Joanne Cassar

“In summary, the universe is agential intra-activity in its becoming” (Barad, 2003, p.818).

“Becoming” in a neo-materialistic sense results from relationships between multiple phenomena. Becoming signifies an enmeshment of matter and discourse and is based on the understanding that interconnections between entities form the basis of life. This notion of becoming as discussed by Barad (2007, 2003) emerges out of different possibilities occurring at each moment and comes into existence through the fusion of social and material phenomenon, which are not distinct entities. This implies that cause and effect and other dualities do not exhibit clear boundaries, but form an integral part of the world in its “open-ended” and “differential” becoming (Barad, 2003, pp. 821-829). Matter and materiality are not merely made up of substances and objects, but are dynamic phenomena, “a congealing of agency” brought about by “a stabilizing and destabilizing process of iterative intra-activity” (Barad, 2007, p. 210). Becoming is ongoing and dynamic and entails material-discursive practices of transitioning from one state to another in space and time (Barad, 2007, p. 142). It evolves simultaneously with past, present and future reconfigurations of the world. It happens between the “no longer” and the “not yet” and is fueled by desire that “traces the possible patterns of becoming” (Braidotti in Tuin & Dolphijn, p. 32). What is left behind forms an integral part of what is becoming. Rituals of performativity and reconfigurations of personal and social worlds, entangled with each other constitute acts of becoming. We become aware; we become a parent, an activist; we become eroticized, racialized, marginalized; we become sensitive, addicted, overjoyed, mesmerized; we become gendered/ungendered and so on. Excitement, pain, disappointment, despair and curiosity motivate and instigate becomings.

New becomings generate new desires, hopes, and expectations. Becoming entails embracing contradictions; such as becoming one with the other and feeling estranged simultaneously. The relationalities of becoming of which we are part require ethical responsibility and accountability that present themselves with every possibility (Barad, 2007, p. 393). Ethics embody the intertwining of knowing and being in encounters between matter and the Other and signify responsibility not as obligation but as a consequence of relationality (Barad, 2010, p. 265). No matter what happens there are possibilities for becoming through different reconfigurings of what is yet to unfold (Barad, 2007, p. 182). The state of ‘being alive’ to the numerous possibilities of becoming is an ethical response in itself (Barad, 2007, p. 396) and affirms that being attentive to the wonders, mysteries and complexities of life that becoming entails is crucial to the process of worlding.

Synonyms: process, creation, fluidity, growth, mattering, formations, dynamism
Antonyms: staticity, rigidity
Hypernyms: ontology, multiplicity, phenomena

Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 28(3), 801-831.

Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Barad, K. (2010). Quantum entanglements and hauntological relations of inheritance: Dis/continuities, spacetime enfoldings, and justice-to-come. Derrida Today, 3(2), 240–268.

Braidotti, R. (2012). The notion of the univocity of Being or single matter positions difference as a verb or process of becoming at the heart of the matter: Interview with Rosi Braidotti. In Dolphijn, R. & Van der Tuin, I., New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies (pp. 19–37). Ann Arbor. MI: Open Humanities Press.

COST Action IS1307 New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on 'How Matter Comes to Matter'.

Here you will find background material, current activities, calls for papers, working group information, and project outputs.

With the changing of societies on local, national and international scales owing to economic, ecological, political and technological developments and crises, a reorganized academic landscape can be observed to be emerging. Scholarship strives to become increasingly interdisciplinary in order to grasp and examine the unfolding complexity of ongoing ecological, socio-cultural and politico-economic changes. Additionally, academics forge... Read more or find out Who's Who

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Information relating to activities undertaken, including conferences, training schools, short-term scientific missions, and annual meetings, are archived here.

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Working Groups focus on four key areas of research

Working Group One

Genealogies of New Materialisms; examines and intervenes in canonization processes by compiling a web-based bibliography, coordinating the OST 068/13 8 EN... Read more

Working Group Two

New Materialisms on the Crossroads of the Natural and Human Sciences; seeks to develop new materialisms at the boundaries of the human and natural sciences. The group focuses on how European new materialisms can rework the ‘Two Cultures' gap... Read more

Working Group Three

New Materialisms Embracing the Creative Arts; brings together European researchers, artists, museum professionals, and other activists with a keen interest in the material... Read more

Working Group Four

New Materialisms Tackling Economical and Identity – Political Crises and Organizational Experiments... Read more


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COST Action IS1307

New Materialism —
Networking European Scholarship on 'How matter comes to matter’

An intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology
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COST is supported by the the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

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