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Book part

Florin D. Salajan and Tavis D. Jules

Over the past few years, assemblage theory or assemblage thinking has garnered increasing attention in educational research, but has been used only tangentially in…

Abstract

Over the past few years, assemblage theory or assemblage thinking has garnered increasing attention in educational research, but has been used only tangentially in explications of the nature of comparative and international education (CIE) as a field. This conceptual examination applies an assemblage theory lens to explore the contours of CIE as a scholarly field marked by its rich and interweaved architecture. It does so by first reviewing Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) principles of rhizomatic structures to define the emergence of assemblages. Secondly, it transposes these principles in conceiving the field of CIE as a meta-assemblage of associated and subordinated sub-assemblages of actors driven by varied disciplinary, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary interests. Finally, it interrogates the role of Big Data technologies in exerting (re)territorializing and deterritorializing tendencies on the (re)configuration of CIE. The chapter concludes with reiterating the variable character of CIE as a meta-assemblage and proposes ways to move this conversation forward.

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Annual Review of Comparative and International Education 2019
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-724-4

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Book part

Samantha Reveley

Purpose – The transition into motherhood is a major life course event for most women, and is one that can be fraught with difficulties due to the uncertainty and…

Abstract

Purpose – The transition into motherhood is a major life course event for most women, and is one that can be fraught with difficulties due to the uncertainty and instability which accompanies it. Previous research has explored what factors interplay within this transition with identity changes being considered a key attribute. By using assemblage theory, this study aims to undertake an innovative approach to conceptualising identity. Assemblage theory permitted an exploration of how an identity comes to be assembled and embodied through a mother’s relationality with the social world around her as opposed to merely exploring identity as a static entity of a fixed, organic whole as has predominantly been done previously. Assemblage theory is premised upon understanding processes of becoming as opposed to states of being and as such takes a machinic approach to understanding wholes. Rather than being organic totalities, they are conceptualised as being transient and fluid entities comprising an amalgamation of interchangeable components which collectively stabilise to make up the whole. At times of change, an individual’s ties to an identity undergo deterritorialisation, or weaken, as their sense of self and identity readjusts before then experiencing reterritorialisation once they (re)established their ties to a new identity or role. By conceptualising the mothers as assemblages in this manner, it became possible to understand how the women reconstructed their selves and identities through the situated practices and experiences in their everyday lives as they established ties to their new role as a mother.

Methodology/Approach – Results are presented from biographical narrative interviews with 10 mothers each at different stages in motherhood. The interviews focussed on inducing uninterrupted narratives detailing the lived experiences of these women as they transitioned into and across motherhood. These interviews highlighted key stages in the transition into motherhood where a woman’s identity and sense of self would become destabilised and reformulated as a result of changes in her everyday lived experiences and routines.

Findings – Transitioning into motherhood proved to be a multifaceted process that comprises numerous stages where the new mothers identities would become unstable and deterritorialise as they faced new routines in their everyday life as they became a mother and settled into the role. Four dominant themes emerged during data analysis; emotional turmoil, the reconstruction of relationships, getting comfortable with their baby as well as rediscovering the self. The women largely experienced emotional turmoil as their identities became deterritorialised and reported that the relationships they held with others around them often changed or broke down entirely. It was not until they became comfortable with their baby and their role as a mother that they were able to rediscover their ‘self’ beyond simply being a mother. Once they reached this stage in the transition their identity was able to reterritorialise, becoming more stable as a result.

Originality/Value – This study not only presents an innovative method for conceptualising identity but also demonstrates the value of assemblage theory for conceptualising identity formulation and capturing the fluid and emergent nature of such processes. It demonstrates how assemblage theory can be utilised to further understandings of the multifaceted and ongoing nature of life course transitions. This study sheds light on the potential for assemblage theory to be utilised across a range of sociological topics relating to identity formulation, with such studies having the potential to really broaden the scope of sociological understandings of identity formation and life course transitions.

