Sociomateriality: A Perspective in Need of Methodological Clarity?

By Rafael J. Burgos-Mirabal.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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I call attention to two socio-epistemic challenges involved in specifying method consistent with the non-reductive onto-epistemic assumptions of sociomateriality: (1) specifying and demarcating focal levels of analysis, and (2) specifying and demarcating the focal black boxes that the sociomaterial researchers are opening up in analysis. I use my current doctoral research practice and training to illustrate the two interrelated challenges. The emphasis on the practical (policy-level) need for institutionalizing multi-paradigmatic conversations across the social-science Ph.D. programs is proposed as a desired solution to my appreciative critique for methodological specification in the case of sociomateriality. This socio-epistemic solution is proposed for the sake of creating a wider common ground among extant sub-communities of knowledge production in the social sciences. It is predicated on the following diagnosis: on the one hand, non-reductively-bent “sociomaterialists” may need to further specify perforce reductive claims in the published research accounts; on the other hand, mainstream social-science Ph.D. educational reform should focus on remedying the lack of multi-paradigmatic appreciation, training, and research evaluation.

Keywords: Sociomateriality, Material-Semiotic Approaches, Methodology Development, Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 277.274KB).

Rafael J. Burgos-Mirabal

Ph.D. Candidate, -, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA

Rafael is a PhD candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.