Assembling Population and Place: Social Theory and the on-going conversation for Early Career Population Geographers

Paula Margaret Duffy

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper looks to explore ‘Assemblage’ thinking as a framework for population geography research. We discuss this amidst the ongoing conversation with population geography and social theory. The Paper highlights the recent prominence of Assemblage thinking/theory more broadly in Human geography; before exploring the potential opportunities for engagement by population geographers from relational and critical perspectives. In particular we focus on three sets concepts of: Emergence, Contingency, De/territorialisation and Coding/de-coding.
The Empirical lens for this study is a multi-level typology of 149 of Scotland’s coastal localities (populations of 1000 -100,000). The typology is used both as evidence to contribute to coastal planning intervention, and critically as an example of technical knowledge commonly produced by population geographers. We consider the limitations of technical knowledges. In particular the limitations in capturing emergence, contingency and process when addressing demographic change.
Considering the assemblage practice ‘rendering technical’, we reflect on the role population geography and demography plays in the practice of Assemblage theory in authorizing knowledge and policy. This paper concludes that a reflexive approach to researching with assemblage theory is the way forward if using this conceptual framework within the sub-discipline. This is promising for continuing the dialogue with social theory. However, such an approach may challenge the intimate relationship between population geographers and the state.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2016
EventRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016 - Royal Geographical Society, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Aug 20162 Sept 2016


ConferenceRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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