Published by: Routledge
Publication Date: 30/09/2009
Order on-line: http://www.routledge.com/
This book proposes – and its various chapters offer demonstrations –
importing into urban studies a body of theories, concepts, and
perspectives developed in the field of science and technology studies
(STS) and, more specifically, Actor-Network Theory (ANT). The essays,
research articles and interviews included in this volume examine
artefacts, technical systems, architectures, places and eventful
spaces, the persistence of history, imaginary and virtual elements of
city life, and the politics and ethical challenges of a mode of
analysis that incorporates multiple actors as hybrid chains of
causation. The chapters are attentive to the multiple scales of both
the object of analysis and the analysis itself. The aim is more
ambitious than the mere transfer of a fashionable template. The
authors embrace ANT critically, and they treat it both as a heuristic
device and a method. They deploy it to think with, to ask new
questions, to find the language to achieve more compelling
descriptions of city life and urban change. By greatly extending the
chain or network of causation, proliferating heterogeneous agents,
non-human as well as human, without limit as to their enrolment in
urban assemblages, ANT offers a way of addressing the particular
complexity and openness characteristic of cities.
By enabling an escape from the reification of the city so common in
social theory, ANT’s notion of hybrid assemblages offers richer
framing of the reality of the city – of urban experience – that is
responsive to contingency and complexity. Therefore Urban Assemblages
is a pertinent book for students, practitioners and scholars as it
aims to shift the parameters of urban studies and contribute a
meaningful argument for the urban arena and government policies.
Ignacio Farías. Introduction: decentring the object of urban studies /
Section 1: Towards a Flat Ontology? Manuel Tironi. Gelleable spaces,
eventful geographies: the case of Santiago's experimental music scene.
Alan Latham and Derek P. McCormack. Globalizations big and small:
notes on urban studies, actor-network theory, and geographical scale.
Richard G. Smith. Urban studies without ‘scale’: localizing the global
through Singapore. Don Slater and Tomas Ariztía. Assembling Asturias:
scaling devices and cultural leverage. Ignacio Farías. Interview with
Nigel Thrift / Section 2: A Non-Human Urban Ecology. Andrés Valderrama
Pineda. How do we co-produce urban transport systems and the city? The
case of Transmilenio and Bogotá. Anique Hommels. Changing obdurate
urban objects: The attempts to reconstruct the highway through
Maastricht. Michael Guggenheim. Mutable immobiles. Building conversion
as a problem of quasi-technologies. Israel Rodríguez Giralt, Daniel
López Gómez and Noel García López. Conviction and commotion: on
soundspheres, technopolitics and urban space. Ignacio Farías.
Interview with Stephen Graham / Section 3: The Multiple City. Ignacio
Farías. The reality of urban tourism: framed activity and virtual
ontology. Michael Schillmeier. Assembling money and the senses.
Revisiting Georg Simmel and the city. Caitlin Zaloom. The city as
value locus: markets, technologies, and the problem of worth. Rosalind
Williams. Second empire, second nature, secondary world: Verne and
Baudelaire in the capital of the Nineteenth Century. Ignacio Farías.
Interview with Rob Shields / Thomas Bender. Postscript: Re-Assembling
the city. Networks and urban imaginaries.
Ignacio Farías is Senior Researcher at the Social Science Research
Center Berlin and Associate Researcher at the Diego Portales
University in Santiago de Chile.
Thomas Bender is University Professor and Professor of History at New