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Using ethnography and assemblage theory in political geography

Ghoddousi, P; Page, S; (2020) Using ethnography and assemblage theory in political geography. Geography Compass , 14 (10) , Article e12533. 10.1111/gec3.12533. Green open access

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While the focus on the ‘everyday’ in qualitative human geography has greatly increased the need for, and relevance of, ethnographic methods, Megoran argued that this is particularly true for political geography as it has the potential to challenge its focus on elite discourse, allowing researchers to bring forward multiple voices to investigate the becoming of political events. More recently, assemblage theory has gained traction in political geography, not only because of its capability to include the role of the material and the affective, but also revealing the links between micro‐ and macro‐politics by showing how agency emerges out of complex relations. In the first part of this paper, we present an overview of the recent uses of ethnography in political geography that have not embraced assemblage. Second, we explore the theoretical conceptualisations of, and opportunities provided by, an assemblage approach. Third, we go through the use of assemblage ethnographies in political geography, with a particular focus on Pooya's experience of research with Iranians in London. In this, he embraced a variety of ethnographic approaches, including ‘auto‐ethnography’, ‘netnographies’, ‘participant sensation’, in combination with observations, participatory workshops and activism. Showing the role of ethnography as a qualitative tool for political geographers to interrogate discursive social constructions, we argue that it holds even more promise for analysing and intervening in the emergent politics of socio‐material‐affective assemblages.

Type: Article
Title: Using ethnography and assemblage theory in political geography
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12533
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12533
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10114877
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