Sunday Brunch with Differens Magazine

Spring 2023

Bridging materialist and idealist theory. Some contemporary and historial apProaches

An online discussion series taking place every other Sunday 11.00 – 13.00 (CET) between the 16th of April and the 27th of August, 2023.


The conflict between idealist and materialist thinking has been a longstanding debate in philosophy and social theory. Idealists often argue that ideas, language and cultural values play a central role in shaping society, while materialists tend to emphasize material, economical or technological conditions that underlie social structures and relations. However, many recent theoretical projects that seek to understand society and its underlying forces try to bridge previous camps of thought and integrate them in creative combinations.

For example, it can be argued that political materialist thinkers (such as marxists) must at some point, in order to avoid becoming culturally deterministic or to be able to explain how oppressed groups becomes self-aware and then engages in societal change, attribute some significance to language, ideas and theories. Conversely, feminist thinkers (or any identity political project beginning in performativity and discourse theory models), must perhaps eventually, in order be able to interpret the world and its bodies as they are materially and sensorically interconnected, approach notions of material, matter, ”embodiment” or ”entanglement”.

Given the ongoing philosophical conflicts between historical-materialist theorizing and discourse-theoretical approaches, particularly in their attempts to explain conditions for social change, this study circle aims to examine the perspectives of thinkers whose attempts to reconcile idealist and materialist thinking can be thought to reveal the very conflicts they seek to overcome. The aim of the study circle is thus to better understand the ontological, epistemological and political problems, pre-conditions or consequences of the theories we will be looking at.


For access to more information such as schedule, texts, and link, please register at the following address:


Each session proceeds as follows:

1. Short presentation and walk-through of the text passage. Introduction to possible materialist vs. idealist interpretations. Approx. 15 minutes.

2. Illiterate and highly speculative discussion. Approx. 1.5 hours.

The discussions will be conducted in English.