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The dance of maintenance and the dynamics of urban assemblages

Abstract : At the crossroads of human geography and actor-network theory, ample research has been centered around the notion of assemblage as a means to redefine some of the traditional themes of urban studies. This stream of research has called for a true study of the sociotechnical complexity of cities, from the largest infrastructures to the most everyday objects. Wayfinding systems are paradigmatic of urban assemblages. Intimately linked to urban fabric (architecture, streets, highways, and practices themselves), they play a crucial role in the production of cities as both material and informational environments. But to simply remain in place and thus truly contribute to the graphical ordering of urban settings, signs take work. In this text, we first foreground the importance of maintenance work in the daily existence of wayfinding systems – a work that remains largely overlooked in the studies of urban assemblages. Second, we investigate the day-to-day repair activities to show that they consist in reassembling and disassembling operations. Such an approach notably makes possible to apprehend urban assemblages in their daily dynamics and to investigate the ecology of visible and invisible in which their repair takes place.
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Preprints, Working Papers, ...
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Submitted on : Monday, January 11, 2016 - 11:23:08 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 1:34:07 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-01235523, version 1


Jérôme Denis, David Pontille. The dance of maintenance and the dynamics of urban assemblages. 2015. ⟨hal-01235523⟩



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