Speculative sewing: Researching, reconstructing, and re-imagining wearable technoscience

Jungnickel, Katrina. 2023. Speculative sewing: Researching, reconstructing, and re-imagining wearable technoscience. Social Studies of Science, 53(1), pp. 146-162. ISSN 0306-3127 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article contributes to Science and Technology Studies (STS) literatures on ‘making and doing’ by describing and analysing the practice of researching, reconstructing, and reimagining archival clothing patent data. It combines feminist speculation and reconstruction practices into what I term ‘speculative sewing’. This involves stitching data, theory and fabric into inventions described in patents and analysing them as three-dimensional arguments. In the case here, of 1890s British women’s convertible cycle wear, I examine how inventors used new forms of clothing to challenge socio-political restrictions on women’s bodies in public space and help them make alternate claims to rights and entitlements. I argue that translating text and images into wearable data renders lesser-known technoscience stories visible and (more) knowable and transforms clothing (back) into material matters of public concern.

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The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Politics of Patents: Re-imagining Citizenship via Clothing Inventions 1820-2020 has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 819458).

Bikes & Bloomers, part of the Transmissions and Entanglements: Making, Curating and Representing Knowledge project, was supported by an Economic and Social Research Council Knowledge Exchange grant and Intel Corporation (ES/K008048/1).


clothing, inventions, making and doing, reconstructions, sewing, citizenship

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25 July 2022Accepted
16 August 2022Published Online
February 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

16 Aug 2022 16:03

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26 Jan 2023 17:21

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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