Fuglsang, M. and Meir Sørensen, B. ( eds) (2006) Deleuze and the Social. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

[V quick notes only, focused on the issue of how we ‘apply’ Deleuze. Which concepts/arguments are applicable? How is the relation between these concepts and empirical practices actually managed?]


Sees the focus mostly on AO and the project to bridge the gap between psychological and economic production into a single account of desire. Sees TP as offering the basis for a new way to deconstruct the old issues of social order in sociology (still binary even though modern capitalism is in flow), via a form of counter-reading like the one Deleuze does for Philosophy. We need to counter-actualise our conceptions and entities, especially the organism, the sign and the subject (in TP) ( 2), and pursue deterritorialisation and assemblage,  uncover multiplicity etc., but bearing in mind the risks (the alcoholic crack up etc). Still sticks to the ‘pragmatic’ reading of Deleuze though – we are permitted to use what we can for our own purposes (not ‘application’ as such  but ‘putting...Deleuze... to work’ (6). We need to start in the middle with sociological concepts and go for creativity. NB sees Tarde as wrongly neglected having been eclipsed by Durkheim. Section on Order and organisation offers good egs.

Chapter one. Patton, P:  Order, Exteriority and Flat Multiplicities in the Social: 21 -38.

Patton begins by summarising the arguments about philosophy in WIP, stressing the need for order in order to domesticate chaos, but also the dangers and conservative implications of conventional thinking, and images of it, especially the way that perceptions link up with affects.  The references to the umbrella of convention preventing clear views of the firmament.  It is acknowledged that the planes of immanence in various philosophical perspectives are inevitably connected to social and geographical milieu.  By contrast, Deleuze and Guattari want to pursue creative thought, breaking with convention [and thereby breaking with the social milieu?].

Patton argues the best example of the approach is found in the discussion of the war machine as opposed to the state machine.  The notion of the state as a series of apparatuses is refined, specified and developed in TP, compared to AO.  What these apparatuses have in common is a mechanism of capture, [of thought and territory in every sense] a construction of an interiority.  By contrast, war machines can only be understood as transitional, constantly mobile and becoming, offering a kind of permanent exteriority.  To grasp them requires a particular kind of nomadic thinking, not sedentary, but focusing on the transitions and developments: this is the model of the new philosophy.  It is a more like artistic and ethical conceptions and technical ones.  Although social relations are referred to throughout in TP, there is no concept of the social because this also will require nomadic understanding rather than definitions: ‘That is why,  paradoxically, although the social, social relations and social formations are everywhere in A Thousand Plateaus, there is no concept of the social as such [but rather] an original conception of social being and social order …  inseparable from the mould of thought developed in the course of the book’ (26).

Thus all sorts of human activities are seen as irreducibly social, such as language and organisations, customs and practices, technology and other kinds of knowledge, the alternation of regimes based on war and state machines and so on.  [But then there is a really strange bit—‘for example, desire is social in the sense that particular desire as a constructed on a plane of consistency, or BWO (body without organs), that has irreducibly social dimensions’ (27).  But surely, it is only activity that is actualised as practices or events that can be social?  Concepts are to be deliberately framed without any influence of the social, and that influence is the reason for the limitations of other approaches, there restrictions to conventional thoughts, condemned in chapter three of D&R?  Patton, of course, translated D and R!].

The key concepts that emerges is the assemblage which 'provides a kind of formal structure to the conception of the social laid out in the course of the successive plateaus' (27) [The question is -- is this an adequate comnception of the social -- it's very abstract and reeks of a kind of technical functionalism?]  Assemblages can be divided themselves according to the balance of their discursive or non discursive components, and in terms of their territorializing and deterritorializing tendencies.  All assemblages have lines of flight running through them.  They are characterised by a machinic process rather than things like modes of production—'a concept of social life as defined by a series of interlocking, overlapping, discrete systems of regulation of desire, language, thought and behaviour' (28) [so Foucault rather than Marx].  There are also molar and molecular assemblages, the latter offering less organisation.  This is where the arborescent molar structure contrasts with the rhizomatic molecular one, and formal organisations with things like cultural movements or crowds.  The molar and the molecular also distinguishes between macro and micro politics.  Empirical organizations may be located between these two poles.

Rhizomatic assemblages are also 'flat', with no hierarchical over coding (29).  This translates as an assemblage that 'was subject to no constraints other than those derived from its primary objective.  It would be a purely functional assemblage such as a business organization unencumbered by considerations of morality or social responsibility', or an autonomous military organisation or an individual, say a heroic writer like Fitzgerald.  No actual organisation could be completely flat, despite the fashionable use of the term in contemporary organisations.  Rhizomes also follow an abstract line, or a line of flight, which implies that growth follows internal principles as well as external adaptations.  Completely adaptive organisations with no internal principles are the war machines (29), '"a pure form of exteriority"' according to D and G, but this leaves unclear whether this is something realisable, an abstract machine, or some kind of limit to empirical organisations.

So are these rigid classifications [binaries even]?  D and G insist on interpenetration, for example of trees and rhizomes.  The different types of assemblage are best seen as 'different ways of understanding the same things…  Two distinct but not mutually exclusive readings of the world' (30).  [A nasty problem for D and G here if they want to condemn politically one form, and organize some kind of polarised revolt specific enough to overthrow Capital].

Assemblages are both concrete arrangements and embodiment of abstract machines, which are virtual, but which crucially affect operations.  Abstract machines are neither causal nor transcendent, but virtual.  The concept 'recalls' the discussion of the transcendental field in D and R, with virtual multiplicities incarnated in particular systems like language systems.  'The structures are the "more profound" real elements that…  Must be determined as abstract and potential multiplicities' if we are to explain proper differences (31).  All actual empirical objects and events are incarnations of virtual structures, including human societies solving the fundamental problem of survival and reproduction [Marx is the example, but this describes functionalism too, of course].

The multiplicity is based on Riemann’s work on the organising principles of collections of elements with different relations between components—metric and non metric, for example [and eventually extensive and intensive].  Bergson distinguish between qualitative and quantitative multiplicity, duration and extensity respectively, changes in kind and differences in degree.  D and G use this distinction to explain arborescent and rhizomatic multiplicities, and these properties explain the characteristics of the rhizomes, such as its inability to be over coded, the changes in nature it undergoes.  [A clear parallel here with the ideas of becoming, especially as Patton’s next illustration turns on different kinds of becoming-animal].  Multiplicities are able to transform themselves into other multiplicities, drawing on the already heterogeneous elements.

