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Assembling an island laboratory

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Three different versions of assemblage (Deleuzian, actor-network theory and Haraway's companionship) are discussed in terms of the insights they offer into spatial relations between life science, medicine and society. Using the example of a proposal to turn Iceland into an island laboratory for gene discovery research, I ask how assemblages gain friction and tenacity in the world, especially if we accept the post-structuralist insistence on the fragility of any seemingly fixed, isolated and bounded construction of space. Why did so many people (including academics) buy in to the idea of Iceland as an ideal genetic laboratory? How were the pieces of that island laboratory made to fit together and at what price?

Keywords: Deleuze; Haraway; Iceland; actor-network theory (ANT); assemblage; island laboratory

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, Email:

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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