Posts Tagged ‘guattari’
Gilbert Simondon was a philosopher whose ambitions lay in an in-depth renewal of ontology as a process of individuation – that is, how individuals come into being, persist, and transform. In this accessible yet rigorous introduction to Simondon’s work, Muriel Combes helps to bridge the gap between Simondon’s account of technics and his philosophy of individuation.
Some thinkers have found inspiration in Simondon’s philosophy of individuation, notably Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Combes breaks new ground, exploring an ethics and politics adequate to Simondon’s hypothesis of preindividual being, considering through the lens of transindividual philosophy what form a nonservile relation to technology might take today. Her book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand Simondon’s work.
Thinking about the future of educational research requires a conceptual resource that is itself both imaginative and multiple and at the same time articulates a world with those self-same characteristics. This is provided by the work of Deleuze and Guattari. Discussion of the future of research is located in a context of lifelong learning in the contemporary moment of ubiquitous electronic communication. I argue that the research process, contrary to the model of science, can be better understood as rhizomatic rather than arborescent and powered by desire rather than objectivity. Lifelong learning is a rhizome and requires a rhizomatic approach and sensibility on the part of the researcher. The hyper-connectivity of the Internet reinforces this development influencing the way research is carried out and the way its knowledge outcomes are distributed and used – a research without hierarchy and authority.
The leitmotif of this paper is the act of bridging gaps between the conceptual, methodological and experiential. Foremost it is an attempt to fuse aspects of the abstract philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari with anthropological understandings of Global Assemblages through incorporation of theory into everyday life.
Here, we describe our journey exploring Deleuze and Guattari’s conceptual Rhizome. It was an experiment, undertaken in order to bring new ideas to bear on our current and future ethnographic research relating to bioethics, clinical trials and the complexities of international science collaborations in Sri Lanka. In working to bridge a perceived gap between Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy and our familiar anthropological canon, we made real the abstract rhizomatic thinking they describe, through interaction with a physical rhizome, or plant root.
Is the Internet a rhizome? All the straws in the wind say ‘yes’ it is.
“Whereas mechanical machines are inserted into hierarchically organised social systems, obeying and enhancing this type of structure, the Internet is ruled by no one and is open to expansion or addition at anyone’s whim as long as its communication protocols are followed. This contrast was anticipated theoretically by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari especially in A Thousand Plateaus, in which they distinguished between arboreal and rhizomic cultural forms. The former is stable, centred, hierarchical; the latter is nomadic, multiple, decentred – a fitting depiction of the difference between a hydroelectric plant and the Internet.”
- The rhizome connects any point to any other point (connections do not have to be between same and same, or like and like).
- The rhizome cannot be reduced to either the One or the multiple because it is composed of dimensions (directions in motion) not units. Consequently no point in the rhizome can be altered without altering the whole.
- The rhizome operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture and offshoots (not reproduction).
- The rhizome pertains to an infinitely modifiable map with multiple entrances and exits that must be produced.
- The rhizome is acentred, nonsignifying, and acephalous.
- The rhizome isn’t amenable to any structural or generative model.
The concept of emergence – which I define as the (diachronic) construction of functional structures in complex systems that achieve a (synchronic) focus of systematic behaviour as they constrain the behaviour of individual components – plays a crucial role in debates in philosophical reflection on science as a whole (the question of reductionism) as well as in the fields of biology (the status of the organism), social science (the practical subject), and cognitive science (the cognitive subject). In this essay I examine how the philosophy of Deleuze and that of Deleuze and Guattari can help us see some of the most important implications of the debate on the status of the organism, as well as prepare the ground for a discussion of the practical and cognitive subject.
All of what follows depends on accepting the strong case put forth in DeLanda that Deleuze’s project in Difference and Repetition and The Logic of Sense – continued in the collaborative works of DG – establishes the ontology of a world able to yield the results forthcoming in complexity theory. In terms I will explain further below, complexity theory models material systems using the techniques of nonlinear dynamics, which, by means of showing the topological features of manifolds (the distribution of ‘singularities’) affecting a series of trajectories in a phase space, reveals the patterns (shown by ‘attractors’ in the models), thresholds (‘bifurcators’ in the models), and the necessary intensity of triggers (events that move systems to a threshold activating a pattern) of these systems. By showing the spontaneous appearance of indicators of patterns and thresholds in the models of the behaviour of complex systems, complexity theory enables us to think material systems in terms of their powers of immanent self-organization.
When in the early to mid-1990s, critical theorists and cultural critics invited a turn to affect, they often did so in response to what they argued were limitations of post-structuralism and deconstruction. The turn to affect points instead to a dynamism immanent to bodily matter and matter generally – matter’s capacity for self-organization in being informational – which, I want to argue, may be the most provocative and enduring contribution of the affective turn. Yet, many of the critics and theorists who turned to affect often focused on the circuit from affect to emotion, ending up with subjectively felt states of emotion – a return to the subject as the subject of emotion.
