UCL Anthropology


Fashioning Material Britain



Fashioning Material Britain tells us how ideas, nanotechnology, geometry, and mathematics animate materials, generate tactile human environments and their prospective vision, and mediate human relations with each other and their material ecologies. Innovation is explored with reference to knowledge economies, industrial prototypes, new materials such as lycra and environment-sensitive "smart" fibre textiles and their ethical evaluation, and transformation of social perceptions that come with technological change. A precious material, that this cluster examines, is gold; cutting-edge research examines the complexity of gold, its transnational flows, indeterminacy and classifications as ethical and practices of assay offices, gold refiners, production jewellers, miners, gold retail and exhibition venues in the UK. Materials also constitute ritual technologies that participate in the liturgical worship of, for example, the Holy Orthodox Church, and coalesce fabrics, people, theological ideas into a production of immaterial and heaven. At the same time, video gaming offers alternative opportunities for transcendence of the immediacies of space and time. Ranging from "ordinary" blue jeans, geographical heritage of wine [Erica Farmer], to new printing and processing technologies, this cluster is technologically and culturally savvy; it situates design and technology in the enabling and constraining contexts of political, economic and cultural heritage and change in the UK and shows how materials mediate or erase social signification.


Prof Susanne Kuechler
Prof Daniel Miller
Dr Kaori O'Connor
Dr Timothy Carroll
Dr Nick Gadsby
Dr Peter Oakley
Dr Sarah Wilkes
Dr Elena-Magdalena Craciun

Selected Publications

Kuechler, S. (2011). The Extended Mind: An Anthropological Perspective on Mind, Agency and 'Smart' Materials. In Stafford, B. M. (Ed.). A Field Guide to a New Meta-Field ( pp.84-108). University Of Chicago Press.

Kuechler, S., Lo Conte, R. (2011). Mapping Festivals in London. In Kuechler, S., Kuerti, L., Elkadi, H. (Eds.). Every Day's a Festival! ( pp.169-195). Wantage: Sean Kinsgton Publishing.

Daniel Miller, (2010) "Anthropology in Blue Jeans" In American Ethnologist 37 (3):415-428

Kaori O'Connor, (2010) How Smart is Smart? T-shirts, Wellness and the Way People Feel about Medical Textiles'. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, 8:1, pp 50-67.

Daniel Miller (2008) The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press

Kuechler, Susanne and Daniel Miller (eds.) (2005) Clothing as Material Culture. London: Berg Publishers

Copyright Notice: Header picture by Camilla Sundwall (acquired licence and true copy)