Lines in the Sand

Replacing power/knowledge, I suggest the tripartite lines of rigid-supple-escape developed by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus.  In their anti-essentialist ontology, Deleuze and Guattari posit that heterogeneous collections of elements come together in particular relations to form assemblages, contingent formations that produce certain effects.  Capitalism, for instance, is an assemblage.  One way to describe how assemblages are organized is by the lines that compose them.  For Deleuze and Guattari, there are three types of organizing lines: supple lines, rigid lines, and lines of flight.  Continue reading “Lines in the Sand”

Outline of “Apparatus of Capture” Plateau – Deleuze and Guattari

A Thousand Plateaus: “Capture”

Outline by “Anarchist Without Content”

PDF here.

Draft copy. Do not cite without permission. Please email comments or suggestions.

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Notes On A Micropolitics of Singularization

Meeting at the premises of the Grupo de Acao Lesbico-Feminista, Sao Paulo, September 2, 1982: 

 Felix Guattari:  [F]irst of all I would like to say that it is always necessary to mistrust our categories.  This opposition between molar and molecular may be a trap.  Gilles Deleuze and I always try to cross this opposition with another, the opposition between micro and macro.  The two are different.  The molecular, as process, can originate in the macro.  The molar can be instituted in the micro.  The problem that you’re raising can’t be reduced to just two levels, molecular and molar (the level of the politics of the constitution of major identities).  This reduction doesn’t enable us to understand problems such as individuality, identity, and singularity.  For example, the fact that a woman has to behave in a certain way, model herself from childhood in her way of assuming standards of femininity, just as they’re programmed in the social field as a whole, by what I call the “general function of collective facilities.”  And when I speak of collective facilities I’m not referring only to things like clinics or health centers, but also to magazines, and radio and TV programs aimed at women.  It’s this function of collective facilities that codifies conduct, behavior, attitudes, and value systems practically by remote control.  But it can’t be said that we are dealing with a process of individuation at this level.  As an illustration, let’s take the image of automobile salesmen. 

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Immanence and the Social Sciences

Now that the Deleuzian insistence on thinking immanence has made significant inroads (even in the social sciences!) it’s time to consider trends of use.

On one side, “immanence critique” has become a popular epistemological method. For instance, the ‘scale’ debate in geography that proposes a ‘flat ontology’ argues that epistemological considerations can no longer remain agnostic to ontology (Foucault is often cited in this instance). Rather, ontology an epistemology can be co-constitutive if they’re placed in immanent relation. An example I heard yesterday was a recent geography paper written on mosquito management in Arizona that used characteristics of the mosquitos ‘ontology’ (their terms, not mine) to determine management techniques best suited to the ‘singularity’ of the mosquito. Herein lies what I consider a set of elisions that makes “immanence critique” simply a stand-in for ‘attention to detail’ or ‘relative autonomy’ without any of the benefits of immanence in its full philosophical force.

What “immanence critique” does is a priori limit out typological analysis. This mirrors the strong anti-positivism of American Post-Modernism that pushes the tired maxim “there is no master-narrative” to extreme proportions. In ‘identity politics’ disputes the claim is that strong anti-essentialism entails eliminating all identity-talk. In ‘cultural studies’ it insists that there is no such thing as culture. Etc etc. The problem is that such thinking succumbs to the same problems as transcendental thinking, only in reverse. Vulgar immanence critique posits the source of transcendence as error or illusion. It doesn’t offer an immanent explanation for the specific transcendent thinking it wants to critique, but rather a generalized condemnation of its use.

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