Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


The purpose of this thesis is to reconsider the nature of ontology in contemporary political science, with the belief that such a move can be of great benefit to understanding changes in our era of globalization and terrorism. This is accomplished by examining the ontologies of both social constructivism and critical realism in order to show their reliance upon illegitimate presuppositions, and then developing a novel ontological position on the basis of these criticisms. Gilles Deleuze’s concept of assemblages - and his ontology, more generally - are examined as particularly powerful ways to conceptualize the complexity, dynamism and differences that are inherent to the political world. This is brought out concretely in a study of recent academic work on contentious politics in order to show the centrality of conflict and difference to politics, and to show the power of a reconceptualization of ontology.



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