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Childbearing and the Changing Nature of Parenthood: The Contexts, Actors, and Experiences of Having Children
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-067-2

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Book part

Claire Laurier Decoteau

This chapter suggests that moving beyond positivism entails a recognition that the social world is made up of complex phenomena that are heterogeneous, and events are…

Abstract

This chapter suggests that moving beyond positivism entails a recognition that the social world is made up of complex phenomena that are heterogeneous, and events are caused by contingent conjunctures of causal mechanisms. To theorize the social world as heterogeneous is to recognize that social causes, categories, and groups combine different kinds of phenomena and processes at various levels and scales across time. To speak of conjunctural causation implies not only that events are caused by concatenations of multiple, intersecting forces but also that these combinations are historically unique and nonrepeatable. Both the historical materialist conception of the “conjuncture” and the poststructuralist theory of “assemblages” take heterogeneity and multicausality seriously. I compare and contrast these formulations across three dimensions: the structure of the apparatus, causation, and temporality. I argue that these theories offer useful tools to social scientists seeking to engage in complex, multicausal explanations. I end the article with an example of how to use these concepts in analyzing a complex historical case.

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Critical Realism, History, and Philosophy in the Social Sciences
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-604-0

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Book part

Mats Hordvik, Ann MacPhail, Deborah Tannehill and Lars Tore Ronglan

In this chapter, we deliberately attempt to reframe the “self” in self-study of professional practices by focus on how “self” can be conceptualized in ways that do not…

Abstract

In this chapter, we deliberately attempt to reframe the “self” in self-study of professional practices by focus on how “self” can be conceptualized in ways that do not equate “self” with “I.” Drawing insights from Deleuze and Guattarian’s (1987) rhizomatic philosophy, and particular the concept of assemblage, the objective was to engage with a research assemblage to investigate its function and production. We – i.e., a doctoral candidate, who was researching his practice of teaching pre-service teachers, his two supervisors, and his critical friend – engaged with audio data from our meetings conducted throughout a four-year period. Zooming in on the research assemblage at times when we were provoked to reorganize, adapt, and enhance our systems of thinking (Ovens, Garbett, & Hutchinson, 2016), we highlight the nonlinear and fundamentally relational process of constructing knowledge in self-study of professional practices. We argue that the researcher-self became only one of multiple human and non-human components in a joint construction of knowledge. We suggest that self-study researchers can decenter the researcher-self by embracing a research stance of “coming into composition” (Strom & Martin, 2017) where the researcher engages with a research assemblage to construct joint understanding of teaching and learning. This stance to self-study requires researchers to make themselves into a rhizome.

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Decentering the Researcher in Intimate Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-636-3

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Article

Kimberly Lenters and Alec Whitford

In this paper, the authors engage with embodied critical literacies through an exploration of the possibilities provided by the use of improvisational comedy (improv) in…

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, the authors engage with embodied critical literacies through an exploration of the possibilities provided by the use of improvisational comedy (improv) in the classroom. The purpose of this paper is to extend understandings of critical literacy to consider how embodied critical literacy may be transformative for both individual students and classroom assemblages. The research question asks: how might improv, as an embodied literacy practice, open up spaces for critical literacy as embodied critical encounter in classroom assemblages?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used case study methodology informed by post-qualitative research methods, and in particular, posthuman assemblage theory. Assemblage theory views the world as taking shape through the ever-shifting associations among human and more-than-human members of an assemblage. The case study took place in a sixth-grade classroom with 28 11-year-olds over a four-month period of time. Audio and video recordings provided the empirical materials for analysis. Using Bruno Latour’s three stages for rhizomatic analysis of an assemblage, the authors mapped the movements of participants in an assemblage; noted associations among those participants; and asked questions about the larger meanings of those associations.

Findings

In the sixth-grade classroom, the dynamic and emerging relations of the scene work and post-scene discussion animate some of the ways in which the practice of classroom improv can serve as a pedagogy that involves students in embodied critical literacy. In this paper, the authors are working with an understanding of critical literacy as embodied. In embodied critical literacy, the body becomes a resource for that attunes students to matters of critical importance through encounter. With this embodied attunement, transformation through critical literacy becomes a possibility.

Research limitations/implications

The case study methodology used for this study allowed for a fine-grained analysis of a particular moment in one classroom. Because of this particularity, the findings of this study are not considered to be universally generalizable. However, educators may take the findings of this study and consider their application in their own contexts, whether that be the pedagogical context of a classroom or the context of the empirical study of language and literacy education. The concept of embodied literacies, while advocated in current literacy research, may not be easy to imagine, in terms of classroom practice. This paper provides an example of how embodied critical literacies might look, sound and unfold in a classroom setting. It also provides ideas for classroom teachers considering working with improv in their language arts classrooms.

Practical implications

The concept of embodied literacies, while advocated in current literacy research, may not be easy to imagine, in terms of classroom practice. This paper provides an example of how embodied critical literacies might look, sound and unfold in a classroom setting. It also provides ideas for classroom teachers considering working with improv in their language arts classrooms.

