DeLanda’s latest book is a provocative effort to think differently or, according to Montaigne’s formula, to ‘think ailleurs’ – to think elsewhere – that is, to engage in a topographic shift of positions so as to allow a meaningful shift in points of view. Here, it is a case of escaping from the territory of social theories based on dialectics and social constructionism in order to apply Deleuze’s Assemblage Theory to social reality. While recognizing the latter as ‘rudiments of a theory’, DeLanda aims to use different conceptual resources to propose a ‘neo-assemblage theory’ which sees social complexity as composed of a variety of wholes emerging from heterogeneous parts. The problem in the link between the micro- and the macro-level of social reality is tackled through a non-dialectic synthesis of the properties of a whole that is not reducible to its parts. With this solution DeLanda seeks to conceptualize an ontological state of multiple intermediate levels between the micro and the macro – exemplified by Erwin Goffman’s social encounters and Max Weber’s institutional organizations – in which the properties of the whole are supposed to emerge from the interaction between its parts.
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