University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

From New Materialism to the Postdigital: Religious Responses to Environment and Technology

Reader, John (2020) From New Materialism to the Postdigital: Religious Responses to Environment and Technology. Postdigital Science and Education, 3. pp. 546-565. ISSN 2524-4868

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The article traces developments since the publication of John Reader’s Theology and New Materialism (2017) with the aim of establishing conceptual resources that link concerns for the environment with those for digital technology. Drawing on the work of Bruno Latour and Bernard Stiegler, it proposes they share a common concern to provide an ‘earthing’ or form of practical knowledge to shape the discourses in both fields. It then addresses the question of why it remains difficult to operationalize appropriate responses and the concepts of disinhibition (Latour and for Stiegler) and autoimmunity (Derrida) offer possible explanations. To counter these difficulties, the idea of a modest ethics and from within theology, the dynamic between proximity and distance and then panentheism are presented as solutions. Each links back to key ideas from New Materialism such as distributed agency and mini or local transcendences and the concept of God who is ‘beyond in the midst’. It may be that finding our bearings in order to steer a new direction for both environmental and digital challenges require the ‘profound inner conversion’ of which Pope Francis speaks in his (2015) Laudato Si.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: New Materialism, relational Christian realism, disinhibition, autoimmunity, modest ethics, panentheism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
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Depositing User: Karen Veitch
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2020 09:59
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2022 16:07

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