New Materialism and Educational Innovation

Document Type


Publication Date



New materialism refers to an assemblage of theoretical and political perspectives that critique anthropocentric attitudes present in multiple fields of inquiry. New materialism challenges assumptions that ground the production of subjectivity, posits that nonhuman entities have agential capacity, discards hierarchies in human/nonhuman relationships, and in doing so reconsiders the ethics of relating in the world (Bennett 2010; Connolly 2013). New materialist perspectives in educational studies demonstrate innovation in two distinct ways. First, they provide conceptual approaches to address increasingly complex relationships encountered in the world. Second, they expand conventional, socially reproduced attitudes that consider innovation in educational studies – for example, technological advancements that use artificial intelligence in learning strategies – to be measurable and observable, with humans as the primary beneficiary. By presenting alternative frameworks to address pressing theoretical, philosophical, pedagogical, political, and ethical issues in education, new materialism demonstrates innovation’s possibility as dynamic, creative, experimental, and open-ended. While known by various terms like vital(ist) materialism (Bennett 2010; Braidotti 2013), neo-materialism, and material feminisms, this entry will use “new materialism” to describe its characteristics and implications for educational innovation.

This document is currently not available here.