Inventing the Social

Inventing the Social, edited by Noortje Marres, Michael Guggenheim and Alex Wilkie, showcases recent efforts to develop new ways of knowing society that combine social research with creative practice. With contributions from leading figures in sociology, architecture, geography, design, anthropology, and digital media, the book provides practical and conceptual pointers on how to move beyond the customary distinctions between knowledge and art, and on how to connect the doing, researching and making of social life in potentially new ways.

Presenting concrete projects with a creative approach to researching social life as well as reflections on the wider contexts from which these projects emerge, this collection shows how collaboration across social science, digital media and the arts opens up timely alternatives to narrow, instrumentalist proposals that seek to engineer behaviour and to design community from scratch. To invent the social is to recognise that social life is always already creative in itself and to take this as a starting point for developing different ways of combining representation and intervention in social life.


1. Introduction: From Performance to Inventing the Social
Noortje Marres, Michael Guggenheim, Alex Wilkie

Section One: Projects

2. Inviting Atmospheres to the Architecture Table
Nerea Calvillo

3. Incubations: Inventing Preventive Assemblages
Michael Guggenheim, Bernd Kräftner, Judith Kröll

4. Turning Controversies into Questions of Design: Prototyping Alternative Metrics for Heathrow Airport
Christian Nold

5. Designing and Doing: Enacting Energy-and-Community
Alex Wilkie, Mike Michael

6. Outing Mies’ Basement: Designs to Recompose the Barcelona Pavilion’s Societies
Andrés Jaque

Section Two: Essays

7. Earth, Fire, Art: Pyrotechnology and the Crafting of the Social
Nigel Clark

8. How to Spot the Behavioural Shibboleth and What to Do About It
Fabian Muniesa

9. The Social and its Problems: On Problematic Sociology
Martin Savransky

10. The Sociality of Infectious Diseases
Marsha Rosengarten

11. Social Media as Experiments in Sociality
Noortje Marres, Carolin Gerlitz


12. Hacking the Social?
Christopher M. Kelty

13. How Can We…? Connecting Inventive Social Research with Social and Government Innovation
Lucy Kimbell


14. Inventive Tensions: A Conversation
Lucy Kimbell, Michael Guggenheim, Noortje Marres, Alex Wilkie

Inventing the Social

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