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The house unbuilt: actor-networks, social agency and the ethnography of a residence in south-western Uganda

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Abstract

Anthropological theory has always shown a particular fascination for the subject of the house. However, Latour's work offers a significant challenge for previous theorising in this area. Latour challenges the very idea of what a house is, and encourages us to see ‘the house’ as not a coherent form at all, so much as a multitude of (more or less stable) assemblages. He also forces us to re-examine the relationship between constructed dwellings and the social, encouraging us to see the former as having particular forms of agency within the latter. This article examines these ideas in relation to the ethnography of one particular house in rural south-western Uganda.

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