Sunday 17 October 2010

DeLanda Reading Group: Cities and Nations (Part One)

So, the DeLanda reading group draws to a close! All that remains is for me (and, independently, Peter Gratton at Philosophy in a Time of Error) to review the final chapter: Cities and Nations. As some of my review has become rather lengthy, I will divide it up between a few posts. After this first short explanatory post will follow:

2) A brief overview of some pertinent points made in previous chapters that will serve as background to the discussions of Cities and Nations.

3) Something approximating a blow-by-blow account of chapter 5 with minimal critical commentary.

4) A conclusion comprising a few comments on the preceding summary but also trying to extend DeLanda’s analysis beyond cities and nations. By this I mean that DeLanda’s “journey from the micro to the macro” (6) goes from individual persons through various types of local and regional organisation to territorial nation states and stops there. In my field, International Relations, this is insufficient. As DeLanda says himself: “an assemblage analysis of singular, individual entities must be complemented by a study of the populations formed by those entities” (107). States themselves form populations; they are usually called ‘international systems.’ I shall not offer anything like a complete (or even adequate) analysis but, utilising the writings of Kenneth Waltz (undoubtedly the most influential if, also, probably the most maligned IR theorist of the twentieth-century), I shall try to sketch out a beginning for this extra level.

EDIT: I've posted parts 2 and 3. Part 4 will follow some time next week. I'll update this post with links as and when I post the rest.