The Architecture of Confession

confession-alThis post contained an draft version of a dissertation section. A more recent version is now available on the works page.

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[Audiobook] Daniel W Smith – Deleuze’s Politics: Psychoanalysis, Anthropology, and Nomadology in Anti-Oedipus & A Thousand Plateaus (2009)

smith-deleuzeI just uploaded these lectures, which I listened to a couple years ago. They are perhaps the best introduction to the politics of Deleuze and Guattari but is also rewarding for more advanced scholars. I’m sorry for the quality – I tried to clean them up, but they’re not perfect. awc

Also available here.

Daniel W Smith discussed Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s works Anti-Oedipus & A Thousand Plateaus at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum 2009. Smith, a professor of philosophy at Purdue University, is a leading expert of Deleuze and Guattari’s work. In these lectures, he lucidly outlines the theories and implications of the most political sections of Deleuze and Guattari’s work while giving special attention to the primary source materials and philosophical arguments that the authors utilized to make their argument.

Day 1: Anti-Oedipus & Desire
In this talk, Smith discusses Deleuze and Guattari’s ambitious reworking of psychoanalysis, especially with their notions of desire and the unconscious.

Day 2: Anti-Oedipus & The Human (missing part 2)
On this day of talks, Smith describes the anthropology chapter of Anti-Oedipus. In the first lecture, Smith covers the Savage and Despotic formations. Unfortunately, the second lecture, in which Smith described the Capitalism formation, was not recorded.

Day 3: A Thousand Plateaus & Nomadology
On this day, Smith presents Deleuze and Guattari’s nomadology from A Thousand Plateaus, with an eye to their description of society without a state. The second lecture is dedicated to question & answer.

The reading materials for the lectures was
– Deleuze & Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, “Savages, Barbarians, Civilized Men,” 139 – 271 Continuum Version, 141 – 164 Minnesota Version.
– Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, “1227: Treatise on Nomadology–The War Machine,” & “7000 B.C.: Apparatus of Capture,” 387 – 522 Continuum Version, 351- 473 Minnesota Version.

DISCLAIMER:
The original recordings picked up substantial feedback that punctuated the lecture with high-pitched pinging noises that made it nearly unlistenable. I tried to eliminate as much of the feedback as possible, but ended up thinning out Smith’s voice.

I have uploaded the originals as well, but would not suggest trying to listen to them.

A Subject Without Identity

subjsub

Foucault says “an art of oneself that’s the exact opposite of oneself…” If there’s a subject, it’s a subject without any identity. Subjectification as a process is personal or collective individuation, individuation one by one or group by group. Now, there are many types of individuation. There are subject-type individ­uations ( “that’s you…,” “that’s me…”) , but there are also event­-type individuations where there’s no subject: a wind, an atmosphere, a time of day, a battle… One can’t assume that a life, or a work of art, is individuated as a subject; quite the reverse. Take Foucault himself: you weren’t aware of him as a person exactly. Even in trivial situations, say when he came into a room, it was more like a changed atmosphere, a sort of event, an electric or magnetic field or something. That didn’t in the least rule out warmth or make you feel uncomfortable, but it wasn’t like a person. It was a set of intensities.

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The Marxist Literary Group Institute on Culture and Society 2013

mlg

Come meet me, AwC. I promise to drink beer, talk for/against smashing things, and be just rude enough for you to have fun.

Deadline extended– Now accepting proposals until March 15

Call for Papers

The Marxist Literary Group’s annual Institute on Culture and Society (MLG-ICS) will convene this year in Columbus, Ohio, June 24-28, on the campus of the Ohio State University. This year’s ICS special topic will be “Marxism and Representation.” The topic was chosen not only for its general theoretical interest, but also for its pertinence in considering the shift in political possibilities brought about by the global economic crisis and growing political unrest throughout the world. As some claim, it is precisely the political potential of our present moment that charges theoretical questions about representation with renewed practical urgency: If any attempt to construct a Marxist politics has to contend with the inherited representational forms taken by social antagonisms, then our own historical moment demands that we engage with problems of representation articulated by both emerging political movements and academics. What strategies of revolutionary self-representation become possible in the aftermath of the postmodern ‘crisis of representation’? How do new social realities and existing cultural forms affect these representations? What kind of emerging economic, social and political practices contain the seeds of a radically-other society? How do movements engage with what seems to many radical critics to be a crisis of radical political imagination?

Meanwhile, the global scale of capitalism’s ongoing crisis and political upheaval creates a different set of representational problems for Marxism. As Fredric Jameson puts it, the stretching of social relations onto a global scale makes subjective experience incommensurate with scientific knowledge of the systematic functioning of capitalism. Therefore, any experience of the system has to be mediated by an aesthetic object. If so, what kinds of representational strategies can be used to capture both the systemic nature of capitalism and the desires that underpin individual experience? What forms of political representation are flexible enough to accommodate different spatial scales? How can workers who burn down factories in Bangladesh communicate with rioters in London? Which representational practices are flexible enough to speak to wholly different socio-cultural contexts and their respective spaces of political resistance?