The same distinction affects the micro and macro political issues, with the latter being informed by 'libidinal unconscious…  Intensive multiplicities'[34, quoting TP].  The rhizomatic, molecular and micro political are also ontologically prior to their more extensive forms, and mutation is prior to over coding.  This explains the remarks about a single abstract machine producing actualisation.  'This priority is implicit throughout the reiterated theory of assemblages [in TP] even though it is only occasionally made explicit' (34).  This provides a difference with Foucault, since Deleuzian assemblages are not internally unified, but chronically open to mutation.  They have no doubt that they are describing a process '"identical to the earth itself"'(35, quoting TP].

This makes TP consistent with the ontology of D and R, and the notion of actualisation of virtual multiplicities.  In TP 'it is the abstract machines of mutation and deterritorialization at the heart of every assemblage that form their most profound "inner nature"'(35).  Given this connection, rigid distinctions between types of multiplicity are of little account.  Abstract machines are prior and they must also appear in any empirical or actual occurrence. 

This is how we should understand the difference between macro and micro politics too, apparently as Tarde did.  There is also a return to the (macro) social with the analysis of schizos and desire.  Actual social organizations and organisations therefore 'combine elements of both kinds of assemblage and both kinds of process' (35).  The work on Kafka shows this with the work on bureaucracy that is both fixed and centralised, but also segmented producing inventiveness and creativity [looks very much like Gouldner on functional autonomy].

We can consider anything from different points of view—individuals as legally defined, biometrically defined, as moral or social entities or as combinations [we might be able to consider these differences,  but how do the police or our employers consider us?] We can understand 'ourselves as qualitative multiplicities'(36).  Events can be understood extensively or in terms of their becoming.  This raises political possibilities, including awareness of forces that constrain us.

Ultimately, this is a valuable exercise in 'practical reason' rather than 'empirical social analysis' (36).  It is ultimately philosophy rather than scientific ways of thinking.  It is of use only pragmatically [again]—seeing a bird as an assemblage or a ritornello is not just an aesthetic vision, but can explain external and internal relations, stability and change and how they operate.  And this is 'a condition of effective action' (37) [only if philosophy is ontologically prior to political action! And do we judge philsosophy only in terms of its capacity to bring about effective action? If so , D has surely failed?].  We can see how new forms of being can emerge.  Everything changes, 'the world is in motion and…  nothing is immobile or immutable'(37).  [A  form of philosophical consolation for the repressed bourgeois].

Thanem T and Linstead S The Trembling Organisation: Order, Change and the Philosophy of the Virtual:  39—57

[No simple ‘application’ of Deleuze here either. Uses Deleuze to develop a philosophy of organisation, as radical as his, drawing on his work on the macro and the micro to grasp the meso . No clear guide in D -- ‘the idea of organisation... can only be read implicitly within – or read into – the work of Deleuze’ (39) . Draws on Bergson as much.  If I have it right, they add a necessary dimension of empirical change to Deleuze. Organisations respond themselves, not simple fixity, not one-off actualisations, not just only to develop linearly. Potential constant response to ‘experience’ as in living duration (organisations like organisms in this sense – ‘organisation is life itself’ (41)) {dramatised in D&G as lines of flight etc.? D&G presuppose revolutionary instability as only kind of change – as extreme as Hegel pushing all difference to contradiction?}. So organisations are ‘autopoietic and autosubversive – not fixed but in motion, never resting but constantly trembling’ (41)].

Reflect two kinds of multiplicity – extensive and intensive as in Bergson (NB some confusion for me in insisting that qualities like happiness and sadness also extensive, even if no connecting metric). Extensive multiplicities exhibit order, intensive ones organisation (so says Hardt).[I don’t know if this is very different from the split between distanCiaton and distanTiation. That also makes me think that maybe explication and implication doesn’t stop, that actualisation is a continuing process?]

The connections between natural and social worlds – eg geological and sociological stratification – follows from the operation of a very general abstract machine forming substances up, so it is not actually a metaphor – looks close to an essentialist argument though?

Some nice summaries and reconstructions follow.  Thus strata emerge from homogeneous elements, while self consistent aggregates, what DeLanda calls meshworks, consist of heterogeneous elements.  There is a double articulation in physical and social worlds, an initial sorting and then a cementing or consolidating.  This is what they mean by territorialisation and coding or expression respectively.  It is the way in which raw materials turn into new entities like sedimentary rock.  Social classes similarly emerge from differentiated roles which are then sorted into ranks following the emergence of specific groups, and sometimes they can achieve hegemony to ensure social reproduction, regulate social mobility, manage conflict and so on.  This sedimentation process is itself affected by the in-group dynamics of elites [so very much like figurational sociology, and subject to the same criticisms for example of functionalism?].  Codification further consolidates and justifies stratification.

The general process involves a collection of heterogeneous elements, ‘an articulation of superpositions’, the effects of ‘intercalary elements…  Local connectors…  Catalysts’, and then an emergent stable behavioural pattern, ‘drift, or result of accumulation of adjacent interactions’ (44) [so emergence].  DeLanda’s example is of the growth of markets.  There is never total control over change, so even national bureaucracies have local variations, and markets stratify out into luxury and basic variants.  ‘Contexts which favour highly stratified forms can be thought of as striated space, where contexts favouring low stratification are smooth space’ (45).

The body without organs is the source of flows and forms.  It follows that the same organs can take different specific forms as organisms, and multiple functions and combinations are technically possible.  The specific organisms are strata on the body without organs.

The same analysis can be found in their view of desire which is an immanent force which gets domesticated by having attached to something specific, something outside  , particular ‘representations or simulacra’ (46).  The specifics are only conjugated with desire, not connected [the conjunctive synthesis?].  Proper connection involves both terms changing rather than simple attachment, and is productive [rather than reproductive].  These conjugations become reified as natural, and are an important ‘sediment of social strata, a common bonding of social aspiration’ (46).  Proper connection can be stratified through deterritorialization.

