Peripheralisation: A Politics of Place, Affect, Perception and Representation

Joanie Willett (U Exeter) & Thilo Lang (SFB 1199 & IfL)

Publication Date

June 2018


European Society for Rural Sociology






Sociologia Ruralis







Additional Information


Recently scholars have started to consider the persistence of peripheries in relation to how they are represented by others outside of the region. Drawing on Foucauldian knowledge/power processes and forms of ‘internal colonialism’, powerful core regions construct and reconstruct knowledge about peripheries as a weaker ‘other’. However this denies agency to passive, peripheral ‘victims’, compromising their capacity to contest their peripherality. We challenge this using Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblages and the concepts of affect and perception to develop a conceptualisation of power which allows agency to weaker entities. This enables us to develop better tools for improving peripheral development. We use an innovative Public Engagement research method and a case‐study of Cornwall in the South West of the UK to consider an alternative model with regards to how ideas become accepted and adopted. We claim that analyses of the relationships between core and peripheral regions need to understand the complex cultural assemblages behind regional identities, because this helps us to explore the sites of possibility which offer space for development.

Biographical Note

Dr. Joanie Willett (University of Exeter)

Willetts broad research and teaching experience focusses on the inter-relationship between identity, communities, and the environment; using political philosophy to provide new ways of looking at the world to improve economic development and governance.  She has a strong interest in the use of artistic methods such as performance as research tools; and use phenomenological post humanist, materialist political philosophies to understand the identities, motivations, and behaviours of communities.