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On assemblages and things: fluidity, stability, causation stories and formation stories

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journal contribution
posted on 16.08.2019, 08:54 by Timothy Rutzou, Dave Elder-Vass

This paper conducts a dialogue, and creates a new synthesis, between two of the most influential ontological discourses in the field of sociology: assemblage theory and critical realism. The former proposes a focus on difference, fluidity and process, the latter a focus on stability and structure. Drawing on and assessing the work of Deleuze, DeLanda and Bhaskar, we argue that social ontology must overcome the tendency to bifurcate between these two poles and instead develop an ontology more suited to explaining complex social phenomena by accommodating elements of both traditions. Going beyond DeLanda’s recent work, we argue that a concept of causal types must be employed alongside a typology of structures to give us an ontology that can sustain sociology’s need for both formation stories and causation stories. We illustrate the necessity and value of our proposed synthesis by discussing MacKenzie’s recent empirical analysis of a high frequency trading firm.


Funding

Templeton Foundation

Independent Social Research Foundation

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

Sociological Theory

Volume

37

Issue

4

Pages

pp. 401-424

Publisher

American Sociological Association

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© American Sociological Association

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Sociological Theory and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0735275119888250

Acceptance date

07/08/2019

Publication date

2019-12-17

Copyright date

20192019

ISSN

0735-2751

eISSN

1467-9558

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Dave Elder-Vass

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