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Gilles Deleuze - Wikipedia

New York: Routledge, Perhaps, a return to the philosopher who is Deleuze's unsurpassable point of reference will help us to unravel this ambiguity in Deleuze's ontological edifice: Spinoza. Deleuze is far from alone in his unconditional admiration for Spinoza. In: Warren Montag ed. We simply plunged into Hegel , Husserl and Heidegger ; we threw ourselves like puppies into a scholasticism worse than that of the Middle Ages.

Fortunately there was Sartre.

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Sartre was our Outside, he was really the breath of fresh air from the backyard. Mary Bryden In the context of our discussion of method, intensification is the process constitutive of the extensive diversity implied by conceptualization. Although concepts group together elements that appear the same from the perspective of some criterion of identity, the point of creating the concept is to express the intensity of the elements that it groups together by bringing them into relations with each other. Clearly, this requires some explication and clarification.

Returning to the play-script, for a moment, we can say that the characters are conceptualized by being grouped together in a narrative structure, for example, but it is only through performance that one is able to distil the intensity of the relationships between them that their diverse roles in the narrative are meant to express. As the crystalline solution precipitates, individual crystals are formed within the soluble field of potentials potential individuals. The actual extensive crystals are therefore the result of a process of individuation from within a solution defined by the potential for different individuations — that is, the crystalline solution itself must be understood as a distribution of different potentials.

Here, the solution is the Idea or the intense relationships that the script expresses , the individual crystals are the elements the actual relationships between the characters that emerge in the process of crystallization that determine how the solution can be conceptualized the dramatization of the script that establishes a series of relationships between these performers of this play in this particular context. The dramatization of concepts, therefore, requires setting them into relationships with each other in ways that express the intensity of the relationships they already express; it is a way of determining the Idea that the concept expresses.

Nonetheless, we must be careful with this account of the ontological claims underpinning the method of dramatization because it may give the impression that dramatization simply discovers the Ideas that determine concepts in the rather traditional sense that layers of conceptualization are excavated in order to unearth the pristine reality of the Idea itself. In the remainder of this section, we will specify why this second aspect is required and what it brings to light in terms of the ontological claims that sustain dramatization as method.

This demands a further foray into Deleuze's metaphysics of difference.

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If we accept that to dramatize is to express the intensive relations constitutive of concepts and if we accept that this is achieved by putting concepts into relationships of intensity with each other, then it makes sense to inquire more deeply into the nature of these intensive relations. In our view, there are four key ontological claims that must be explicated if the method of dramatization is to be sustained.

That said, this is not the place to engage in the justification of these ontological claims, at least not in the full sense that this would normally imply. With our aim of presenting dramatization as method, we must rest content with pointing the reader to the relevant primary sources where this work is done and the secondary commentaries that engage with the ontological arguments. Deleuze argues throughout his work that intensive relations are not subsumable within models of difference that presume the pre-given identity of the related things.

Summarizing rather dramatically, he concludes that in order to grasp the reality of pure difference we must view it as an intensive difference; a difference of intensity rather than a difference of extension Deleuze, ; Deleuze, Third, he argues that intensive difference is always subject to a principle of indetermination. As noted above in the discussion of Deleuze's relation to Kant, indeterminacy is not something to be avoided in the Deleuzean metaphysical system.

On the contrary, there is a necessity to recognizing it as a condition of that which differs from itself, of pure difference. We experience the lightning flash as a moment of intensity before its illuminating quality and before we can quantify its luminescence. Lastly, for our purposes, as fundamentally indeterminate, relations of pure difference are an ideal but nonetheless real component of actual — determinable — things. An Idea, for Deleuze, is a distribution of differential relations indeterminate in themselves but nonetheless productive of efforts to determine them as we saw in his account of aesthetic experience derived from Kant.

An Idea, therefore, and as Deleuze is fond of saying, is not a set of concepts we employ to resolve a problem in our representation of the world, rather an Idea is a real problem that makes us think conceptually.

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It is real in that it resides outside of us as a provocation to thought; it is a problem to the extent that it is constituted as a system of differential relations that cannot in principle be determined once and for all. Ideas, we can say, are problems without any single solution. Borrowing the term from Bergson, Deleuze refers to the indeterminate yet real nature of Ideas as virtually implicated in every actual attempt to determine them through conceptualization.


As such, Deleuze's ontological commitments lead him to argue that every determination of the real is conditioned by a virtual Idea of that reality. For example, every conceptualization of the elements of political reality is conditioned by an Idea of the political that is the problem that it expresses.

