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Relational places: the surfed wave as assemblage and convergence

Anderson, Jonathan Mark ORCID: 2012. Relational places: the surfed wave as assemblage and convergence. Environment and Planning D: Society & Space 30 (4) , pp. 570-587. 10.1068/d17910

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Taking the lead from social science moves to frame places as “open-ended, mobile, networked, and actor-centred geographic becoming[s]” (M Jones, 2009, “Phase space” Progress in Human Geography 33, page 5), this paper introduces how the ‘surfed wave’ can be understood as a relational place. Drawing on commentaries from surfers on the practice of wave riding, the paper will show that the surfed wave can be usefully understood in two ways: as an ‘assemblage’ (see Delanda, A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity 2006, Continuum Books, London), and as a ‘convergence’ (see J Anderson, 2009, “Transient convergence and relational sensibility” Emotion, Space and Society 2 120–127). Whilst the notion of assemblage suggests that surfers, boards, and waves are ‘connected’ together to form one coherent unit for the lifetime of the ride the notion of convergence suggests that the surfed wave becomes a place whose constituent parts are not simply connected together; rather, their thresholds are blurred into a converged entity/process. Theorising from the sea in this way is an important move. It demonstrates how the relational turn can encourage us not only to consider traditional places in new ways but also to consider new (watery) ‘coming togethers’ as ‘places’. I argue that these theorisations from the sea offer new perspectives on more traditional (terrestrial) places and human relationships with them.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Uncontrolled Keywords: relational, assemblage, convergence, surfing, place, emotion
Publisher: Pion
ISSN: 0263-7758
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:30

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