Subjectification works on the individual and positions the subject.  There are also ‘chains of signification’ which normalise forms of subjectivity.  They come together in order words, constituting a major language.  But there is always a chance of a minor language developing, following lines of flight, creating new connections. 

The molar dimension organises this through large groupings [and interestingly, McDonaldisation is seen as ‘a circular molarity…  where dispersed groups defer to a centre or state’ (47).  Molar operations reterritorialize existing segments, through ‘self organizing systems which lie alongside each other, catalyse and interact…  In shifting assemblages’ (47).  These are autopoietic organisations.  They do not operate by ideology or repression but through manipulating [empirical forms of] desire.  Molar organisations can specifically increase molecularisation, as in micromanagement and micro politics, especially that which manipulates insecurity.  We can see factors such as privatisation and performance related pay like this.  Nevertheless, there are always lines of flight, never total potency [or hegemony -- so this is really Stuart Hall reading Deleuze?] and resistance has an effect on power and domestication.  We can use these general remarks to develop a more specific philosophy of organisation.

Deleuze and Guattari [WIP] suggests that concept development needs conceptual personae, friends and friendly rivals.  There are no total concepts, even the concept has an ‘autopoietic nature’ (49) and are ‘self positing’.  The concept is a multiplicity, a fragmentary whole, and this is necessary to prevent domestication or a descent into chaos.  It relates to preconceptual elements, which means it is not entirely idealist: ‘[concepts] speak of the world…  They speak of possible worlds’ (49).  The whole discussion resonates with the ‘ontological project…  Openness, relation, connection, dynamism, possibility’ (50).  We can use this project to rethink concepts of organisation.

In the first place, we need preconceptual elements, non-organisation, especially disruptive excessive and changing forces, including ‘disease, madness, alternative sexualities and natural catastrophes…  All the forces of exhaustion and disintegration, affectivity and creativity, which makes things as we “normally” know them melt into air’ (15).  Deleuze gets the idea of non-organisation from Bergson and the virtual.  This notion of the virtual helps us critique specific organisations both epistemologically, by showing other possibilities, and ontologically,  by showing that organisation faces undermining and chaos.

We see this in the analysis of the event.  Deleuze’s events make things happen, show a ‘capacity to change, to make a difference’ breaking with the mundane and regular [this is his preference for radical difference and revolutionary change].  Once possibilities are realized, further possibilities are promised, leading to actualisation.  Deleuze can then break with the language of the possible and the real [the sequence of actualisation here is interpreted as providing new events with pre-existing conditions in the virtual, which is always real].  We can predict these possibilities from real events, but not in the conventional sense—it is not realisation but actualisation, partly because the virtual is real already.  The virtual is the universe, everything, and is in everything—as it is not all like the current conception of virtual organisations.

Actualisation for Bergson is driven by the elan vital.  This should be seen as a real process, and nothing mystical, a matter of differenCiation.  The things that are actualised, however do not have ‘stable boundaries and fixed identities’ (52).  The virtual is differentiated, and only partly exists in the actual, as in the discussion of the event.  There is no closure but openness, no final break with the virtual. 

However, unlike Bergson, Deleuze sees a movement from actual to virtual as well [only as counteractualization?].  The actual does have a dynamism of its own, following from its connection with the virtual, and is always possible to connect with ‘different virtual tendencies and become something else’ (53) [but the examples given are the mundane ones of how a paper can be used to write on or light fires etc.]. In organisational terms, the same mechanisms can be used to produce subversive materials, devolution can lead to functional autonomy, employees can form alliances with customers rather than their superiors, privatized health provision can lead to citizens ignoring advice on health altogether [bits of Beck here] [none of these involve any mystical connections with the virtual, and stuff on modernity, or gramscian versions of conflict theory can explain them all—here again, the concept of the virtual seems excessive.  This excess makes sense only in terms of academic politics, in founding a new research programme?].

Processes of actualisation are not obvious or predictable, and there is no mechanism to copy the virtual in a recognisable form.  Actualisation is creation, following an initial set of virtual processes.  Organisations should be creative too, but not in the terms of current management literature valorising individuals.  Instead we have to think of Bergson again on creative evolution, rendered as this connection between actual and virtual, and following a [metaphor or analogy]  between organisations and organisms.  Creativity of this kind can obviously show ‘tendencies of non-organisation’, meaning that the ‘future of organization is completely open’ (54) [but only in philosophy].  Non-organisation is not the same as disorganisation [defined here as organisation in a different direction], because it involves the preconditions of organization, ‘the dynamic forces that exist independently of organization…  Part of the rhizomatic movement of desire’ (55), the body without organs or ‘Organisation without Organs’.

Openness can mean complete disintegration.  It can underestimate concrete forces that maintain organisations.  We need to employ the idea with caution, ‘unwresting the reified ontological status that mainstream organisational research typically attributes to organisations, and adding greater depth, clarity and possibility to those approaches which already consider organisation with greater subtlety’ (55) [in other words a research programme for radical, or possibly marginal and restless academics].  It helps us see organisations in a broader context, as life itself, a constant oscillation between planes of consistency and organisation, ‘perpetually trembling…  Whilst mainstream organisations theory might see this as a trembling with fear, we see it as the excited trembling of anticipation’(56).

Kornberger, Rhodes and ten Bos.  The Others of Hierarchy: Rhizomatics of Organizing (58-74).

Brief notes only here.  This is about microfascism at the level of the organisation.  It sets out to critique the idea that hierarchy is a natural or desirable form of order, although it also safeguards against excessive destratification.  They also attacks the idea the rationality must lead to bureaucracy, tree structures.

The idea is to take a novel—Bukowski’s Post Office—and see if we can’t connect Deleuze and Guattari on hierarchy.  The idea is that the resisting hero of the novel is able to organize his own life so as to achieve the right level of conformity to the institution, resisting any strong attempts to discipline him.

Bukowski apparently would qualify for Deleuzian admiration for the Anglo American literary tradition as experimental.  The hero disrupts hierarchies, deterritorialises, and follows desire.  [It looks like a good read].  The hero simply does not respond to hierarchy.  He is the opposite of the ideal worker.  When it looks like he’s about to be promoted he resigns and then rejoins as a clerk.

