Smoothing, striating and territorializing: The assembling of ‘science in the making’

Jeremy Aroles*, Christine McLean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on a rich two-year ethnographic study that followed evolutionary biologists in their everyday work, this paper explores the making of scientific knowledge through the spatial conceptual imagery developed by Deleuze and Guattari. In particular, this paper focuses on a field expedition to the South Pacific and investigates how different rhythms, forces and intensities are harmonized and assembled in the production of scientific knowledge. Within this setting, maintaining a balance between striating and smoothing forces is an important yet difficult task. On many occasions, alternative rhythms and ‘tropical forces’ jeopardized the success of the expedition, despite the scientists’ best efforts to formalize the research process and bring the striations of the laboratory into the forest. Paradoxically, these challenges also played a key role in the inquiry as they opened new possibilities and ultimately led to more intense engagements with the tropical forest and its rhythms and spatiality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-130
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Early online date17 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by a Presidential Doctoral Scholarship Award from the University of Manchester to the first author of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Deleuze
  • Guattari
  • knowledge
  • science
  • smooth
  • space
  • striated
  • territories

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