The paper works with queer and feminist post-human materialist scholarship to understand the way young teen valleys' girls experienced ubiquitous feelings of fear, risk, vulnerability and violence. Longitudinal ethnographic research of girls (aged 12–15) living in an ex-mining semi-rural community suggests how girls are negotiating complex gendered and sexual mores of valleys' life. We draw on Deleuze and Guatarri's concept of ‘becomings’ emerging in social–material–historical ‘assemblages’ to map how the gendered and queer legacies of the community's equine past surfaces affectively in girls' talk about horses. Our cartography traces a range of ‘transversal flashes’ in which girls' lives and their activities with horses resonate with a local history coloured by the harsh conditions of mining as well as liberatory moments of ‘pure desire’. We creatively explore Deleuze and Guatarri's provocation to return desire to its polymorphous revolutionary force. Instead of viewing girls as needing to be empowered, transformed or rerouted, we emphasise the potential of what girls already do and feel and the more-than-human assemblages which enable these desires.
Bibliographical noteThis publication is based on research supported by the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council [grant number RES-576-25-0021] and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The full research team included Gabrielle Ivinson, Emma Renold, Kate Moles and Mariann Martsin.
- Deleuze and Guatarri