Introduction: Diagrams beyond mere tools

Lukas Engelmann, Caroline Humphrey, Christos Lynteris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This special issue moves beyond an understanding of diagrams as mere inscriptions of objects and processes and proposes instead re-evaluation of diagrammatic reasoning as the work that is carried out with, on and beyond diagrams. The introduction presents the issue’s focus on ‘working with diagrams’ beyond semiotic, cognitive, epistemic or symbolic readings of diagrams. It discusses recent research on diagrams and diagrammatic reasoning across disciplines and approaches diagrams as suspended between imagination and perception: as objects with which work is done and as objects that do work. Contributions to this issue probe diagrams for the work they do in the development of disciplinary theories, investigate their reworking of questions of time and scale and ask how some diagrams work across fields and disciplines. Other authors shift the perspective to their own work with diagrams, reflecting on the practice and performative nature of diagrammatic reasoning in their respective fields and disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • diagram
  • diagrammatic reasoning
  • disciplines
  • visual devices
  • work


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