Deleuze and Politics

Deleuze and Politics

Ian Buchanan
Nicholas Thoburn
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 272
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Deleuze and Politics
    Book Description:

    Deleuze and Politics brings together some of the most important Deleuze scholars in the field today to explore and explain Deleuze’s political philosophy.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-3196-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Deleuze and Politics
    (pp. 1-12)
    Ian Buchanan and Nicholas Thoburn

    It is now a truism of Deleuze studies that it was only after his encounter with Félix Guattari that Deleuze became ‘political’. This is usually taken to mean that Deleuze only became ‘active’ or ‘engaged’ in politics after meeting Guattari, which is untrue. Deleuze was already politically active before he met Guattari – indeed, it isn’t difficult to imagine that this was in fact one of the reasons Guattari sought him out in the first place – and, paradoxically enough, he actually seemed to become less active after meeting Guattari, choosing to concentrate on writing and leaving the public side...

  5. Chapter 1 Power, Theory and Praxis
    (pp. 13-34)
    Ian Buchanan

    In the long aftermath of May ’68, an event which many French intellectuals came to think of as a ‘failed revolt’, the question of power – what it is, how it functions, who has it and who does not – was the principal concern of the majority of France’s leading intellectuals. Along with the interrelated questions concerning the possibility of resistance and (more concretely) the possibility of political action itself, power was the upper-most concern of Louis Althusser, Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Jean Baudrillard (albeit ambivalently), Pierre Bourdieu, Cornelius Castoriadis, Hélène Cixous, Régis Debray, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Luce Irigaray,...

  6. Chapter 2 Deleuze and the Political Ontology of ‘The Friend’ (philos)
    (pp. 35-53)
    Gregg Lambert

    Late in his life – in 1988, after Foucault and in the midst of co-writing with Guattari What Is Philosophy? – Deleuze had a brief exchange of letters with Dionys Mascolo (the author of Le Communisme and Autour d’un effort de mémoire: Sur une lettre de Robert Antelme), a correspondence which quickly turned to the subject of ‘the friend’ (philos). It is from this context that I would like to construct a genealogy of this concept in Deleuze’s later writings, particularly in relation to Deleuze’s assertion that the democratic ideal of friendship has been totally ‘corrupted’ (pourri), a term that...

  7. Chapter 3 Molecular Revolutions: The Paradox of Politics in the Work of Gilles Deleuze
    (pp. 54-73)
    Isabelle Garo

    The current interest in the actuality of, or potential for, a Deleuzian politics might seem surprising. Firstly, because this politics, if indeed it exists, can only really be rooted in an era that has passed, namely May 1968 and its aftermath. Secondly, because, at the same time that it carries out a displacement and a redeployment of what had gone before, a Deleuzian conception of politics seems in many ways to consist of a conscious retreat. That is to say, it is founded above all on the recognition of a defeat and a rejection of the general model, which Deleuze...

  8. Chapter 4 Schizoanalysis, Nomadology, Fascism
    (pp. 74-97)
    Eugene W. Holland

    Despite Professor Challenger’s implication in the ‘Genealogy of Morals’ plateau of A Thousand Plateaus (Deleuze and Guattari 1987: 43; see also 221) that ‘rhizomatics, stratoanalysis, schizoanalysis, nomadology’ and so forth are merely ‘various names’ for a single discipline, the approaches to fascism presented in the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia are not obviously identical.¹ Indeed, in an important essay John Protevi has gone so far as to claim that the first step in understanding the concept of fascism presented in A Thousand Plateaus is to ‘distinguish it from the treatment of fascism in Anti-Oedipus’ (Protevi 2000: 167), and he...

  9. Chapter 5 What is a Militant?
    (pp. 98-120)
    Nicholas Thoburn

    Félix Guattari’s lament that there is ‘no description of the special characteristics of the working class that established the Paris Commune, no description of its creative imagination’ conveys a sense of his concern with the affective, imaginary and libidinal properties and dynamics of political subjectivation (Guattari 1984: 35). The history of the workers’ movement, Guattari contends, is populated by ‘mutant’ workers in ‘veritable wars of subjectivity’ (Guattari 1996a: 124). He has in mind the events of revolutionary upheaval – the 1871 Commune, October 1917, May 1968 – but the problematic of revolutionary subjectivity is one that pervades modern socialist, communist...

