Re-entangling the Material and the Discursive

Frédérique Apffel-Marglin

in Subversive Spiritualities

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199793853
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919246 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Ritual Studies Series

Re-entangling the Material and the Discursive

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Chapter 4 presents the work of the feminist philosopher and physicist Karen Barad on the physics and philosophical writings of the father of quantum mechanics, Neils Bohr. Barad's work gives both experimental as well as theoretical arguments for the deeply flawed nature of the Boylian-Cartesian-Newtonian paradigm. Neils Bohr's theory of complementarity, as interpreted by Barad, is presented as a powerful alternative to the dualist modernist onto-epistemology. In Barad's elaboration of Bohr's insights, she offers her theory of “agential-realism” a non-representationalist and non-anthropocentric paradigm. The chapter argues that agential-realism opens the door to the possibility of applying her insights to the realm of ritual studies and the reality of the other-than-humans.

Keywords: quantum mechanics; complementarity; Karen Barad; Neils Bohr; dualism

Chapter.  3729 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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