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Unsettling relatonality: Attachment after the ‘relational turn’

Anderson, Ben

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In this response, I place the concept of attachment in the context of debates about the ontological commitments and political-ethical value of relational thinking today. Reading the four commentaries in this forum as emerging from and enacting a fraying of the promise and hold of relational thinking, I explore how, together, they pose a series of questions to my account of attachments as trajectories that ‘bring closer’ a promissory ‘object’: how do some objects become promissory, what, if anything, is the outside of attachment, and what accompanies attachments? The terms through which the commentaries pose these questions and complement the concept of attachment – economies, desire, problem, detachment – revise and supplement my vocabulary and research agenda for a cultural geography of attachment. Simultaneously, they question and challenge relational thinking more broadly.


Anderson, B. (2023). Unsettling relatonality: Attachment after the ‘relational turn’. Dialogues in Human Geography, 13(3), 428-432.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 27, 2023
Online Publication Date Aug 25, 2023
Publication Date 2023-11
Deposit Date Aug 31, 2023
Publicly Available Date Aug 31, 2023
Journal Dialogues in Human Geography
Print ISSN 2043-8206
Electronic ISSN 2043-8214
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Pages 428-432
Keywords detachment, relations, Attachment, negativity, forms, desire
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Published Journal Article (Advanced Online Version) (239 Kb)


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Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

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