A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The book is an attempt to loosely define a new ontology for use by social theorists — one that challenges the existing paradigm of meaningful social analyses being possible only on the level of either individuals (micro-reductionism) or "society as a whole" (macro-reductionism). Instead, the book employs Gilled Deleuze`s and Felix Guattari's theory of assemblages from A Thousand Plateaus (1980) to posit social entities on all scales (from sub-individual to transnational) that are best analysed through their components (themselves assemblages).

According to DeLanda, following Deleuze's ideas of difference and repetition (what DeLanda calls "variable repetition"), assemblages necessarily exist in heterogeneous populations. The relationship between an assemblage and its components is complex and non-liner: assemblages are formed and affected by heterogeneous populations of lower-level assemblages, but may also act back upon these components, imposing restraints or adaptations in them.

DeLanda merges Deleuze's ideas of both assemblages and strata into his model of assemblages, regarding the distinction as inconsequential in the context of A New Philosophy of Society. He does however maintain the idea of assemblages as non-essentialist (they are historically contingent actual entities, not instances of ideal forms) and non-totalizing (assemblages are not seamless totalities but collections of heterogeneous components that should be analysed as such).


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Alisa Nikolaevn...