The Idea responds only to the call of certain questions …. The question what is this? How much? Where and when?

Dramatizing the Political: Deleuze and Guattari

In which case? Deleuze, , pp. An actual thing must change — become something different — in order to express something. Whereas, the expressed virtual thing does not change — only its relation to other virtual things, other intensities and Ideas change. This explains the conceptual innovations of Difference and Repetition. Deleuze has to introduce the concepts of multiplicities of pure differences and of envelopments of intensities to escape ways of thinking of change in terms of causal changes in parts that effect a whole. Williams, , p.

Guide Dramatizing the Political: Deleuze and Guattari

Given the two-fold ontology of the virtual yet real intensities enveloped in all actual, extensive things, if we simply conceptualize things as they appear to us we will always miss that part of reality that conditions our experience of the thing itself. Yet, in order to access this other virtual part of the thing itself we must change that which is actually present. In doing so, we will be able to reveal the forces at work within things, but we will also have impacted upon those forces, at the level of the Ideal events that constitute them, and thereby changed the Idea itself that the concept expresses.

To know the Idea behind the concept, therefore, is to change the relations within and between concepts so as express the system of the pure differential relations constitutive of the non-representational Idea that conditions our determination of the concept. In political theory, dramatization as method requires that we stage new relations within and between the concepts that animate politics in order to express the indeterminate yet endlessly provocative nature of the Idea of the political. The results of such questions, to the extent that they do not return to questions of essence, are always a provocation to political thought because they condition concepts that are potentially, at least expressive of the Idea of the political.

As with all methods, it is useful to see the method of dramatization at work in a practical context. Although we cannot hope to give a full sense of how this method can be applied though we will offer some suggestions in the conclusion , we can present one example in which Deleuze and Guattari, as political philosophers, actually go about dramatizing a political concept; that is, how they employ the method of dramatization in order to express the Idea of the political.

What function does this dramatic claim or intervention perform? In A Thousand Plateaus , Deleuze and Guattari argue that any critical or political analysis of language must proceed on the basis that language operates through the issuing of slogans or order-words. In this context, the writing practice in A Thousand Plateaus embodies or dramatizes their critical analysis; it is a performative enactment of the critical method they deploy.

They sloganize, and in so doing, philosophically and politically problematize what it means to speak of the concept of ideology. It is worth unpacking this claim a little more. First, and as Jean-Jacques Lecercle points out, the slogan should always be understood in terms of the instantaneousness of its emission, perception and transmission. For if the slogan is an instantaneous and dramatic flash, then its power and effect is particular to the context in which it operates. There is an implicit functionalism in this.

A slogan is not a claim to transcendence or universality, so much as a singularly useful intervention that changes things. Fear of Enemies and Collective Action. Ioannis D. Evrigenis - - Cambridge University Press. Posthegemony: Political Theory and Latin America. Evil in Contemporary Political Theory. Haddock eds. What is Political Theory?

Stephen K. Donald Moon eds. Daniel W. Smith - - Deleuze and Guatarri Studies 5 Suppl Added to PP index Total views 11 , of 2,, Recent downloads 6 months 2 , of 2,, How can I increase my downloads?

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Sign in to use this feature. Applied ethics. History of Western Philosophy. Normative ethics. Philosophy of biology. Philosophy of language. What they call the Territorial, Despotic, and Civilized social Inachines are treated only as different regilnes of co-ordination and control of the local desiring-machines that constitute individual, falnilial, and social life. For this reason, their "schizoanalytic" theory and practice of desire proposes neither a political program nor a project for a future fonn of society.

The last vestiges of Marxist teleology are relnoved frOln their universal history such that social fonnations are deined by processes or becOlnings and "all history does is to translate a coexistence of becOlnings into a succession" AT P Deleuze and Guattari's political ontology presents certain kinds of movelnent as primary : becOlning-minor as a process of deviation frOln a Inaj oritarian standard, lines of flight or deterritorialization rather than processes of reterritorialization or capture, and so on.

In this sense, their ontology of asselnblages is also an ethics or an ethology. In order to appreciate the cOlnplexity of this ontology and the kind of description that it allows, consider Deleuze and Guattari's concepts of deterritorialization and reterritorialization. Deterritorialization can take either a negative or a positive form. It is negative when the deterritorialized element is subjected to reterritorialization that obstructs or liInits its line of flight. It is positive when the line of flight prevails over the forms of reterritorialization and manages to connect with other deterritorialized elements in a lnanner that extends its trajectory or even leads to reterritorialization in an entirely new asselnblage.