The Institute on Culture and Society is run in consecutive sessions, and the discussion is most fruitful when participants stay for the entire Institute. Housing is available on campus, and every effort is made to keep the cost of attendance low. Graduate student participation is subsidized by the Marxist Literary Group. Proposals are welcome for traditional panels, individual presentations, roundtables, film screenings and Performances.

While talks pertaining to the chosen topic are encouraged, submitters should not feel limited by it. Every year, MLG is happy to host presentations relevant to all aspects of historical, political, and theoretical Marxism.

Confirmed speakers at this year’s institute include Michael Hardt, Paul Smith, Barbara Foley, Eugene Holland, Jason Read, Jane Winston, Kanishka Chowdhury, Kevin Floyd and others.

All proposals except panel proposals should be a maximum of 250 words in length, and should include title, author, and author’s affiliation. Panel proposals should include for each proposed paper a 250-word abstract, including title and affiliation, as well as a title and 100-word rationale for the session itself. Please send submissions (plain text or commonly used file format) by March 15, 2013 to mlg.ics.2013@gmail.com.

A Culture of Silence

friendshipChloe Taylor write that: [Foucault] speaks of a friendship which developed between himself and the filmmaker Daniel Schmidt:

[W]e discovered after a few minutes that we really had nothing to say to each other. So we stayed together from about three o’clock in the afternoon to midnight. We drank, we smoked hash, we had dinner. And I don’t think we spoke more than twenty minutes during those ten hours. From that moment a rather long friendship started. It was for me the first time that a friendship originated in strictly silent behavior.7

Such a friendship is surely unusual, even for Foucault, who notes that our society is remarkable in that silence has “unfortunately been dropped from our culture.” 8 Unlike Japanese, Greek, Roman, and Native North American societies, he remarks, “We don’t have a culture of silence.” Foucault goes on to say that he is “in favor of developing silence as a cultural ethos,” and that “Silence may be a much more interesting way of having a relationship with people” than the confessional exchanges which we currently engage in.9

Forget the Greeks

subjectivationAs many of you may know, there has been a trend in Foucault Studies to ponder over his late work on the Ancients. Some liberal Foucault scholars looked to him as a guru that offered an ethical system for a new form of life washed of the worries of power. While us radicals scoff at the so-called ‘ethical’ reading of Foucault, it is perhaps Deleuze who best dismisses such a reading.

Gilles Deleuze writes in his book Foucault, that:

If power is constitutive of truth, how can we conceive of a ‘power of truth’ which would no longer be the truth of power, a truth that would release transversal lines of resistance and not integral lines of power? How can we ‘cross the line’? And, if we must attain a life that is the power of the outside, what tells us that this outside is not a terrifying void and that this life, which seems to put up a resistance, is not just the simple distribution within the void of ‘slow, partial and progressive’ deaths?

….

What remains, then, except an anonymous life that shows up only when it clashes with power, argues with it, exchanges ‘brief and stridence words’, and then fades back into the night, what Foucault called ‘the life of infamous men’, whom he asked us to admire by virtue of ‘their misfortune, rage or uncertain madness’? … This culminated in The Use of Pleasure’s searing phrase: ‘to get free of oneself’. (94-95)

….

The redistribution or reorganization [found in the Greeks] takes place all on its own, or at least over a long period. For the relation to oneself will not remain the withdrawn and reserved zone of the free man, a zone independent of any ‘institutions and social system’. The relation to oneself will be understood int rems of power-relations and relations of knowledge. It will be reintegrated into these systems from which it was originally derived. The individual is coded or recorded within a ‘moral’ knowledge, and above all he becomes the stake in a power struggle and is diagrammatized.

The fold therefore seems unfolded, and the subjectivation of the free man is transformed into subjection: on the one hand it involved being ‘subject to someone else by control and dependence’, with all the processes of individuation and modulation which power installs, acts on the daily life and the interiority of those it calls its subjects; on the other it makes the subject ‘tied to his own identity by a conscience or self-knowledge’, through all the the techniques of moral and human science that go to make up a knowledge of the subject.n24 Simultaneously, sexuality becomes organized around certain focal points of power, gives rise to a ‘scientia sexualis’, and is integrated into an agency of ‘power-knowledge’, namely Sex (here [in The Uses of Pleasure,] Foucault returns to the analysis given in The History of Sexuality).

Must we conclude from this that the new dimension hollowed out by the Greeks disappears, an falls back on the two axes of knowledge and power? In that case we could go back to the Greeks and find a relation to oneself based on free individuality. but this is obviously not the case. There will always be a relation to oneself which resists codes and power; the relation to oneself is even one of the origins of these points of resistance which we have already discussed. For example, it would be wrong to reduce Christian moralities to their attempts at codification, and the pastoral power which they invoke, without also taking into account the ‘spiritual and ascetic movements’ or subjectivation that continued to develop before the Reformation (there are collective subjectivations).n25 It is not even enough to say that the latter resists the former; for there is a perpetuation communcatio between them, whether in terms of struggle or of composition. What must be stated, then, is that subjection, the relation to oneself, continues to create itself, but by transforming itself and changing its nature to the point where the Greek mode is a distant memory. Recuperated by power-relations and relations of knowledge, the relation to oneself is continually reborn, elsewhere and otherwise. (102-104)

Continue reading “Forget the Greeks”