  10. Chapter 6 Bourgeois Thermodynamics
    (pp. 121-138)
    Claire Colebrook

    One way of thinking about the ways in which poststructuralist thought has contributed to political theory, and perhaps the experience of politics itself, is to consider thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault as having extended and radicalised Kantian anti-foundationalism. The Kantian ‘Copernican turn’ not only precludes the subject from making claims regarding things in themselves, resulting in a humility that concedes that we can only know the world as it is given through the relation we bear towards it (Langton 1998). Kantianism also places the subject of politics under erasure. We cannot study human nature and...

  11. Chapter 7 The Age of Cynicism: Deleuze and Guattari on the Production of Subjectivity in Capitalism
    (pp. 139-159)
    Jason Read

    Gilles Deleuze argues that Spinoza’s assertion ‘we do not know what a body can do’ functions as a ‘war cry’ cutting through the conceptual divisions of soul, mind and consciousness, defining a new concept of power, philosophy and subjectivity (Deleuze 1990: 255). Deleuze’s assertion suggests, albeit obliquely, that works of philosophy can be interpreted through not just their central insight or main points, but their ‘war cry’, the formulation that expresses the battle they wage against other philosophies and conceptions of the world. The ‘war cry’ or slogan (as in mot d’ordre) that could be used to sum up Deleuze...

  12. Chapter 8 Deleuze, Materialism and Politics
    (pp. 160-177)
    Manuel DeLanda

    For most of their history leftist and progressive politics were securely anchored on a materialist philosophy. The goal of improving the material conditions of workers’ daily lives, of securing women’s rights to control their bodies, of avoiding famines and epidemics among the poor: all of these were worthy goals presupposing the existence of an objective world in which suffering, exploitation and exclusion needed to be changed by equally objective interventions in reality. To be sure there was room in this materialism for the role of subjective beliefs and desires, including those that tended to obscure the objective interests of those...

  13. Chapter 9 Becoming-Democratic
    (pp. 178-195)
    Paul Patton

    Deleuze often refers to his work with Guattari as philosophy and sometimes even as political philosophy. Yet the normative questions about the justification, nature and limits of political power that have preoccupied canonical figures in the history of political philosophy are largely absent from their collaborative writings. They only discuss the institutional forms of political power in passing and always from the perspective of a global theory of society founded upon concepts of desire, machinic processes and forms of assemblage. They are less interested in the justification or the capture of State power than in the qualitative changes in individual...

  14. Chapter 10 Theorising European Ethnic Politics with Deleuze and Guattari
    (pp. 196-217)
    Janell Watson

    Political developments since the 1990s have compelled more and more European intellectuals to confront questions of identity, ethnicity and minority rights, first in reaction to the often-violent nationalist demands in the former Eastern bloc, and more recently in debating the future of the expanded European Union, with its growing population of non-European ethnic minorities.¹ Although there is no consensus on whether or not ‘Europe’ needs an identity and what that supra-national identity might look like, there is wide agreement on the inappropriateness of three counter-models: the bloody nationalisms of Europe’s own past, US multiculturalism and Eurocentrism (whether racial or cultural).²...

  15. Chapter 11 People and Fabulation
    (pp. 218-239)
    Philippe Mengue

    The question of the people, of peoples – la Nation, das Volk, etc. – is not, to put it mildly, in high favour these days. According to prevailing intellectual opinion, to raise or reintroduce this question at the present time can expose you to a charge of unhealthy complicity in the fascism said to be rampant in European and North American societies. Such, it seems, is the price of the ruling anti-globalism, of vigilance and ‘resistance’. And yet the question of the people underlies and over-determines all others. The point at issue is (yet again) nothing less than the meaning...

  16. Chapter 12 Micropolitical Associations
    (pp. 240-254)
    Ralf Krause and Marc Rölli

    Whether Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of micropolitics can be regarded as a significant contribution to current philosophical debates around the questions of democracy and political action is the subject of considerable debate. While many interpreters (Patton 2000; Hayden 1998; Antonioli 2003; Holland 2006) emphasise the post-Marxist and radical democratic tenor of the concepts developed in Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus, others, in contrast, contest their political relevance. Critics like Todd May or Philippe Mengue consider micropolitics to be lacking in political content insofar as it tends to reduce the transformatory political processes of social interaction, decision-making and the definition of...

  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 255-258)
  18. Index
    (pp. 259-262)