Interactive metal fatigue (IMF) is an elegant re-appreciation of the concept of ‘interpassivity’, describing how it develops through minifractures in subjects’ attempts to keep up with societal demands for interactivity. Other than the original art-philosophical and psychoanalytical understandings, this rather historical conceptualization opens up the ‘interpassivity’ notion to sociological and political research. Particularly promising, it will be argued, is its aptitude to diagnose and articulate the often so elusive (side-) effects of socio-technical ‘system innovations’. Currently these tend to be evaluated in terms of ‘sustainability’, but this notion seems insufficient to capture the multi-sidedness of the reconfigurations involved. Socio-technical innovations are known to be contested social changes. Yet what is it that makes them contested? How can their societal relevance be appreciated? And considering that assessment in terms of ‘sustainability impacts’ leaves certain problematic aspects underexposed, how could the notion of ‘interactive metal fatigue’ enrich our understanding of socio-technical innovations?

Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Pel, B. (2012). Interactive Metal Fatigue; A critical lens for the assessment of socio-technical reconfigurations in traffic. Retrieved from