Relational Materialism

Linnea Boden, Hillevi Lenz Taguchi, Emilie Boden, Carol Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this chapter we describe and put to work three key principles of a relational materialist approach to educational studies: the principle of general symmetry; the principle of material semiotics; and the principle of method. In so doing, we aim to provide the reader with a set of analytical tools to trace these ontological and epistemological principles that characterize studies that could be understood as relational materialist. We show how to deploy the three principles to explore resonances, divergences and proliferations across the field of work which engages relational materialist ontologies in educational studies. Lastly, we consider how the three principles may help us to think about new ways of becoming methodologically sensible. We show that educational studies engaging in the ‘turn to materiality’ and/or the ‘turn to ontology’ encounter several challenges in their enactment of the three principles of relational materialism. One key insight is the difficulty of empirically and analytically keeping the principles in motion all the way through the analysis of a study. We argue that the problem of practice, which can be seen to embrace a number of other educational research problems - such as learning, equity, gender equality - can help us engage the necessary methodological sensibilities, which might have relational materialist approaches become productive of research that can make a difference to the actors and agents the research concerns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOxford Research Encyclopedia of Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • relational materialism, general symmetry, material semiotics, method, Posthumanism, New Materialism, Post-qualitative, Agential Realism, ANT


Dive into the research topics of 'Relational Materialism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this