In contemporary urban studies and geography there is an increasing desire to conceptualize the built environment as both a result of forces that produce, extend, and reconfigure it in countless ways, and as a social and spatial framework that hosts and affects these same forces. Working within the Spinozistic ontology that takes “relations of movement and rest” as the only constant, Deleuze and Guattari offer an explication of these intensities and lines of force that construct any given milieu, enter into complex and often ephemeral assemblages that operate according to their own logic, and produce what they call a ‘plane of immanence’ and a ‘plane of organization’. In A Thousand Plateaus, these planes form the conceptual poles between which both thought and the physical and social constructions that constitute our everyday urban reality are actualized. For example, a private developer undertaking a large-scale urban redevelopment project could assemble a particular set of discourses around sustainability, luxury living, and the creative economy that occur in everyday discussions (on the plane of immanence). In doing so, a new plane of organization is formed, and as the development proceeds, new urban forms and subjectivities that use these forms are produced.
The movement that exists between these planes follows from Spinoza’s parallelism, which claims that both thought and extension comprise bodies; for Deleuze and Guattari, the plane of immanence includes elements that have the characteristics of thought – constantly changing singularities that link up and form new, ephemeral assemblages – while the plane of organization is much less nimble and dynamic. The overlapping planes work in concert; however, the mapping of thought and extension do not necessarily sync up. From an urban studies perspective, thought is defined by the discourses that initiate movement between the planes, while extension becomes concrete world that results from the thought that accompanies it. Various intensities enter into urban assemblages, populate thought as ‘concepts’, and are manifested in the physical world as geographies that are managed and ordered to varying degrees. This session explores how these conceptual poles might provide powerful tools for understanding the urban in late capitalism if we want to understand “how it works” rather than “what it means.”
We hope to investigate the potential of the resonances that exist between the two planes, as a means to understand the ways in which the built environment is perpetually changing, and how we as researchers and practitioners might alter its trajectory. We welcome submissions that explore the physical construction of these planes, the ‘image of thought’ of the 21st century, the disconnects that take place between these parallel planes, as well as the various acts immanent to the plane itself, such as:
deterritorialization/reterritorialization – radical rethinking of existing strategies for urban development or resistance to it
abstract machines – the ways in which language used to describe cities urban topics is normalized, co-opted, or redefined
lines of intensity – various social movements across the planes that have the potential to open up or foreclose possibilities for new assemblages and alternative futures
micro-fascisms – instances of everyday social and spatial practices that reinforce particular planes of organization and inhibit movements toward an increasingly open, equal, and democratic society
subjectification – exploring the shifting ways in which people identify with particular areas of the city, either consciously or unconsciously
changing affective states – investigating how we are materially changed by our interactions in and with urban environments
the continuous movement between smooth and striated space – studies of the tension between cultivating spaces of difference and the top down management of space
Please send abstracts of up to 250 words by October 15th to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow the abstract guidelines for the AAG, and include PIN if already registered. Notifications will be sent by October 20th. Registration for the AAG must be completed by October 24th, 2012.
Cheryl Gilge and Keith Harris
Ph. D. Program of the Built Environment
College of Built Environments
University of Washington