The recent “turn to matter” evident in material feminist theories of the more-than-human world offers distinct posthuman understandings of the world as continuously relationally entangled, emergent or materializing. In this paper, I consider how these premises both trouble conventional understandings of matter and/or materials, but likewise potentially revise and revitalize understandings of the political for health and inequalities, and for nursing. This is both timely and much needed given contemporary contexts of austerity-driven neoliberalism in health care and the unprecedented growth in disparities of wealth and well-being. I wish to explore whether material feminisms allow us to retheorize connections between abstract theory and material concerns like health and inequalities, differently. This is not theory in opposition to practice or activism, but theory conceptualized as sets of entangled emergent practices, but also what constitutes the political, as more fully relational to and in praxis with health-related activism. I will argue these theories further justify how practitioners can visibly care for and care more about social and health inequalities. Drawing mainly on the work of material feminist, Karen Barad, and her bringing together of queer and feminist theory, as well as feminist new materialisms and understandings of posthumanism, I discuss how this turn to matter together with meaning might transform understandings of health and inequalities.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Aranda, K. The Political Matters: Exploring material feminist theories for understanding the political in health, inequalities and nursing. Nurs Philos. 2019; 20:e12278, which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nup.12278. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
- health inequalities
- new materialism