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The social movements of 2011, including the Arab Spring, the Indignados, and Occupy, and a subsequent round of popular, pro-democracy and anti-austerity uprisings have been conceptualized in different ways and to varying degrees both as related phenomena and as signifying a new wave of global contention (eg. Pleyers and Glasius 2013; Castells 2012).
We propose that these post-2010 movements can be productively conceptualized, studied and theorized as an ‘assemblage’. We invoke the concept of ‘assemblage’ to characterize these movements-in-context and movements-in-relation at various scales, to unsettle received notions: of movement, society, capitalism, of national, international and global, and of agency and structure on which global studies of social movements rely. Assemblage thinking also allows consideration of the agency of non-human elements, such as digital technologies, local ecologies or the built environment in the constitution of these movements.