The chapter goes on to discuss the origin of the term hierarchy in religious rankings.  This can give bureaucracy a natural or god given quality, which makes even radical critics uneasy about criticising it.  It looks universal.  It is traceable to a Cartesian notion of mind controlling matter.  The Deleuzian alternative is the horizontal organisation, in this case ‘the perspective of plateaus’ (65), and, at the personal level, nomadism.  The hero can be seen as describing a ‘rhizomatics of organisation’ (66).  We need to remember that rhizomes can coexist with trees

Organisations attempt to impose their codes.  The hero’s resistance may not be entirely oppositional. but more  like an accommodation.  His actions show the potential for resistance and destratification, the potential lines of flight [he is a forking fictional character!].  His is a performative activity [and there is almost a hint that it is a coping strategy].

Organisations are never perfectly managed.  Their persistence is not inevitable or privileged.  They consist of bodies without organs, or rather ‘organisation without organs’ (69) [hierarchy represents the takeover of the organs].  They are poised between chaos and rigid hierarchy. ‘Organisational death’ is a constant problem for managers, and they deal with this by generating strategies, including ‘vision and mission statements’ (69).  They dream of immortality.

Yet their strategies do not describe the reality of the organisation, and employees also go about organizing.  ‘In fact, one could say that organisation is what happens while management is busy making other plans’ (71, orig emph).  Such organisation is not always harmful.

Nomads are actually rare.  The hero of the novel surfs rather than resists the forces.  He creates his own body without organs, constant fluidity [talk up - -we can't know this, of course].  He might even be risking his own subjectivity.  The character should be seen as an extreme, not really attainable by most people, but a way of achieving the body without organs without excessive risk.

Both order and nomadism are seen in Deleuzian terms as the struggle between chaos and conventional thinking, and we need the usual ‘fantasy, imagination and a joyful technology of foolishness’ (73).

Lohmann P and Steyaert, C.  In the Mean Time: Vitalism, Affects and Metamorphosis in Organisational Change (77-95).

[Quick notes only on this barely reported  case study of change in a Danish Utilities provider and how this pissed off the employees].

Massumi sees radical politics as risky but about self understanding, and he cites the old slogan ‘be realistic, demand the impossible’.  Radical change is what we want rather than adaptation, but we also need to connect with prephilosophical and empirical elements.  What results is an experimental interpretation, a fabulation, a collective enunciation emerging from the employees.

Braidotti describes Deleuze’s philosophy as ‘vitalist empiricism’ (78), with positive desire that resists systemic interests.  The critique of Oedipus includes its role in oppression, as a product of capitalism.  Desire moves along lines of flight to create alternative worlds, the result of connections produced by desiring machines.  Machines produce everything, including consumption, and reality itself—‘there is only desire and the social, and nothing else’ [quoting Anti Oedipus, 29] (80).  Desire of this kind operates with minorities—and Deleuze and Guattari interpret Kafka as a minor literature, one that has a revolutionary positive force—it is deterritorialized, politically immediate, and possessing a collective value in expressing another possible community [seems to be based on the idea that Kafka opposes individual human subjects].  Something similar can be done with the mainstream literature on organisational change.

Radical analysts should stay on the edge of the community, in this case the employees and the sponsoring organization itself.  There was an expectation that change would be temporary and lead to a new equilibrium, and that it could be managed.  These assumptions should be rejected by Deleuzian analysis and replaced by something multiple, potential, even fictional, a parable.

Thus the reactions are best seen as an assemblage, a ‘becoming- minor of the employees’ (83), a fluid connection of elements including emotions and affects, which are classically ignored [then what could be a confusion with Deleuze's notion of affects as becomings—but surely this didn’t mean normal emotions?] Affects were studied through looking at the many responses made by the employees.  They went through stages of uncertainty, irritation and resistance, and then despondency, exhaustion and anxiety.  This was quite different from the official discourse on the benefits of competition and the free market.

First of all, there was waiting to see what would happen as the utility was privatized, then patience and denial.  When the plans were announced, confrontation followed, as management tried to reduce costs, and develop an unfamiliar business model.  Confrontation focused on particular closures, the dominance of personnel with their bureaucratic language, and the introduction of flexible work hours.  As the plan developed, exhaustion and resignation ensued, producing effects on the organisational climate.  These feelings contradicted official discussions, but did provide some form of support for employees telling their stories. 

The stories included fabulations, a term also used by Deleuze, to signify a kind of utopia—‘fabulations prioritise the future in the present, expressing a virtual multiplicity’ (88) [stories connect the past with the present] .  In this way, a minority discourse emerges, a collective telling of tales, emerging uncertainly and hesitantly at first, and emerging partly in response to the official new languages.  This can support resistance, partly by leading to ‘creative suggestions that those responsible seem not to think of or to listen at [SIC]’ (89), locating resistance not in conservatism but in embracing change. [all very hopeful and positive -- but they still got the sack?]

So we can detect rhizomatic movement, the development of a minor language, and the productive qualities of desire expressed in micro politics.  Waiting and confronting are political activities, permitting becomings.  Change destabilises fixed identities.

Change literature needs to be deterritorialised and converted into minority languages, so that change is understood as ‘mode of becoming’ (90).  Deleuzian work can produce a kind of agenda:

Ask: how does it work?  This should lead to an emphasis on sense-making in organizations, aimed at permitting new thoughts and emotions, studying affects and their connection with vitalism.

Increase the connections.  With Deleuzian concepts—monads, rhizomes, smooth space and so on.

Don’t follow the master.  Applying Deleuze and Guattari does not mean literally fitting to existing knowledge, which will only support academic fields.  In particular ‘Carter and Jackson (2004:124) argue that “it is not possible to make a conventional organisational theory out of Deleuze and Guattari’s analysis of organisations”’ (91).  Instead we can only be ‘suggestive and experimental’, not applying concepts but inventing or reinventing concepts, avoiding seeing Deleuze as master or father, and not mimicking the texts [and Massumi gets some credit here].

End power games. Organisational literature should not aim to be a royal science, but a minority language, stressing creation, ‘affirmative and nomadic’ (92).

Make events work.  Experiment with untimely concepts, making the multiple, seeing how actual events are created from it.

Mind your health.  This would reawaken the concern for organisational and personal health in the early literature, and focus it on vitalism.

