Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Lindsay K. CampbellErika S. Svendsen; Renae Reynolds; Victoria Marshall
    Date: 2019
    Source: Social & Cultural Geography
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (2.0 MB)


    This paper draws upon Actor Network Theory (ANT) to explore material and social dynamics of a coastal community garden site on public housing grounds in Rockaway, NY after Hurricane Sandy. Through a participatory design-research project, we examine shifting associations between humans and non-humans as a way of interrogating agency, power dynamics, and governance. Acknowledging our own outsider status, we draw upon the frame of 'contact zones' for thinking through encounters in conditions of power differentials. In describing our encounter with the Beach 41st Street Community Garden as a contact zone, we identify three assemblages with different governance arrangements – tidal shore, garden plots, and treed lawn. These assemblages are networked through material flows and include nonhuman actants such as freshwater, soil, plants, and wood. Unruly actors and actants – people, saltwater, poison ivy, dogs, and trash – can spark controversy and resist governing. We reflect upon the role of design, research, and community organizing as interventions that can cause rearrangements of the assemblages, shedding new light on power dynamics and potential apertures for change in a dynamic site. In so doing, we mobilize contact zones and ANT to better understand and act within shifting associations between humans and non-humans.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Reynolds, Renae; Marshall, Victoria. 2019. Material and social relations in a coastal community garden assemblage. Social & Cultural Geography. 23 p.


    Google Scholar


    Actor network theory, contact zone, design, participatory research, power, stewardship

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page