Social implications

The authors argue that providing students with critical encounters is an important enterprise for 21st-century classrooms and improv is one means for doing so. As an embodied literacy practice, improv in the classroom teaches students to listen to/with other players in the improv scene, become attuned to their movements and move responsively with those players and the audience. It opens up spaces for critically reflecting on ways of being and doing, which, in turn, may inform students’ movements in further associations with each other both in class and outside the walls of their school.

Originality/value

In this paper, building on work conducted by Author 1, the authors extend traditional notions of critical literacy. The authors advocate for developing critical learning opportunities, such as classroom improv, which can actively engages students in critical encounter. In this vein, rather than viewing critical literacy as critical framing that requires distancing between the learner and the topic, the posthuman critical literacy the authors put forward engages the learner in connecting with others, reflecting on those relations, and in doing so, being transformed. That is, through critical encounter, rather than only enacting transformation on texts and/or material contexts, learners themselves are transformed.

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English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

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Article

Peng Du and Hsin-Hui Chou

The purpose of this paper is to address the research question of how human actors and technology interact together in practices in the context of a sharing economy. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the research question of how human actors and technology interact together in practices in the context of a sharing economy. The theoretical foundation of this paper is based on the existing literature about the sharing economy and studies that have been carried out examining value co-creation and sociomateriality.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts a qualitative case study method for the empirical investigation. Using theoretical sampling, Xbed, an internet, unmanned and self-service hotel platform based in Guangzhou, China, was chosen for the empirical investigation. The case was built on multiple sources of data, including archival materials, on-site fieldwork and in-depth interviews. Then, the case was interpreted based on a number of theoretical concepts, with a particular emphasis on the sociomaterial perspective.

Findings

This paper shows how human actors and technology interact with one another in a number of interrelated ways, which collectively result in the value co-creation necessary for creating a sharing economy. The authors have found that various forms of sociomateriality (the intersection between technology, work and organization) play a key role in co-creation and that interactions between these sociomaterial assemblages (assemblage-to-assemblage (A2A)) drive the development of a sharing economy. These sociomaterial assemblages have dynamic and evolving characteristics.

Practical implications

The authors argue that the key to the success of a sharing economy lies in how to engage participating actors with material entities (e.g. technology applications) to form action-enabling sociomaterial assemblages, as well as in determining how these assemblages can be systematically arranged to collectively form a larger assemblage. We suggest that managers need to conceive how relations between the social and the material realms can be structured by adopting a service logic that aims to help the beneficiary function better. The authors also suggest that managers have to consider what assemblages are necessary and how they are connected, to construct a full access-based service.

Originality/value

This paper conceptualizes the sharing economy as a system of value co-creation practices and empirically examines such practices from a sociomaterial perspective. This paper adopts the concept of sociomaterial assemblages to investigate sharing practices, through which the knowledge of the role of technology in the development of a sharing economy is enhanced. This paper also expands the knowledge of service-dominant logic by using a microfoundation perspective to look at the value co-creation that emerges as a result of the interaction between sociomaterial assemblages. These assemblages also act as constitutive elements of a service ecosystem.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article

Carlos A. Diaz Ruiz, Lisa Penaloza and Jonas Holmqvist

This paper aims to investigate the dynamics of ephemerality within consumer tribes by conceptualizing how tribes constitute, disperse and reconstitute. Building upon…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the dynamics of ephemerality within consumer tribes by conceptualizing how tribes constitute, disperse and reconstitute. Building upon assemblage thinking, a philosophical approach that redistributes agency from the subject to a web of interconnected human–material actants, this paper shows that tribes manifest via hybrid assemblages of people, things and ideas.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights are drawn from a three-year assemblage-oriented ethnographic study of a salsa-dancing tribe, specifically their ephemeral gatherings across multiple sites without hierarchical organization. Methods include observations as a consumer–participant, producer–participant and in-depth interviewing.

Findings

Introduces a framework documenting how tribes disperse temporarily and reconstitute via a dual process of ascription and distribution. Tribes reconstitute when consumers reproduce an assemblage that effectively overcomes a meshwork of practical challenges. Consumers ascribe to the standards of the tribe while, alternatively, tribes distribute the assemblage beyond the immediate group.

Research limitations/implications

Conceptualizes the socio-technical dynamics that tribes mobilize to disassemble and reassemble through ephemeral gatherings. Proposes a framework on hybrid interdependencies, including not only participants but also techniques, devices and sites.