Chapter five I Knew there were Kisses in the Air, Thomas Bay, 96 -111

[Quick notes only again.  This is about what can be learned by rethinking capitalist exchange following an encounter with a beggar and a reading of a piece by Beckett between two people, one of whom has nothing to exchange, so the first one asks about kisses. Really about finding reasons for sociability, altruism even -- and justifies personal quests to expand powers, almost a kind of fancy utilitarianism]

We should seek new encounters and possibilities, seek out the strange and singular, avoid easy escapes into academic worlds, find reasons to believe in this world [citing Deleuze’s Cinema Two], seek to allow ourselves to be affected. 

The concept of the economic has shrunk in capitalism to mean systematic exchange which dominates life.  We need instead to rethink the origins of the economy, an unfamiliar economy, to overcome the force of habit that produces the conventional subject.  A fictional encounter between the normal citizen and the beggar should prompt this rethinking and enable us to recapture interaction from the economic model.  The beggar can be a [handily dehumanised] conceptual persona raising questions about convention as a refusal of exchange.

Aristotle saw exchange as the basis of any kind of human association, so does Adam Smith, who sees the pursuit of separate interests as far more important than any underlying humanity or generalised love. For Smith, this would lead to the emergence of the general good, but there is a moral vision there too, concerning the reconciliation of egoism and a higher form of happiness in social relations.  Excessive egoism has to be restrained.  Smith follows Hume in arguing that self interest can lead to a rational calculation of material wellbeing in a predictable way, rather than releasing the passions—commerce restrains egoism and creates stability.  The market has a moral purpose.  However, it can lose restraint for example when people make money too quickly or easily, or benefit from selfishness.  These deficiencies need to be restrained by sympathy, ‘a propensity to seek the approval of others in and through social interaction’ (101) [a higher utility?] .  This naturally involves a concern for others.  We can project ourselves into the position of others, so we can judge our actions as they appear to other people, developing external standards of conduct which get internalised.  Sympathetic tendencies need to be supported by general rules of morality, including Christian ones.  If we approach sympathy with a sense of duty, we will come to appreciate the genuine praise of others as a sign of our true worth it, the way in which we obey reason and conscience and other virtues.  [Sounds like an early Durkheim].

Deleuze also likes Hume, although he sees self interest technically, as a ‘partiality’ which must be extended.  This is more important than simple egoism, so we do not need constraints backed by the rules.  Indeed, sympathy is the basis of society and needs to be expanded beyond partialities.  This leads Deleuze to think about what sort of institutions might develop to meet this goal [and seems to say, annoyingly ‘the essence of society is not the law but rather the institution’ in his book on Hume].  Oddly, Bay says this means ‘nomos—society as experiment rather than contract’ (104) [shades of US pragmatism?].  It makes more sense since nomos means two things—they are distinguished by having speech marks over the first and second o respectively.  I’m going to call them nomos one and nomos two.

For Smith, nomos as the law offered a typical characteristics of a boundary, separating but also opening new possibilities, ‘an imminent space of creation and becoming where the nomic constantly forges new assemblages, where the forces of economy attempt to capture life in its essence, where the economic intervenes in human life itself’ (104.) The rule of economic conduct is turned into the general rule of life, but this is meant to transform and improve the self, including a way out of excessive regulation by the economy.  This is the double sense of nomos that will be separated below, a play of forces, ‘a tension between containment and dissipation’ (104) economic energy which constantly expands and proliferate and multiplies, but also imposes laws codes and constraints.  In Deleuzian terms, it is a tension between operating on the plane of composition and the plane of organization, experimental and deterritorialising on the one hand, and the opposite on the other.  For these reasons, economics became a kind of model for thought itself, revealing both possibilities and limits.

The opposition lies in the very origin of the word, with nomos one meaning the law, and nomos two a distribution: the former evolved out the latter, but the idea of social distribution remains as a potential transgression, a source of challenge to the law, something active and form breaking [so there is an notion of sharing social bonding and fairness in the latter notion?, And also something before the law emerged, something to do with normality and ways of life] [All this is referenced to a discussion in Deleuze 1992, the second book on Spinoza].

Deleuze specifies two kinds of affections acting on the body—actions which emerge apparently from the nature of the affected individual [first book on Spinoza] and passions which originate outside the individual.  Having these affects gives us more or less power to act, but not entirely individually.  Relations with other bodies can produce expansion or contraction of our own powers, compatibility or resistance, hence the notions of sad or joyful passions—but even joy is a result of an external influence, a passion, although it points to the full possession of a powers [via the spiritual automaton?] .

It follows we should maximize good encounters, or attempt to be affected by joyful passions, resist sadness, and eventually develop some general notion about ourselves and our bodies and how they relate to the community of forces at work on us.  This also goes over into the notion of living economically for Deleuze, doing all we can to maximize ‘the economy of the powers of action’ (107) [looks like the difference between work and labour in Marxism, but with a bit of worry about dissipation?] [Also links with Durkheim on anomie?], bearing in mind both kinds of nomos, not letting one dominate, letting laws and constraints emerge rather than taking them as primary—so laws are best seen as ‘an effect of the creative fatigue of the economy itself’ (107) [so this is how ossification develops from initially energetic haecceities?]. The problem is to revive nomos two, as an ethical matter for Deleuze.

Back to the example of the beggar.  Instead of ignoring beggars we could use them [hmmm] to augment our power, use them to challenge the idea of equal exchange at the heart of commerce—this also explains why we like to see beggars selling something like Big Issue, which reduces the disruption and the passions that might result.  Non transition exchanges threaten our fixed ideas of economy, but also open a potential for an exchange which cannot be domesticated by economic forces [with a hint that this will make the other into a more autonomous equal which will liberate us, via Cixous].  It might open a whole new notion of gift giving without losing integrity, a tolerant relation, gift giving without obligation [but there would still be feelings of moral and social superiority? These would have to be kept hidden. This is very like the way in which we gain approval as a higher utility?].  In this sense, beggars also give gifts, ‘an opportunity to think differently’ (109), economically in the expansive sense, as long as we are willing to be affected, which is the risk [and it is surely a mirror relation rather than a genuine encounter with otherness, implied when Bay says we should see this as the source of an event, the beggar as conceptual persona, the ‘expression of a possible economic world’ (109). It almost justifies beggary or consoles the beggar].

