Volatile Agencies: Spacing Assemblages in Humanitarian Organizing

Oana Brindusa Albu, Neva Štumberger

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


This paper draws on the Communicative Constitution of Communication (CCO) approach to understand the relational agencies involved in spacing and organizing. Methodologically, the paper draws on a case study of a non profit organization working in a forced migration hotspot in Lebanon and builds on ethnographic data. The paper identifies the different ways in which spacing assemblages (i.e., the relational weaving of practices, conversations, texts, territories, and other elements) exhibit volatile agencies and thus make a difference in the process of organizing. On the one hand, the findings show the conjunction of individuals, spaces and identities as assemblages control individuals’ work and movements. On the other hand, the findings illustrate the disjunction of individuals, spaces and identities as assemblages engender divergent identities for those organizing and dwelling in these spaces. The paper’s contribution is twofold. First, the paper contributes to a relational view of agency by showing how agencies of spatial configurations are formed through communicative relations between agents, but also how these agencies are impeded, restricted, or constrained by other agents, relations, or assemblages. Secondly, the paper shows how a CCO lens is relevant for fostering a communicative understanding of space that can bring to the forefront the political and ethical conundrums specific to spacing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventThe 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference. ICA 2022: One World, One Network‽ - Paris, France
Duration: 26 May 202230 Jun 2022
Conference number: 72


ConferenceThe 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference. ICA 2022
Internet address


  • Communication constitutes organization
  • Space
  • Assemblages
  • Refugees

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