‘My magic cam’: a more‐than‐representational account of the climbing assemblage

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Abstract:

This paper adds to debates on bodies and materiality concerning how we experience places not only as bodies but as complex assemblages. It engages with the relations between climbers, their kit and the places in which they climb to explore how during the situated practice of climbing, climbers and material artefacts co‐evolve resulting in a diverse array of synergies that co‐enable the climb. Differing roles and functions emerge and are negotiated between climber, crag and kit. These roles and functions go beyond those detailed by manufacturer‐ascribed use‐values that define their ‘proposed’ or ‘proper’ role/s and limits within the climber's safety assemblage. Drawing upon semi‐structured interviews with climbers, I use Actor Network Theory to explore the enabling, situated, contingent and co‐emergent relations between climbers and their kit and show how more‐than‐representational dimensions of their environmental engagements are dependent upon entering into symbolic and synergistic relationships with material others.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01069.x

Affiliations: Department of Geography, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2DE.

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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