The quote about kisses in the air appears here, as an illustration of how passions and human sympathy can exist when gifts are given in exchange for potential kisses.  This shows the possibility of becomings, ‘passionate trans-actions’ (110), based on a zone of indistinction or indiscernibility [there is an example rather like this apparently in Essays Critical and Clinical].  The trick is to maintain the heterogeneity of nomos.

Land, C.  Chapter six Becoming – Cyborg: Changing the Subject of the Social, 112 -31

[Useful post-humanist stuff. Esp good at using D&G on the nastiness of the face to mock humanists]

Begins with a discussion of early work on the cyborg, and early attempts to preserve the human body against the threats.  Humanity was defined as something separate from animals and with a rational mind, with the body as simply a kind of housing, ‘a mere prosthesis’ (113).  This made cyborgs possible.  Enthusiasts have seen possibilities of downloading consciousness into robot bodies or networks, sometimes based on the notion of evolution which preserves humanity against rival robots.  [So this is still a human notion of cyborgs].  The trick is to find some ‘trans-human becoming ’ (113) which does not collapse back to this dualism.  Technology is to become more than prosthetic, and cyborgs can be seen as open becomings not just reterritorializations.

This is consistent with the denial of any human essence, in favour of flows and connections, as in D and G.  If we are ontologically becoming, we can move beyond particular empirical connections between men and machines like the ones above.  There is a clue in D and G’s discussion of stripping off the human face replacing it with a probe head (1000 Plateaus).  It may be impossible to represent this possibility, however, although we can begin to discuss it against rival interpretations.

Lots of people worry about technological change and its effects, and most are concerned principally with the effects on humanity.  One option is an idealism that despises mere material operations and concerns in favour of the development of culture.  The materialism of Marx and utilitarianism [who share this despite their differences], sees  economics and techniques as the material base determining social life and culture. Both versions still place at the centre some notion of the human as thinker or as value producer.  The same goes for modern techniques that argue for the preservation of human factors like play, leadership, commitment.

One way out of the impasse is to consider technology as a text to be interpreted [apparently Woolgar is one of these—116].  This can also ignore the objective possibilities, however, and restores the human subject as key interpreter.  Nietzsche is quoted to remind people that stressing the subjective is also a form of interpretation, as much as stressing facts is for positivism.  Essentialism must be avoided: the subject is also a product of interpretation.

D and G in the geology of morals (TP) talk about an anthropomorphic stratum formed by folding and sorting.  Language and tool use ‘are not so much essential attributes as processes of de- and reterritorialization’ (117).  Changes in the human body have enabled the emergence of these characteristics—for example the hand is deterritorialized from locomotion and reterritorialized in tool use, the mouth ceases to just carry things or eat and becomes available for language.  Effects are described in terms of the double articulation of form and content, or substance and expression.  The anthropomorphic stratum itself only emerges in a ‘relatively deterritorialized milieu: the steppe with its spaces open for upright movement’ (117). What results is a number of things laid out on a map or a plane of consistency.  The mapping should go on to include technics as another emergent thing or content, to be read as a material sign of how matter works.

D and G argue that language develops from order words, operations.  Language and control are always implicated.  This takes specific forms as in schooling, the compulsory imposition of semiotic coordinates.  This is how language produces subjects, especially the subject of enunciation, a thoroughly artificial concept revealed when we say things like ‘lightning strikes’(119), or when we posit the Cartesian thinking subject as a necessary aspect of thinking itself.  Instead, a semiotic field produces and positions subjects, as ‘an external objective material force’ (119).  Burroughs has it right when he sees the word as a virus, producing subjectification [like the strange way all the academics at a conference start using Deleuzian terminology].  In particular, language constructs third parties, rather than just communicating between two.

The anthropomorphic stratum produces emergent effects.  One is the ‘face – language couple’ (120).  Deleuze and Parnet use the example of the stirrup and its effects according to different contexts, so that [abstract] machines become specific tools.  The same can be said of the Internet [NB Stivali 1998 The Two Fold Thought of Deleuze and Guattari: Intersections, and Animations argues for the net’s rhizomatic and emancipatory qualities], as a machine with various specific actualizations.  This can be translated back into the language of content and expression, and shows how language is imperialistic, so that semiotics colonised all the other strata, translated them back into language and thus achieved ‘the scientific conception of the world’ [citing TP, 120]. This is because human language can overcode, and it is this that makes humans appear as gods dominating all the other strata [well it is a source of real power, surely?].

Has this god like quality come under threat from machinery?  Or does it offer a chance for a new evolution into becoming a cyborg?  Perhaps all the distributions of form and content are about to change, but what sort of escape will this be?  Post-humanists want to escape altogether, into some matrix where immortality awaits as information.  Others see the death of the human [maybe as a good thing]. There are religious undertones between Post-humanism and ascetic Gnosticism, again which anthropomorphises: escape is the end of evolution into eternity and pure being.  The post-humanist self is similar to the liberal humanist one—disembodied rational, self contained, despite its dependence on technology.  It also depends on the notion of competitive evolution to stave off the threat from technology (and since the essence of human beings is to produce, machines can clearly threaten this essence).

It’s possible to insist instead that we have never been human, there never was a human essence, just assemblages.  Escaping from humanism would be creative, anti-oedipal, even anti capitalist.  The replicant, with no fixed origins or essences becomes ‘the revolutionary figure par excellence…  with no father left to kill and no mother to love’ (123).

In the section on faciality in TP, D and G argue that the face overcodes both heads and bodies and decodes their signifying functions.  The face is produced by and central to humanism, but it has an inhuman element, blank surfaces, black holes.  We need to escape the face.  All face to face encounters invoke inhumanity and colonialism as well as some ideal warm human encounter which it promises but never delivers: it becomes ‘just a fixed gaze staring blankly’ (124).  The face in particular is an absolute deterritorialization, capable of colonising all the other strata.  It leaves behind its organic origins, in an illusion of separation and abstraction.  In this sense, ‘Man has always been trans-human’ (125).