In the tenns of their ontology of assenlblages, it is the virtual order of becOlning that governs the fate of any actual asselnblage. Absolute and relative de territorialization will both be positive when they involve the construction of "revolutionary connections in opposition to the conjugations of the axiomatic" AT P 47 3. Under these conditions, absolute deterritorialization "connects lines of flight, raises them to the power of an abstract vital line or draws a plane of consistency" AT P 5 Deleuze and Guattari's concepts are normative in the sense that they provide a descriptive language within which to j udge the character of particular events and processes.

Is this a genuine line of light? In this sense, the judgments enabled by Deleuze and Guattari's ontology of assemblages and processes are entirely practical and pragmatic. Philosophy, Deleuze and Guatt ari suggest, "is not inspired by truth. Disagreelnents with Marxisln aside, all of their political theoretical innovations were carried out within a broadly Marxist perspective that envisaged the elnergence of new and better forms of social and political life.

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However, at no point did they address the nonnative principles that infonn their critical perspective on the present, much less the question how these might be articulated with those principles that are supposed to govern political life in late capitalist societies. Their political philosophy predates widespread understanding and acceptance of the ways in which Marx's critique of capitalist society is bound up with concepts of distributive justice, as it does the efforts to identify the relevant principles of justice that occurred under the ilnpact of so-called analytic Marxisln in the course of the I 9 8 0s.

Guattari became involved in electoral politics during the latter part of the I9 80s, standing as Green candidate in I regional elections. Deleuze's political philosophy 2II Deleuze's writings and COll1nents i n interviews frorn the 1 9 8 0s Inark a signiicant shift in his thinking about such nonnative issues. For eXaInple, he responds to the renewed interest in human rights during this period by insisting on the irnportance of jurisprudence as the means to create new rights. While he criticizes the nlanner in which human rights are represented as "eternal values" and "new forms of transcendence," he Inakes it clear that he is not opposed to rights as such but only to the idea that there is a deinitive and ahistorical list of supposed universal rights.

He argues that rights are not the creation of codes or declarations but of jurisprudence, where this irnplies working with the "singularities" of a particular situation N 1 5 3. I9 In his interview with Negri, he reaffinns the ilnportance of jurisprudence as a source of law with reference to the question what rights should be established in relation to new fonns of biotechnology N Deleuze's endorselnent of rights and jurisprudence clearly cornmits him to the existence of a rule of law and the kind of constitutional state that this ilnplies. His "Open Letter to Negri's Judges" already adopted the speaking p osition of a democrat cornlnitted to certain principles in relation to due process and the rule of law T R M [ edition] 1 In this sense, it offers no theory of public right.

What is Philosophy? Philosophy is deined as the creation of concepts where these serve an overtly utopian function: " We lack resistance to the present. The creation of concepts in itself calls for a future fonn, for a new earth and people that do not yet exist" WP Deleuze and Guattari suggest that philosophical concepts are critical of the present to the extent that they "connect up with what is real here and now in the struggle against capitalism" WP At this point, the outline of a new concept appears in their political philosophy.

However, he does not pursue any further the question of what determines the lilnits of the practicable or how we Inight ascertain what these lilnits are. Of the four functions of political philosophy identiied by Rawls, Deleuze's philosophy does not address those of resolution, orientation, or reconciliation. It does address the utopian function, although not by setting out nonnative principles against which we Inight evaluate the justice or fairness of social institutions.


The utopian vocation of philosophy can be achieved only when the concepts that it invents engage with existing fonns of relative deterritorialization. In this manner, because the concept of democracy ties together a number of the values at the heart of contemporary political thought, elements of that concept may be used to counteractualize certain forms of resistance to the present in public political culture. These elements in turn provide the components of the concept of "becoming-democratic" which serves the utopian task of political philosophy by probing the limits of delnocratic processes in contemporary society.

Deleuze offers no detailed account of "becOlling-delllocratic. In effect, he invokes the principle that decisions ought to be taken in consultation with those llOSt affected by thelll. They have given rise to a succession of Ineasures to extend the scope of the standard and thereby broaden the subject of delnocracy: irst, in purely quantitative tenns by extending the vote to wornen and other Ininorities; second, in qualitative tenns by changing the nature of political institutions and procedures to enable these newly enfranchised Inelnbers to participate on equal tenns.

Deleuze and Guattari's support for Ininoritarian be comings affirms the iInportance of efforts to enlarge the character of the Inajority. By their nature, processes of Ininoritarian becoming will always exceed or escape frOln the conines of any given Inajority.