I want to turn attention instead to those critics and theorists who, indebted to Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Baruch Spinoza and Henri Bergson, conceptualize affect as pre-individual bodily forces augmenting or diminishing a body’s capacity to act and who critically engage those technologies that are making it possible to grasp and to manipulate the imperceptible dynamism of affect. I want to argue that focusing on affect – without following the circuit from affect to subjectively felt emotional states – makes clear how the turn to affect is a harbinger of and a discursive accompaniment to the forging of a new body, what I am calling the bio-mediated body.
David Harvey’s recent book, Justice, nature and the geography of difference (JNGD), engages with a central philosophical debate that continues to dominate human geography: the tension between the radical Marxist project of recent decades and the apparently disempowering relativism and ‘play of difference’ of postmodern thought. In this book, Harvey continues to argue for a revised ‘post-Marxist’ approach in human geography which remains based on Hegelian-Marxian principles of dialectical thought. This article develops a critique of that stance, drawing on the work of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.
I argue that dialectical thinking, as well as Harvey’s version of ‘post-Marxism’, has been undermined by the wide-ranging ‘post-’ critique. I suggest that Harvey has failed to appreciate the full force of this critique and the implications it has for ‘post-Marxist’ ontology and epistemology. I argue that ‘post-Marxism’, along with much contemporary human geography, is constrained by an inflexible ontology which excessively prioritizes space in the theory produced, and which implements inflexible concepts. Instead, using the insights of several ‘post-’ writers, I contend there is a need to develop an ontology of ‘context’ leading to the production of ‘contextual theories’. Such theories utilize flexible concepts in a multi-layered understanding of ontology and epistemology. I compare how an approach which produces a ‘contextual theory’ might lead to more politically empowering theory than ‘post-Marxism’ with reference to one of Harvey’s case studies in JNGD.
This article critiques a number of recent attempts to outline a contemporary theory of panoptic surveillance. It argues that an updated Foucaultian thesis must take into consideration the decentered and networked aspects of information technologies in an attempt to explain how consumer ‘choice’ is shaped by both rewards and punishments. Drawing upon the work of Foucault, Varela, Deleuze and Guattari, a diagrammatic theory of surveillance is developed, one that questions the interconnection between consumer, sales, distribution, and production data.
But globalization, as a concept, seems to embody the very absence of structure. According to Jürgen Habermas, the global incorporates “a new opacity“, and following John Urry, globalization is a system that “combine[s] in curious and unexpected ways both chaos and order” at the same time. The crucial question is thus: how do we (re)conceptualize the structure/agency relation and in consequence also questions of responsibility, solidarity and ethics in a world marked by an unprecedented degree of non-linear interconnectivity? In short: how do we (re)think togetherness on a global scale?
I want to propose a Deleuze-Guattarian “assemblage approach,” because Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari have always been materialist thinkers with a strong agenda to free thought from the manacle of representation. Instead of founding their style of reasoning upon representation and identity, the two thinkers have sought to replace the dualist tradition of Platonism with a Spinozean monism of articulation, difference and multiplicities. Most importantly, the Deleuzean notion of assemblages, in particular as developed by Manuel DeLanda, offers interesting new perspectives on the problems delineated above. To begin with, let me briefly define what an assemblage is and how it can help us reconfigure the problems raised by cosmopolitanism.
Philosophically, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari are opposed to trees. Specifically, they position themselves against arborescent thought—thought, which like a tree, judges the world from one fixed point (roots, Descartean rationality), or requires that thinking proceed in only one direction (scientifically, dialectically). In place of foundations and immutable bodies, Deleuze and Guattari advocate a rhizomatic approach to philosophy, and, to what amounts to the same thing, to life. As they write, ‘There are no points or positions in a rhizome, such as those found in a structure, tree, or root. There are only lines‘. Critically, they charge that, ‘Many people have a tree growing in their heads‘. In a sense, the challenge issued by Deleuze and Guattari is to kill this tree, or, as Nietzsche might put it, to draw the curtain on the twilight of (our) idols. ‘The issue is to produce the unconscious, and with it new statements, different desires: the rhizome is precisely this production of the unconscious’.
Metaphorically, then, the tree has been incredibly productive in the work of Deleuze and Guattari—bringing into clearer focus the image of thought, and the dangers (more truly, impossibility) of stasis, of rigidity, of identity, of molarity. In this essay, I also want to talk about trees—specifically a tree, called the Ada Tree. In fact, I want to use Deleuze’s and Guattari’s work to produce this tree as something other than a tree—to write a brief rhizomatics of the Ada Tree. My aim in doing this is to dislodge the meanings traditionally associated with terms such as nature, conservation, and sustainability—in short, to indicate something of the damage done when nature is produced as a series of discrete and knowable bodies as opposed to an immanent force.