So humanity, ‘as faciality, always had in it something of the inhuman as a fascistic deterritorialisation’ (125).  Human beings colonise others in representation, and often according to how they are ‘caught up in its faciality’.  D and G suggest as an alternative ‘becoming probe-head’ (125).  Probe-heads can pursue unlimited deterritorialization and becoming, making rhizomes, exploring nonhuman life.  This means there is no clear image of the post human, no recolonisation by stamping the image of the human face on to the future, no overcodings, just the production of new assemblages.

So there is a danger in returning to human values, which can privilege ‘the imperial white male face’ (126) [so this is a specific actualisation of the face—only that one is fascistic?].  Humanity has always been male and dominating.  There is also a danger of hoping for somebody politicised technical future, often an apology for spreading liberalism [in the form of U.S. imperialism].  The transhuman cyborg is a form of resistance to both.  Similarly, there is no way that nature can protect us against technology—this biological foundationalism is implicated in racism.  Only technics can prevent fascism, in the form of a ‘deterritorialized, becoming probe-head of the transhuman replicant’ (127).  This can smash capitalism by operating in its spaces and cracks, offering endless chances for escape. Cyborgs are not the Robocops of Hollywood.

So, technology has a liberating side and we should reject extremes, including Luddism.  We need not return to homo sapiens nor see humans as transcendentally separate from technology.  We need to reconnect with technics not escape from them.

Buchanan, I Practical Deleuzism and Postmodern Space, chapter 7 135—151

[Begins by discussing the notion of space in film and then focuses on the shopping mall.  Useful to bring out the negative aspects of things like bodies without organs]

It’s possible that we are now living in generic space rather than spaces that contain local meanings, that have lost ‘placiality’.  D and G tend to neglect the issue of place altogether, and the concept of deterritorialization might be brought to bear.

Deleuze says that we do not believe in the world any longer, since it all looks like a film.  He was referring to postwar Europe and the cinema that emerged.  Prewar cinema involved beliefs and believability, but postwar film produced spaces that were impossible to read [desolate cities bombed areas and the like] which were any spaces whatever (ASW).  Similarly, the people in those spaces saw rather than acted with any confidence. 

The ASW is the same as the body without organs (BWO).  The origins of the BWO lie in Marx and Lacan, not Artaud.  We need to understand how desiring production and social production work in parallel.  Both involved “an unengendered  nonproductive attitude” (137, quoting AO), and this is the full body or socius.  It is not the product of labour, but appears as its “natural or divine presupposition”.  This helps conceal origins, and also enables the appropriation of surplus production: it even appears as a quasi cause of productive activity.  It acts as ‘the unthought set of presuppositions we utilise to compose our thoughts and feelings without them ever being intelligible to us’ (137).  In postmodernism it appears as an unintelligible placeless background.

What cinema does is to make the BWO more tangible, even in American postwar cinema, relatively neglected by Deleuze in favour of the Europeans.  In particular Hitchcock films can be seen as illustrating a different landscape, a new sense of frontier after world war two.  Hitchcock creates a closed universe.  The films take place inside apartment blocks, motels and various other claustrophobic locations.  They were deliberately artificial, using sound stages back projections and mattes as an early hyperrealism.  His characters look like opsigns and sonsigns.  There is no need to go outside, just as with shopping malls.  The effects sometimes break down, for example in exposing contradictions in the Bates motel, which attracted nostalgia compared to the new chain motels that were emerging.  Hitchcock displays the fear that postmoderns feel about such unusual places.  He also anticipates postmodernism’s interest in global sameness in his later ‘bad’ films.

Lolita is set in the same sort of landscape, with contradictory feeling about modern hotels and the nomadicity they embody.  Humbert likes them because he can pursue Lolita in them, with no memories of the family home.

So the American tradition displays non places, hyperrealism and suburban mono culture rather than ASW.  American films ‘help create the unthought recording surface on which much writing about... postmodern space takes place’ (140) [evidence?].  Hitchcock helped us see the old places as anxiety provoking, unhomely, fearful.

Jamieson points to the same uncertainty about how to behave in the Bonaventure Hotel, with its attempt to totalize [create a Mac world].  It is one of the first examples of how consumption came to dominate a sense of place. 

In Deleuzian terms, shopping malls are abstract machines which can be actualised in a number of ways.  There is the central distinction between form of content and form of expression [and the example is Foucault on the prison, whose form of content is like that of schools and hospitals, but whose expression is related to the discourse of delinquency as the new way of expressing criminality].  Expression is not just a matter of words but of statements in the social field.  Content is not reducible to a thing but to an assemblage of ‘architecture, discipline and so on’ (141).

Lots of discussions about postmodernism have focused on the form of expression, the production of statements or how to interpret the mall.  Jamieson was one of the first to discuss the form of content, creation of a new space which tries to incorporate everything and exclude the world beyond, paralleling monoculture.  The overall objective is to sell things, and so the mall is not a shared space, unlike a city—so it doesn’t have any placiality.  The mall is an artificial contract, transplanted from above.  It was initially hailed as more rational and more modern.  Malls act as nuclei around which new settlements develop.  Wal-Mart deliberately chose to locate in small towns to make them satellites and deny them any independent commercial activity.  Malls grew together with the freeway system offering ‘a transversal line of pure speed’ (142) rather than the traditional route from town to town.  Mainstream America persisted only in Disneyland.

The mall is selective and privately owned rather than genuinely open to the public.  It is full of what Zukin calls abstractions—it chooses suitable abstract iconography and it also abstracts functions from cities, especially some of the pleasures of eating, while leaving out unpleasant characteristics.  ‘In this sense, it is perhaps more precise to say it recollects a movie of the city’ (143).

The Trafford Centre Mall, as discussed in Urry’s The Tourist Gaze is an example, which offers a simulacrum of New Orleans but without the dangers and litter.  However, the real city is hardly authentic any more, but rather a ‘Disneyfied facsimile of itself—an “adults only” theme park’ (143) but gentrified and surrounded by various public buildings like convention centres and casinos.  The mall is a simulacrum of a simulacrum.

Malls work through deterritorialization.  The process begins with planners’ and financiers’ creativity, before that of the architects or imagineers, since they see the possibilities and set the context.  However, Jamieson is not correct in arguing that capitalism was the first deterritorialization, since it is an ongoing process for Deleuze.  Capitalism does reveal the process particularly well, but the state was the first form of deterritorialization.  Initially, capitalism was to be feared and resisted as a threat to the codes, and in this sense it haunts all developments, threatening the breakdown of the social.  It thrived on ‘the propensity for deterritorialization inherent in every social system’ (145).  It threatened the way in which the socius controlled and coded desire, the integration of social production and desiring production.

