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A Thousand Plateaus

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Jennifer Yirinec

on 11 May 2011

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Transcript of A Thousand Plateaus

Pictograph: "Piano Piece for David Tudor" Rhizomes vs. Trees “The best way to approach a book by Deleuze and Guattari is to read it as a challenge: to pry open the vacant spaces that would enable you to build your life and those of the people around you into a plateau of intensity that would leave afterimages of its dynamism that could be reinjected into still other lives, creating a fabric of heightened states between which any number, the greatest number, of connecting routes would exist. Some might call that promiscuous. Deleuze and Guattari call it revolution” (Massumi 8). Plateau 1: "Introduction: Rhizome" Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia Key Terms Coding: "the process of ordering matter as it is drawn into a body" ("Gilles Deleuze") Stratification: “the process of creating hierarchical bodies” ("Gilles Deleuze") Territorialization: “the ordering of those bodies in ‘assemblages’” ("Gilles Deleuze") Assemblages: “complex constellations of objects, bodies, expressions, qualities, and territories that come together for varying periods of time to ideally create new ways of functioning. Assemblages operate through desire as abstract machines, or arrangements, that are productive and have function; desire is the circulating energy that produces connections. An assemblage transpires as a set of forces coalesces together, the concept of assemblages applies to all structures, from the behaviour patterns of an individual, the organisation of institutions, an arrangement of spaces, to the functioning of ecologies" (Livesey 18).
The axes of assemblage The horizontal axis: "deals with 'machinic assemblages of bodies, actions and passions' and a 'collective assemblage of enunciation, of acts and statements, of incorporeal transformations of bodies'" (Livesey 18) The vertical axis: "has both 'territorial sides, or reterritorialized sides, which stabilize it, and cutting edges of deterritorialization, which carry it away'" (Livesey 18) Plateau: "the word…comes from an essay by Gregory Bateson's [sic] on Balinese culture, in which he found a libidinal economy quite different from the West's orgasmic orientation. For Deleuze and Guattari, a plateau is reached when circumstances combine to bring an activity to a pitch of intensity that is not automatically dissipated in a climax leading to a state of rest. The heightening of energies is sustained long enough to leave a kind of afterimage of its dynamism that can be reactivated or injected into other activities, creating a fabric of intensive states between which any number of connecting routes could exist" (Massumi 7). Planes of consistency: planes in which "disparate elements" are "[held] together," retaining their heterogeneity (Massumi 7). Assemblages Assemblages Flows Flows Multiplicity "Through its multiplicty an assemblage is shaped by and acts on a wide range of flows" (Livesey 18). State philosophy: "another name for the representational thinking that has dominated Western metaphysics since Plato, but has suffered an at least momentary setback during the last quarter century at the hands of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and poststructuralist theory generally. As described by Deleuze, State philosophy is grounded in a double identity: of the thinking subject, and of the concepts it creates and to which it lends its own presumed attributes of sameness and constancy” (Massumi 4) Nomadism: "does not lodge itself in the edifice of an ordered interiority; it moves freely in an element of exteriority. It does not repose on identity; it moves freely in an element of exteriority…. The concepts it creates do not merely reflect the eternal form of a legislating subject , but are defined by a communicable force in relation to which their subject, to the extent that they can be said to have one, is only secondary. Rather than reflecting the world, they are immersed in a changing state of things" (Massumi 5). "Nomad thought" departs from the "closed equation
