Beyond the bifurcation of nature: Rethinking aesthetics in contemporary knowledge practices

Sehgal, Melanie and Wilkie, Alex. 2022. 'Beyond the bifurcation of nature: Rethinking aesthetics in contemporary knowledge practices'. In: Kolloquium zur Wissenschafts und Technikforschung. Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany 26 October 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

What if aesthetics were no longer bound to the arts, the beautiful, sublime or even to the realm of subjectivity? In this talk, we explore the possibilities of a novel paradigm in aesthetics, predicated on rejecting the modern compartmentalisation of aesthetics into a realm separate from science, technology, law, the economy and their attendant practices. On the one hand, science and technology studies (STS) have begun to consider the role of aesthetics in technoscience, for instance concerning the role of affect in biomedicine, laboratory practices, energy demand reduction, public engagement with science and technology as well as the public production of truth in legal and mediatised practices. On the other hand, within social and cultural research and philosophy a new paradigm in aesthetic thinking promises to re-invigorate how aesthetics is understood to operate as a principal aspect of existence. This talk develops a radically expanded understanding of aesthetics, fundamental to common and ordinary experience for both humans and non-humans, drawing Alfred North Whitehead’s rejection of the ‘bifurcation of nature’, sketiching out how such an expanded notion of aesthetics operates in contemporary knowledge practices.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Invention and Social Process (CISP) [2016-]
Design > Design Societies Research Unit


26 October 2022Completed

Event Location:

Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany

Date range:

26 October 2022

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

31 Oct 2022 10:09

Last Modified:

24 May 2023 14:10


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