Practical implications

While previous research shows that tribes can collapse, the authors propose that marketers can intervene to foster long-term resilience. As tribes disperse, consumer and marketing efforts operate at different temporal sequences to enable tribal reconstitutions.

Originality/value

Contributes to the literature on consumer tribes by theorizing ephemerality per ascription and distribution mechanisms.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 54 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article

Jo Bates, Paula Goodale, Yuwei Lin and Penny Andrews

The purpose of this paper is to adopt an assemblage theory lens to examine the socio-material forces shaping the development of an infrastructure for the recovery of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to adopt an assemblage theory lens to examine the socio-material forces shaping the development of an infrastructure for the recovery of archived historical marine weather records for use in contemporary climate data sets.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted a data journeys approach to research design, conducting in-depth semi-structured interviews with climate scientists, citizen scientists and a climate historian who were engaged at key sites across the journey of data from historical record to the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set database. Interview data were complemented by further qualitative data collected via observations of working practices, a digital ethnography of citizen scientists’ online forums, and documentation relevant to the circulation and governance of climate data across emergent data infrastructures. Data were thematically analysed (Ryan and Bernard, 2003), with themes being informed primarily by the theoretical framework.

Findings

The authors identify and critically examine key points of friction in the constitution of the data recovery infrastructure and the circulation of data through it, and identify the reflexive and adaptive nature of the beliefs and practices fostered by influential actors within the assemblage in order to progress efforts to build an infrastructure despite significant challenges. The authors conclude by addressing possible limitations of some of these adaptive practices within the context of the early twenty-first century neoliberal state, and in light of current debates about data justice.

Originality/value

The paper draws upon original empirical data and a novel theoretical framework that draws together Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblage theory with key concepts from the field of critical data studies (data journeys, data friction and data assemblage) to illuminate the socio-material constitution of the data recovery infrastructure within the context of the early twenty-first century neoliberal state.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article

Aimee Dinnin Huff and June Cotte

A growing stream of consumer research has examined the intersection of family dynamics, consumption practices and the marketplace. The purpose of this paper is to make…

Abstract

Purpose

A growing stream of consumer research has examined the intersection of family dynamics, consumption practices and the marketplace. The purpose of this paper is to make sense of the complex nature of family for senior families (adult children and their elderly parents) who employ the use of elder care services and facilities.

Design/methodology/approach

This research analyses data gathered from in-depth interviews with adult siblings and their elderly parents through the lens of assemblage theory.

Findings

This paper advances a conceptulisation of the family as an evolving assemblage of components, including individual members; material possessions and home(s); shared values, goals, memories and practices; prominent familial attributes of love and care; and marketplace resources. Three features of the assemblage come to the fore in senior families: the fluid meaning of independence for the elderly parent, the evolution of shared family practices and the trajectory of the assemblage that is a function of its history and future.

Originality/value

This research focuses on a stage of family life that has been under-theorised; applies assemblage theory to the family collective, demonstrating that a family can be conceptualised as an ever-evolving assemblage of human and non-human components, and this is a useful lens for understanding how senior families “do” family; and argues for a broader notion of family – one that is not household-centric or focused on families with young children, that encompasses members and materiality and that foregrounds the dynamic, evolving nature of family life.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article

Joonas Rokka and Robin Canniford

Digital technologies are changing the ways in which the meanings and identity of both consumers and brands are constructed. This research aims to extend knowledge of how…

Abstract

Purpose

Digital technologies are changing the ways in which the meanings and identity of both consumers and brands are constructed. This research aims to extend knowledge of how consumer-made “selfie” images shared in social media might contribute to the destabilization of brands as assemblages.

Design/methodology/approach

Insights are drawn from a critical visual content analysis of three popular champagne brand accounts and consumer-made selfies featuring these brands in Instagram.

Findings

This study shows how brands and branded selves intersect through “heterotopian selfie practices”. Accentuated by the rise of attention economy and “consumer microcelebrity”, the authors argue that these proliferating selfie images can destabilize spatial, temporal, symbolic and material properties of brand assemblages.

Practical implications

The implications include a consideration of how selfie practices engender new challenges for brand design and brand management.

Originality/value

This study illustrates how a brand assemblage approach can guide investigations of brands at multiple scales of analysis. In particular, this paper extends knowledge of visual brand-related user-generated content in terms of how consumers express, visualize and share selfies and how the heterotopian quality of this sharing consequently shapes brand assemblages.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 50 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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