Nonrepresentational Theory

Nonrepresentational theory (NRT) is a reaction against the stranglehold of representation in cultural geographies. Although by no means unified, NRT in human geography has two broad positions. Epistemologically, it seeks to challenge the notion that representation is “all there really is” by emphasizing the unruly forces of life that elude cognitions and conceptualizations. It is in this sense that NRT does not herald the overturning of representation—perhaps, as Hayden Lorimer suggests, a better name for nonrepresentational theory would be “more-than-representational theory.” Ontologically, NRT breaks with a Cartesian division between “subject” and “object.” Replacing this philosophical dualism is a flat ontology based on the interplay of affect, practice, and performance. The work of Gilles Deleuze, a 20th-century poststructuralist philosopher, greatly influenced the general contours of NRT. ...

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