Our article focuses on the region of Chilean Patagonia and considers how it has developed as a leading producer of salmon for global food markets. It addresses the problem of how to decentre conventional views of the forces driving regional development that give primacy to the role of capital and technology, instead giving due recognition to the knowledge and practices of situated actors and to the relationships that form between human and non-human entities in food producing regions. As an alternative, we ask whether an assemblage approach can improve our understanding of regional transformation. To explore this question, we present original ethnographic data on constitutive practices that have transformed the Patagonian region, from the territorialization of Salmonidae species to experimentation in ocean ranching and seawater fish farming, and finally the development of a global industry. The evidence leads us to argue that in a complex globalised world, assemblage theory offers a valuable approach for understanding how regional potential is realised. In the case of Chilean Patagonia, it is apparent that forms of bio-power generate new relations between life, agency and nature, stimulating contemporary regional transformations in ways overlooked by the lineal logic of capital objectification discourses. Applying an assemblage approach enables the significance of new contemporary human - non-human relationships and inter-subjectivities to come to the fore, keeping the social in view as potential for regional transformation and new power asymmetries continuously emerge.
- Assemblage theory
- Salmon production