Unravelling the Global Wool Assemblage: researching place and production networks in the global countryside

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This article applies an assemblage reading to the contemporary global woollen industry to demonstrate how assemblage thinking has value as a methodology for generating insights into the local impact of global economic restructuring; bridging concerns with the relationality of rural places and translocal production networks. Putting assemblage into research practice, we trace the interactions and interdependencies between human and non-human, organic and inorganic, technical and natural components of the global wool assemblage from the entry point of Newtown in mid-Wales. In so doing, we call attention to those critical moments in this schema that may be usefully exposed or explored via the concept of assemblage. Here we consider the agency of non-human actors, as well as the biological, technological, regulatory and marketing regimes that seek to produce wool as a globally mobile commodity. Through their enrolment in these sets of relations, Welsh farmers are exposed to the effects of spatially dispersed and contingent dynamics. Using the example of wool we develop a broad argument for using a framework of assemblage alongside other critical theories as a means of grasping how rural societies, places and communities are negotiating change in the context of globalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-158
Number of pages22
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2019


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