of representation, x = x = not y (I = I = not you)" and tends toward the "open equation, … + y + z + a + … (… + arm + brick + window + …)" (Massumi 7). Message: "In a world that builds structures from economic circuits of difference and desire, Deleuze responds by reconsidering how bodies are constructed. He and Guattari argue that such structures constrain creativity and position things and people into regulatory orders" (Colman 233). Rhizomes: figure "how every thing and every body…can be seen as multiple in their interrelational movements with other things and other bodies. The nature of the rhizome is that of a moving matrix, composed of organic and non-organic parts forming symbiotic and aparallel connections, according to transitory and as yet undetermined routes" (Colman 233). The "reconceptualisation" enabled by considering things and bodies as rhizomatic "constitutes a revolutionary philosophy for the reassessment of any form of hierarchical thought, history or activity" (Colman 233). So, they're formulating a way of approaching systems (including literary texts) that will resist the tendency (of the State/capitalism) to monopolize thought & structure identity and desire; their approach breaks an entity (or should I say multiplicity?) free from [internal] constraints and provides him/her with "lines of flight." History is one such "tracing" that enables the State to organize identity; rather than the traditional history, D&G propose a "Nomadology," which comes into existence & constantly evolves through the process of "mapping" (23). Lines of flight: "path[s] of mutation precipitated through the
actualisation of connections among bodies that were previously
only implicit (or 'virtual') that releases new powers in the capacities
of those bodies to act and respond" ("becomings" rather than beings)
(Lorraine 147). They also oppose dichotomies and
linearity; as such, they resist Saussure's
concept of sign systems. Root-book model ("Arborescent Schema") Top: transcendental "Form"
Everything beneath: "subordinate elements" (Stagoll (14). "The subordinate elements, once so arranged, are unable to 'move' horizontally in such a way as to establish creative and productive interrelationships with other concepts, particulars, or models. Rather, their position is final, according to an organising principle implied or determined by the superior concept" (Stagoll 14). Rhizomatic Model 6 principle characteristics of rhizomes:
- (1&2) "Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be" (D&G 7).
- "Principle of multiplicity: it is only when the multiple is effectively treated as a substantive, 'multiplicity,' that it ceases to have any relation to the One as subject or object…" (D&G 8).
- "Principle of asignifying rupture": "A rhizome may be broken, shattered at a given spot, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines" (ex. ants) (D&G 9).
- (5&6): "Principle of cartography and decalcomania": "The rhizome is…a map and not a tracing" (D&G 12). According to the (online) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, there are three major schools of criticism aimed against Deleuze: 1. The feminist critique (1980s): Alice Jardine: argued that D&G's concept of "becoming-woman" threatened women's newly won claim of subjectivity ("Gilles Deleuze") Luce Irigaray: felt D&G's concept of "becoming-woman" served as a way to appropriate female sexuality/desexualize woman ("Gilles Deleuze") II. The Badiouan critique* In the 1990s, though, feminists began to rethink D&G and incorporate their ideas, reformulating the notion of the "body politic" as representative of "the bodily potentials of women" ("Gilles Deleuze"). Started by Alain Badiou's "Deleuze:
The Clamor of Being" (1997) He argued that Deleuze was really monist ("not so much a philosopher of the multiple"), but he ignored D's collaborations with Guattari ("Gilles Deleuze"). Slavoj Zizek ("Organs without Bodies" (2003)):
dismisses Deleuze's collaborations with Guattari
(doesn't like Guattari) and rejects Deleuze's treatment of the subject ("Gilles Deleuze"). Peter Hallward ("Out of This World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation" (2006)): argues that D's metaphysics do not pertain enough ("Gilles Deleuze"). III. The "Science Wars" critique This critique began with Sokal and Bricmont's "Fashionable Nonsense" (1999): aimed at D&G's usage of scientific/mathematical terms ("Gilles Deleuze"). Positive responses in this vein:
- "chaos" and "complexity" theory
- dynamic systems
- geographical studies ("Gilles Deleuze") Don't look for meaning in a book;
rather, look for connections. "Write at n-1 dimensions" (from the middle) (D&G 6) Creates dichotomies: One becomes two Works with binary logic Radicle-System Model - Cyclic unity
- Multiple (not multiplicity) made by adding dimensions
- "A book all the more total for being fragmented” (6) Deleuze and Guattari are most often used in place studies,
ecocriticism, and architectural studies
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