This Focus section - a token of the renewed attention that historians are paying to material artifacts - is devoted to "thick things," a phrase meant to invoke the multiple meanings ascribed to particular material artifacts, even those apparently subject to the thinning regime of modern science. In contrast to Darwinian and/or functionalist explanations for technological change, the essays in this section show how things are as much assemblages of ethical, aesthetic, and political prescriptions as they are elements in the service of any narrow utility. In doing so, the essays undermine misleading dichotomies, such as science/technology, idea/thing, and especially developed/underdeveloped. They point toward a renewed sense of what a reformulated materialism might still accomplish.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
- History and Philosophy of Science