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Tussling with seascape character assessment and assemblage theories

Tussling with seascape character assessment and assemblage theories

Jay, Stephen and Acott, Timothy (2023) Tussling with seascape character assessment and assemblage theories. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 25 (6). pp. 676-689. ISSN 1523-908X (Print), 1522-7200 (Online) (doi:

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Assemblage theory, based on the work of Manuel DeLanda, has gained in popularity amongst social scientists. However, a very different version of the theory has now been presented by Ian Buchanan, who claims that his version has much stronger roots in the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, from which the concept originates. A review of these two reveals the deep differences between them and their incompatibility, especially given the different ontologies upon which they are based. They can broadly be described respectively as systems-oriented and purpose-oriented approaches. These competing versions are explored further in the context of the practice of seascape character assessment. A twin analysis of a seascape character assessment exercise is carried out, which illustrates vividly the different understandings that each assemblage theory offers. However, this also suggests that each has the potential to help develop more progressive approaches to seascape practice. The choice of approach will depend on the aim of incorporating assemblage theory into this area of practice, whether to work within the rationale of, and enhance, existing assessment (DeLanda) or to interrogate the processes by which seascapes may serve particular purposes and then shape those processes (Buchanan).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: assemblage theory; Manuel DeLanda; Ian Buchanan; seascape; seascape character assessment; coastal environments
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
V Naval Science > V Naval Science (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 16:21

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