Inside the Research-Assemblage: New Materialism and the Micropolitics of Social Inquiry

Nick J. Fox, Pam Alldred

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores social inquiry in terms of the 'research-assemblages' that produce knowledge from events. We use the precepts of new materialism (and specifically DeleuzoGuattarian assemblage ontology) to develop understanding of what happens when social events are researched. From this perspective, research is not at root an enterprise undertaken by human actors, but a machine-like assemblage of things, people, ideas, social collectivities and institutions. During social inquiry, the affect economies of an event-assemblage and a research-assemblage hybridise, generating a third assemblage with its own affective flow. This model of the research-assemblage reveals a micropolitics of social research that suggests a means to interrogate and effectively reverse-engineer different social research methodologies and methods, to analyse what they do, how they work and their micropolitical effects. It also suggests a means to forward-engineer research methods and designs to manipulate the kinds of knowledge produced when events are researched.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


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