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Fire, Walk with Me: Towards a Geography of the Fourth Topology.

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  • Social Sciences
  • Mathematics


The concept of topology has become a cornerstone in the project of widening the ontological register in both ANT and human geography. The seminal starting point has for many years been ‘Regions, networks and fluids’ by Annemarie Mol and John Law from 1994, an article that for instance influenced John Urry’s outline of a global complexity. In the article, two familiar topologies, the region and the network is positioned against a third, the not so familiar topology, fluidity. Then, in 2001, Law and Mol introduce a fourth topology, fire, in a reasoning that at least in the first reading, borders to ontological mysticism. The reasoning in the later paper has thus not been cited and used in the same extent as the 1994 paper. This is a bit surprising, since the reasoning lay out a framework with a significant potential to substantially extend the relational thinking – approach as it stresses the importance of the absent (taking the reasoning far away from a simple topographical ontology) in practice, performativity, agency, and materiality of a network. This paper is the first step to outline a geography of this fourth topology.

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