The Materiality of Resistance: Resistance of Cultural-Material Artefacts and Bodies

This special issue seeks to fill a gap in existing research by displaying how matter makes resistance possible, but also how matter orients resistance, thus creating an entanglement of power, resistance, and materiality. Materiality is understood in a broad sense as embracing various kinds of matter, such as books, paper, pavements, streets, public transport, buildings, taxis, as well as assembling bodies. These bodies take part in resistance – sometimes as a constitutive force outside a hegemonic gendered, sexualized, racialised and classed order, or as a transformative force inside the hegemony. The significance of the interconnectedness nature of discourse, culture and matter can be exemplified, and become evident, in the bodies of those who participate in protesting assemblies. Resisting assemblies are where bodies move and speak together, and these bodies are motivated by various political purposes in different public spaces. It is not only bodies but also cultural artefacts – such as pamphlets, pavements, streets and squares – that are of cultural-material importance (cf. Barad 2008; Butler 2015). Cultural artefacts – such as various flags (for example, the red socialist or rainbow flags) or the veil and other forms of clothing – are different types of materialities of importance in resistance practices. These materialities can make alternative communities of belonging possible and visible by playing a role in marking boundaries between those who belong to accepted and desirable communities and those who are excluded from them. A built environment – such as architecture, pavements, walls, squares and malls – is a third entrance that works as a conditional as well as performative force for the emergence of resistance. A ‘natural’ environment is yet another; non-human organisms and natural resources such as trees and water can be conceptualized as powerful agents of resistance. Together, these are important examples of materialities that relate to, and entangle with, transnational as well as national markets and the capitalist system. The above opens space for new research within the field of resistance and matter. This special issue will thus elaborate on resistance as an intra-action between the material and the cultural – what we call cultural-material. From this vantage point, civil societies should embrace the interaction between the emergence of subjects, practices, matter and various understandings of these entanglements. The questions that we wish to explore are: What does this cultural-materiality do to and for civil society and its (potential) actors of organized/collective as well as informal/individual resistance?

What papers are we looking for?

We invite authors to submit papers that address the challenges raised above, as well as related themes from different perspectives and across different disciplines, especially in relation to how these topics relate to ‘resistance’. We welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions. We seek high-quality, original research articles that explore the following themes:

  • The blurring of distinctions between the human-technology, the human-animal and culture-nature/matter couplets, and investigations of connections and intra-play between these dimensions, with the focus on what it means to the study of resistance.
  • The contribution of materiality in the shaping of strategies, and relationships between resistance and social change; how non-human agents can be defined and understood as agents of resistance.
  • The impact and condition of materialities for the emergence of resistance subjectivities, among those the formation of cyborg subjects. Of special interest is the transformation process of subjectification.


Abstracts by                              1 November 2017
Notification of acceptance        7 November 2017
Submission of final papers       15 January 2018
Submission of revised papers   16 April  2018

To printing                                1 December 2018

Journal of Resistance Studies,


Barad, K. 2008. Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. In: S. Alaimo and S. Hekman, eds. Material Feminism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Butler, J., 2015. Notes toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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