Relocating Global Assemblages

The remarkable success of methodological uses of the concept of ‘assemblage’ cannot be overstated. Empirical investigation discloses that everything is a composition and result of multiple confluences of force and materiality. Assemblage theory allows us to conceptualize the variety of ways objects, systems, and flows mix and mangle together to create dynamic structures, events, contexts, and situations.

Here is the renown Dutch-American sociologist Saskia Sassen on thinking in terms of assemblages while doing what I prefer to think of as political ontography:

“General standard categories—society, the state, the city, the economy, the global economy, the developed world and the underdeveloped world . . . these and so many more—do not work for me. I use them mostly for shorthand or to communicate. But they are not quite working categories for me: they are more like a familiar code, one that all readers can understand.
But neither do I want to use the very complex and brilliant category as developed in the works of Deleuze and Guattari. When I use these authors’ meaning, it is usually to describe a condition, not to discover something. I have come to understand that I need categories that facilitate discovery— discovery rather than replication is my modus operandi. In that mode, then, I have long seen the rise of new types of formations beneath familiar events, and beneath the general language deployed by the social sciences. It may be the foreigner in me; I did grow up in four countries and in six languages, so I do not know a single language perfectly.
Methodologically, I have made some moves that might clarify my specific use, and, more importantly, need for the concept, the category, assemblages. A first step in much of my work—something I have come to see ex post, in an effort to explain my modus operandi, is that I am far more interested in the ambiguous, often weak, edges of the paradigm, than in its strong centre. I have developed some of this as part of a long lecture I did for the American Pragmatists Philosophy convention.
Practically speaking, here are three markers of my methodological practice which lead to a reassembling of elements that tends to diverge from standard categories. This also tells you that assemblage for me is a working category, a tool, not only an outcome, a result.”

via Relocating Global Assemblages @SaskiaSassen — Deterritorial Investigations

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