Deleuze and the Body

Deleuze and the Body

Laura Guillaume
Joe Hughes
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Deleuze and the Body
    Book Description:

    This book will be important reading for those with an interest in Deleuze, but also in performance arts, film, and contemporary culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4597-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Pity the Meat?: Deleuze and the Body
    (pp. 1-6)
    Joe Hughes

    The question animating this volume is simple: is there a coherent theory of the body in Deleuze, and if there is, what can we do with it? If the question needs to be asked, it is because the body has an uncertain place in Deleuze’s work. It is its own kind of Erewhon: simultaneously ‘now here’ and ‘nowhere’.

    As evidence for its omnipresence we could begin by citing his writings on Spinoza. The ‘properly ethical question’, Deleuze tells us, is ‘what can a body do?’ Nietzsche and Philosophy takes this ethical question further, constructing a typology of corporeal forms based...

    • Chapter 1 Time and Autopoiesis: The Organism Has No Future
      (pp. 9-28)
      Claire Colebrook

      There was a critical scene that was narrated frequently in the theoryfrenzied years of the 1980s, operating as an often-invoked tableau that would awaken us from our literalist slumbers. The child faces the mirror, jubilantly rejoicing in the image of his unity (Lacan 1977). This scene captured the predicament of misrecognition: the self is not the naturally bounded organism (a thing within the world), but a site of desires, relations, drives, fantasies and projections that cannot possess the coherence of a body. There is a radical disjunction between the subject, who is nothing more than an effect of its relation...

    • Chapter 2 Larval Subjects, Autonomous Systems and E. Coli Chemotaxis
      (pp. 29-52)
      John Protevi

      Upon first reading, the beginning of Chapter 2 of Difference and Repetition, with its talk of ‘contemplative souls’ and ‘larval subjects’, seems something of a bizarre biological panpsychism. Actually it does defend a sort of biological panpsychism, but by defining the kind of psyche Deleuze is talking about, I will show here how we can remove the bizarreness from that concept. First, I will sketch Deleuze’s treatment of ‘larval subjects’, then show how Deleuze’s discourse can be articulated with Evan Thompson’s biologically based intervention into cognitive science, the ‘mind in life’ or ‘enaction’ position. Then I will then show how...

    • Chapter 3 Bodies of Learning
      (pp. 53-72)
      Anna Cutler and Iain MacKenzie

      Swimming: in an interesting passage in Difference and Repetition (1994) Deleuze considers what is involved in learning to swim. The general point of this passage is that learning to swim should not be understood as simply the passive reception of knowledge from an expert. None of us, after all, would expect to be able to swim after taking some classes by the side of the pool. Rather, learning to swim is a process that requires the engagement of one’s own body with a body of water. From the outset, we can say that there are at least two bodies involved....

    • Chapter 4 Believing in the World: Toward an Ethics of Form
      (pp. 73-95)
      Joe Hughes

      Cinema 1 could, without too much distortion, be read as an extended theory of the body. Adapting some of Bergson’s theses from Matter and Memory to his own ends, Deleuze outlines the body’s immersion in matter; he describes the ways in which it subtracts itself from this matter by selecting, reorganizing, and reacting to it; and, through the theory of the cliché, he begins to account for the ways in which the body can be co-opted and covered over by codes, concepts, institutions, and rituals. Ultimately it is the body that ‘explains’ cinema. Cinema’s images ‘express’ perception, affection, and action,...

    • Chapter 5 Matter as Simulacrum; Thought as Phantasm; Body as Event
      (pp. 96-114)
      Nathan Widder

      Perhaps Deleuze’s first and most fundamental ontological claim is that being is expressive, that it expresses sense. This claim is evident in his early review of Hyppolite’s Logic and Existence, where Deleuze maintains the lesson of Hegel’s thought to be that ‘Philosophy must be ontology, it cannot be anything else; but there is no ontology of essence, there is only an ontology of sense’ (Deleuze 1997: 191); it is central to his turn to Spinoza, with whom ‘univocal being ceases to be neutralised and becomes expressive’ (Deleuze 1994: 40); and it appears in his turn to Nietzsche, whose eternal return...

    • Chapter 6 The ‘Virtual’ Body and the Strange Persistence of the Flesh: Deleuze, Cyberspace and the Posthuman
      (pp. 117-143)
      Ella Brians

      There is no doubt that Deleuze’s work, particularly his joint work with Guattari, has inspired certain theorists of cyber culture. Wherever one looks in contemporary cyber discourse, one encounters Deleuze and Guattarian concepts, especially those of the rhizome, the minoritarian, the molecular, assemblages, and of course, becoming-machine. Neil Spiller has even hailed A Thousand Plateaus as ‘the philosophical bible of the cyber-evangelists’, and suggested that ‘this book is possibly one of the most quoted philosophical texts in connection with the technological “spacescape” that computers have created and augmented’ (Spiller 2002: 96). Via cyber theory, Deleuze and Guattarian concepts have entered...

    • Chapter 7 ‘Be(come) Yourself only Better’: Self-transformation and the Materialisation of Images
      (pp. 144-164)
      Rebecca Coleman

      The problem of the relationship between bodies and images, as it has tended to be posed in academic disciplines including, but not restricted to, media and cultural studies, concerns the problem of representation. That is, one of the dominant ways of conceiving the relationship between bodies and images is to understand the image as representing the body, with various degrees of success. As such, images are seen as capable of being decoded and deciphered, often for their ideological message and the kinds of norms they reproduce. This chapter suggests that this conception of the relations between bodies and images works...

    • Chapter 8 An Ethico-Aesthetics of Heroin Chic: Art, Cliché and Capitalism
      (pp. 165-187)
      Peta Malins

      A thin, semi-dressed young woman kneels awkwardly, her body twisted and bent forward over the side of an armchair in what appears to be a fairly dingy lounge-room. Surrounding her, and taking up most of the photograph, is a grimy red carpet, marked with what seem to be cigarette burns. The woman’s exposed feet are covered in dirt and her face is shiny, as though coated in a fine layer of sweat. The photo’s strange angle creates a sense that the room is spinning, and accentuates the gravitational weight of her thin, unsteady body as she tries unsuccessfully to push...

    • Chapter 9 Multi-Dimensional Modifications
      (pp. 188-202)
      Patricia MacCormack

      In What is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari posit that a concept comes from a problem. A problem is an impasse between two discourses. The problem describes the space-between, a refusal of the need for one discourse to colonise the other, a disagreement where creation is the resolution. Heavily modified bodies in Western culture offer a multiconceptual entity. They represent the impasse between philosophy (the need to create) and sociology (the need to relect), between volition and fashion, between signification (modifications which symbolise, which mean something) and asignification (modifications which deterritorialise traditionally signified flesh), and between flesh and self (in what...

    • Chapter 10 Dance and the Passing Moment: Deleuze’s Nietzsche
      (pp. 203-223)
      Philipa Rothfield

      According to Deleuze, the image of thought in Nietzsche does not bear upon truth or falsity but draws instead upon the nuances of evaluation and interpretation. Deleuze depicts Nietzschean thought as that which produces movement, bursts of activity, rather than something that simply and inertly pictures or represents the world. The figure of activity persists in Nietzsche’s work and in Deleuze’s reading of it. Inasmuch as a text activates, inasmuch as a cluster of concepts can indeed provoke movement, Deleuze’s Nietzsche aims to provoke a better kind of life. This Nietzsche discerns life, through evaluating and selecting certain kinds of...

  6. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 224-226)
  7. Index
    (pp. 227-234)