Assemblages

An Assemblage at its simplest definition is “an assembling of elements or relations”. The concept of Assemblages is derived from Latour’s ‘ Actor Network Theory’ or ANT. One of ANT’s key concept is that of the “flat ontology” meaning no hierarchy. That is, all parts in the assemblage are equal and no one part is more important that the other.

Within the Assemblage both human and non-human actants co-exist. Drawing from the readings in a school the human actants involve human actants such as the children, the teachers, other members of staff and parents. Non-human actants in this example come by way of the class room stationery, computer equipment and even the basic table and chair set up. In this basic example both human and non human actants are interdependent on one another. In order for the assemblage to function all actants must co-exist in harmony. In terms of publishing assemblage, below is the the mindmap of ideas I came out with. Not to forget, external forces such as technology and regulations will influences it as well.

In 2006 Manuel De Landa published a book entitled: A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity (ANPS). “ANPS employs Deleuze‘s theory of assemblages to posit social entities on all scales (from sub-individual to transnational) that are best analysed through their components (themselves assemblages).” When employing ANPS two axis are used to determine components of the assemblage; material – expressive axis (which roles the component will play) and the territorialising – detteritorialising axis (processes in which the component is involved). According to DeLanda, components are self-subsistent and not defined by their role in the larger assemblage. Rather a component may be swapped back and forth between different assemblages without losing its identity.

By my own admission I didn’t really align too much with these theories and found the concepts hard to grasp.

References

‘Actor Network Theory’, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor-network_theory

‘Actor Network Rochambeau’, any-space-whatever blog http://www.anyspacewhatever.com/actor-network-rochambeau/

A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity’, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_New_Philosophy_of_Society:_Assemblage_Theory_and_Social_Complexity>

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