studies ; phenomenology ; everyday ; Transition Towns ; Totnes