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Networks and Assemblage

March 23, 2011
tv_modern_family01-703751

The Actor-Network theory is a theory which tries to explain the material-semiotic network. Material meaning between things and semiotic meaning between concepts. Essentially this theory stipulates that a network is made up of actants which can be human or nonhuman. For instance a university is made up of lecturers, students, buildings, technology and concepts of deadlines, academic pursuit, learning and organisation. The theory also says that the actor-networks are transient, ever improving and constantly changing.

Assemblage is the collection of things. Assembling things together to form a network.

The example of the network of a family can be used to demonstrate assemblage. Families are made up of humans, keeping in mind that the theory of assemblage and ANT believe that a network is made up of human and nonhuman aspects.

  • The material role could be the people that make up the family, their blood that gets passed down generations.
  • The expressive role could be the personalities, interests, careers, religion, education and life choices which the people make.
  • The territorializing role could be love which keeps people together, financial obligations, joint assets, socio-economic status, employment which maintain the lifestyles which each person has and allows for the network to continue.
  • The deterritorializing role could be divorce, death, bankruptcy, disease, natural disaster, poverty, war, prison or murder.

These theories attempt to display the complexity of networks which are made up of actants which are both human and nonhuman, things and concepts.

While the Modern Family and the Bluth family from Arrested Development are both dysfunctional and hilarious, they are both examples of networks in the simplest of forms.

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