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Unformatted text preview: sions of the house, building material, a single standing structure, and so on are technical relations. The fact of a house located in a luxury‐ home gated community can be a social relation. The status of the house vis‐à‐vis mortgage rates is an economic relation and green‐house emission from the house is an ecological relation. All these relations impact each other and can be said to be mutually interdependent. Overdetermination of the nexus The nexus of relations draws on the Althusserian concept of “overdetermination” which is a way of thinking about political situations where multiple forces are at work simultaneously, thus resisting the idea of root causes (Wolff and Resnick 1987: 15; Gibson‐Graham 1996: 25‐ 29).5 The nodes in the nexus of relations are not discrete, analytical entities; depending on the purpose at hand, any node may be dropped, or subdivided, or a new one added. The relations act and react upon each other constantly to maintain a dynamic system of mutually constituted elements. It is important to recognize that categories such as technology, culture, economy, and nature, as real as they may seem, are actually discursive‐material processes. For example, 5 It is precisely this idea that Gibson‐Graham (2013) applies to community development and household economies in their discussion of anti‐essentialism using a formulation developed by Wolff and Wolff (1987). 15 no objects are intrinsically, cultural or economic. Is a home contained in the economy or in culture? Since homes use energy and materials, and create waste matter, by what criteria do we abstract, or draw a home out of the realm of nature? Another way of describing the overdetermined nexus of relations comes from eastern philosophy’s beautiful description of Indra’s net.6 Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single jewel in each “eye” of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. Th...
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