The theme for the 2014 IFIP WG 8.2 working conference was ‘Information Systems and Global Assemblages: (Re)Configuring Actors, Artefacts, Organizations’. The motivation behind the choice of the conference theme has been the increasing appreciation of notions of emergence, heterogeneity and temporality in IS studies. We found that the conference provided an opportune occasion for inviting scholars interested in exploring these notions, their relevance and promise for IS studies. The concept of the ‘assemblage’ , already referenced in IS studies, as will be discussed below, and with significant popularity in other fields, such as anthropology, geography and cultural studies, provided the stepping stone for approaching the heterogeneous, emergent and situated nature of information systems and organization. In particular, we opted for highlighting the ‘global assemblage’ as a metaphor to talk about challenging yet often creative tensions that emerge as global imperatives (geographical, intellectual, procedural and others) interact with local arrangements of actors, artefacts and organizations. Here ‘global’ does not mean universal or everywhere, but mobile, abstractable, and capable of recontextualization across diverse social and cultural situations.
This book provides a collection of contributions by scholars who responded to our invitation, adding depth and breadth to our understanding of the concept and its value for IS studies. At the same time, some contributors chose to discuss emergence, heterogeneity and situatedness in different terms, drawing upon alternative theoretical traditions and concepts. The result has been an engaging and stimulating mix of ideas that points towards the ‘multiple’ trajectories - current and future - of this exciting stream of research.