On Assemblages and Geography

Ben Anderson, Matthew Keanes, Colin McFarlane, Dan Swanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In this paper we explore what assemblage thinking offers social-spatial theory by asking what questions or problems assemblage responds to or opens up. Used variously as a concept, ethos and descriptor, assemblage thinking can be placed within the context of the recent ‘relational turn’ in human geography. In this context, we argue that assemblage thinking offers four things to contemporary social-spatial theory that, when taken together, provide an alternative response to the problematic of ‘relational’ thought; an experimental realism orientated to processes of composition; a theorisation of world of relations and that which exceeds a present set of relations; a rethinking of agency in distributed terms and causality in non-linear, immanent, terms; and an orientation to the expressive capacity of assembled orders as they are stabilised and change. In conclusion, we reflect on some further questions of politics and ethics that follow from our account of the difference assemblage thinking makes to relational thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-189
JournalDialogues in Human Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • assemblage
  • network
  • relationality
  • agency
  • excess


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