: Assemblage Theory (Speculative Realism) (): Manuel DeLanda: Books. Manuel DeLanda is a distinguished writer, artist and philosopher. In his new book, he offers a fascinating look at how the contemporary world is characterized by. This position allows DeLanda to relegate “Deleuzian hermeneutics” to the footnotes and focus on developing his own “neo-assemblage” theory.
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I think there is no simple way of explaining the behavior of society. It is a very complex group with different behaviors. Foucault’s notion of “general history” gets at least half way to assemblage—he writes about it in the Introduction to the Archaeology of Knowledge. A total description draws all phenomena around a single centre – a principle, a meaning, a spirit, a world-view, an overall shape; a general history, on the contrary, would deploy the space of a dispersion.
This assdmblage fell too quick into objectivism and chose respectively the worst and the best objectivistic ‘philosophers’ to complain about of their insufficient clarity and their lack of analytical specificity. This very anglo-american scholastic aim to get clear what is already clear, and to retraduce into academic language notions and concepts that have their own deladna and coinage, is totally noxious for philosophy itself. Delandq term assemblage is just a malformed translation of the term agencement originally wielded and coined by Guattari sinceand which connotates a good lot of means that the term assemblage cannot.
Assembalge is the objectivistic term for agencement, and it’s lame how it is used academically just to solve very scholastic needs assemblge the very less idea of its heuristics, and what is worse, while the term looses its very schizoanalytico-conceptual connotation, while it means something else than agencement, it is still and stubbornly ascribed to Deleuze. As Jim Harrison says, with a bit more of investigation it is easy to see how the term agencement was very influenced by Foucault’s theory of utterance and discoursive sockets.
If you Daniel are looking for something more analytical, of course that this promoted mutation of sasemblage term agencement into assemblage would do fit for you as assrmblage maybe made for each other ie, scholastic habitus. But please don’t assert that the term assemnlage has no value for sociological theory if you can only understand it as an assemblage without mentioning that you don’t seem to have the credentials as a sociologue to assert that so.
I have just blogged about the foucaultian branch of the term agencement here http: I get the feeling you have extracted more from Deleuze’s ‘philosophy’ than is reasonable. Your summary at the end of the post appears reasonable, but is far too sensible and clear to have come from Deleuze, even if it is only the principle that asssmblage claimed to have done so.
I always find concepts like ‘assemblage’ too detached from what actually exists in the universe. All things that exist consist of elementary particles. That is simply how this universe works. Society has to be delxnda same, or else it doesn’t really belong in this universe – and simply paying one’s bills or voting in an election would be a physically impossible miraculous act.
So how could society consist of elementary particles? Well, it’d have to reduce to human mental states, which reduce further to chemical processes and thence to fermions, etc. Given that – and it seems to me that you’d have to accept it if you have any pretensions towards a realistic understanding of society or the world – what can we expect?
That is the only way to have a realistic, naturalistic, ontology of human society. Otherwise, all we’ve got is a potentially useful but fundamentally inaccurate view of the world. The idea of an assemblage, since it is so vague, is pretty useless to sociologists, and certainly so to archaeologists and other social scientists. And given that it doesn’t address the fundamental problem of social facts, it doesn’t seem all that purposeful to me.
This post was interesting, in any case – I’ve never been sympathetic to Deleuze as I expect you can tellbut I’m not averse to finding out about his ideas, and I’m glad you and others have taken the time to explain them.
Both modernism and postmodernism and seemly both Deleuze and some of the above commentors fetishizes a certainty that is simply not possible in a dialogic social world that includes signs and utterances. I don’t understand how one can conceive of a world where signs and utterances are not involved in any conception of assemblages of bodies as stated by Bryant.
I think of SC as incorporating positivism modernism into a non fetishized dialogic pragmatic framework that is not unlike your diluted version of assemblage. The endpoint is not the power play of certainty, but a constructive Wittgensteinian way to go on. Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.
Another interesting post on your blog. However there are some interesting points to reply.
Project MUSE – What is an Assemblage?
I would like to begin answering to Anonymous about metaphors in science. I became Nitzschean when I studied sociology of knowledge.
Every concept and theory in science is a metaphor. A dead and forgotten metaphor. In a similar way, modern physics talks about resonancing strings more than particles, and so social world works.
I think individualism is only a way of thinking about society like particle physics is way of thinking about the universe. And probably it is an old-fashioned one. When some other scholar explains them, Assemmblage becomes brilliant and clear, and it is difficult for me not to agree with him.
Anyway, there is another theory that points out society as relationships.
Although it is best known for its controversial insistence on the agency of nonhumans, ANT is also associated with forceful critiques of conventional and critical sociology. Developed by science and technology studies scholars Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, the sociologist John Law, delanva others, it can more technically be described as a “material-semiotic” method.
This means that it maps relations that are simultaneously material between things and semiotic between concepts. It assumes that many relations are both material and semiotic. I realize this is a rather deladna thread, but I did want to make a short comment.
First, Daniel, I applaud your efforts to understand Deleuze and Guattari. I’m presently engaged on a project that deploys the concept s of assemblage that you discuss, and I find that one of the challenges is to be clear about Deleuze, even as I use his concepts agencement included to open up new connections among materials and texts.
The work of Manuel Aswemblage is–as long as one understands his anti-Marxist stance–incredibly useful in this effort. For an outstandingly clear overview, I would recommend to those who come from outside Deleuze studies DeLanda’s lectures for the European Graduate School, recorded delandaa video and available for free delanfa YouTube. In particular, take a look at the one titled “Assemblage Theory, Society, and Deleuze” here: The lectures, plus a careful reading of a couple of DeLanda’s books, plus perusal of some other authors Dleanda Colebrook’s early works are just one example will open up a position from which anyone ought to be able to re-read Deleuze and really glean some of the pure intellectual energy that flows through his texts.
Yes, Deleuze is difficult, but a sustained effort is wonderfully well-rewarded.
Thursday, November 15, Assemblage theory. Posted by Daniel Little at 8: Newer Post Older Post Home.