This chapter examines the foundations of the emerging sociomateriality perspective via a critical analysis of three of its guiding themes: relationality, interpenetration, and “agential cuts.” The chapter argues that what its proponents have to say about relationality is largely unexceptional, but that their claims about the interpenetration of things are probably not sustainable outside a restricted range of cases. While the chapter accepts some aspects of the notion of agential cuts, the chapter qualifies some of the claims made about the extent to which the object world depends on the practices of “agencies of observation.”
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