Blockades, occupations, and reorientations: chasing alternative political assemblages in the Pacific

Authors: Sasha Davis*, Keene State College
Topics: Political Geography, Social Theory, Asia
Keywords: Political Geography, Pacific, Assemblage, Logistics, Social Movements
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this presentation I argue for examining blockades and other disruptions in logistical circulations through the lens of how they are produced as opposed to what they resist. Inspired by Deleuzean conceptualizations of assemblage – which geographers such as Allen, Cowen, Davies, Dittmer, Featherstone, McFarlane, and Legg have elaborated upon – this presentation emphasizes the ways social practices of blockage and occupation arise not from resistance per se, but from alternative topologies of connection. To make this point, I use two examples from research in the Pacific region in order to trace globe-spanning connections of personal support, material practices, and ethics that enable blockades and other challenges to traditional logistical flows to be produced. One example focuses on a local scale where activists have engaged in land and sea blockades at the construction site of a new US military base on the coast of Henoko, Okinawa. The second example focuses on the regional scale where US military interests have been fretting over what they see as potential threats to US control over Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) in the Pacific due to the rising geopolitical and economic influence of China in Micronesia. In both of these examples, focusing on just what kinds of logistical flows are resisted, blocked, or threatened misses how these potential blockages can also be viewed as productive reorientations of a space towards alternative regimes of governance that challenge traditional colonial and militarized notions of both state and supply chain security.

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