- Human-animal relations, posthumanism and nonhuman agencies.
- Actor-network theory and sociomaterial assemblages.
- Social studies of scientific and technical knowledge-practices.
- Environmental sociology and bio-social processes and systems.
I am intrigued by the ambiguous status of nonhumans in modern and late modern cosmologies and knowledge-practices, and the constitution of 'the social' across materially heterogeneous - and multi-species - relations, systems and flows. In social thought nonhumans are often a kind of absent presence, rendered marginal as a 'context' of human agency whilst performing the invisible work of shaping foundational notions of 'the human'. There is a burgeoning posthumanist current within sociology, anthropology, geography, and related disciplines, and my work on socio-material relations in various historical and contemporary assemblages seeks to contribute to this.
In terms of empirical focus, nonhuman animals have been a consistent presence in my research hitherto, and I am drawn to problems and controversies at the intersection of animals, environment, science and technology.
Past projects have included:
- A posthumanist genealogy of modernity read as a technopolitical project of assembling a purified human ‘social’ domain, worked through a sociomaterial history of the British dairy industry.
- A multidimensional project on bees, encompassing a biopolitical reading of Colony Collapse Disorder as a crisis of the Anthropocene, and an exploration of the ontological politics of neo-Darwinist approaches to insect social behaviour.
I have a particular enthusiasm for archive and documentary research, and most of my past empirical research has had a significant historical dimension.
I am involved in the emerging science and technology research cluster with colleagues in Manchester Sociology.
Keywords: animals, environment, posthumanism, knowledge-practices, science and technology, materiality, relational, ontology.