Deterritorialization and reterritorialization should not be seen as a binary pair, nor as stages in a dialectical process.  If deterritorialization is always followed by reterritorialization, as Deleuze and Guattari say, it is not the case that the one determines the form of the other.  Also, territoriality is not a placial concept.  Actual territory, the earth, is indivisible, a space where social attachments develop and which appears as our origin and quasi cause.

Actual development shows contradictory movements of de- and reterritorialization.  Land value and ground rent can act in contradiction.  The latter depends on the future surplus value of labour performed on a site and this is increasingly difficult to calculate.  Shopping malls are built on that basis.  Land value, however has its own determination of value which might change quite differently, and is thus a deterritorializing force rather than a steady engine of growth [I can’t say I’m convinced by this --both are unstable in capitalism?].  Land values can act as a final security for loans, but can introduce instability if they rise so much that production is not worth it, and companies might as well sell up and move out [Plymouth Airport has just had houses built on it] . Capitalism tries to overcode ground rent through zoning laws and land tax, which regulate the supply of land and the demand for it respectively.  These regulations can preserve value and regulate the prices of land as well [but cannot resist markets for too long?] .

Apparently the point is that deterritorialisation is nothing to do with place but more to do with value [in that particular capitalist example].  The example also shows how intensive movements of values have extensive effects in supply and demand, including crisis tendencies.

‘We are still a long way from being able to say what a Deleuzian analysis—that is, schizoanalysis—of space might, much less should look like’ (147).  And ‘not one of [the dozens of books on Deleuze and Guattari] can tell you how to read a text in a manner that is recognisably Deleuzian’ (148).  Without precision, Deleuze’s toolbox is useless.  It is not enough to warn against interpretation, since Deleuze himself says that we must return to actual problems.  This is similar to Lacan’s insistence that we return to the analytic situations, and this might be what Guattari contributed [Deleuze was saying this in his stuff on Bergson, before Guattari?] .  A lot of readers of Deleuze want to refuse attempts to find any kind of analytic programme of action, in order to be anarchic [or 'pragmatic'] but Deleuze himself said ‘that he wanted to create a practical, useful form of philosophy.  This is what he meant when he said AntiOedipus is an experiment in writing pop philosophy’ (148).


Alliez, É.  AntiOedipus—Thirty  Years On (Between Arts and Politics), chapter 8:  151 -68

[Alliez has been a major disputant with Badiou and Zizek.  This is dense French stuff. It does suggest the two opposed possibilities for philosophy that leads to politics -- flows, processes, desires to overcome blocks and all that for D&G or knowledge of the real structures that permit or limit political action that stern theorists need to discover. Deleuze used to belong in the second camp, and/or properly still does.]

This is a response to The Clamor of Being, which revived an earlier dispute about the relationship between philosophy and political ontology, with Deleuze and Badiou as the poles of the domain.  Both operate with ‘materialist necessity’ (152) and the notion of singularities and multiplicities.  Zizek entered the controversy on the side of Badiou, focusing on the body without organs (BWO) and the tension between the early and later work, between 'sterile' (neutral)  and political forms of becoming.

The BWO certainly broke the notion of the ‘incorporeal univocity of Being and Language’ (152) as a kind of universal structure producing sense, behind the complexity of the world, held contradictorily with the idea of vitalism.  The later work adds a ‘machinic constructivism into a desire that commands becomings’ (152), but this needs to be stripped away as radical chic with its dangers of recuperation, says Zizek.  [Apparently Prigogine and Stengers also wanted to strip away Guattari].  Zizek says Guattari offers as an escape from deadlock, leaving two notions of the virtual—as the site of productive becoming and, still, as the site of the sterile sense event.

There are problems with this reading, especially as Deleuze describes his encounter with Guattari as fully consistent with the notion of becoming, as the real basis for his philosophy in L of S, and in his revaluation of Carroll as inferior to Artaud.  It was a movement from description to exertion, to micro politics as a condition of enunciation, an address of concrete questions.

Badiou thinks that Guattari leads Deleuze to a free floating politics, not one with any kind of theoretical autonomy, unlike arts or sciences, which encouraged anarchist derivations.  This makes Deleuze a romantic, a mystic offering vitalism, an infantile leftist.  However, Anti Oedipus was seen by Deleuze as political philosophy.  The notion of desire following lines of flight clearly was a break with the idea of the One which already contains all the possibilities.  We would have to see Deleuze’s politics simply as leftist opportunism, borne out by Zizek’s assertion that none of the other books were in any way interested in politics.

For Badiou, the issue is that politics is not declared to be an autonomous form of thought.  He went on to offer his own account of politics, devoted to arguing what a singularity was and how it could become universal.  In the course of this development, Badiou introduces the notion of metapolitics as opposed to micropolitics.  In turn this involved a rejection of the idea of desiring production leading to becoming minoritarian [as a kind of general process not specifically a political one?  Apparently, Badiou sees this as a this as a ‘disidentification of politics’, blurring it with notions of identity (155).  Political militants must operate differently.].  Politics would involve not succumbing to the autonomy of desire, seeing desire only as ‘Lack of the Law’ (155) [Law is needed apparently to regulate ‘sin’: strangely, all this is found in Badiou’s work on St. Paul].  This leads to the mystifying statement that Lacanian psychoanalysis leads to universalism, and can act possibly as a kind of way of regulating political philosophy?  (155).

This is a prescriptive notion, Alliez points out, seemingly open to every one, in everyone’s interest in opposing leftism.  It requires agreement on the nature of Being [curiously as a ‘void’].  This leads Badiou to further argue that Being is ‘inaesthetic’, an excessive form of reality [not open to subjective 'aesthetic' interest?] .  Apparently this is in accord with Lacan’s notion of the Real (155).

St. Paul is admired for extracting ‘truth from the clutches of communitarianism’ (155), but this is a reflection of current political circumstances, smuggling in a description of capitalist communitarianism which is so open to the market.  It is a concept that denies the emancipatory potential of becoming- minoritarian, hinted at in Deleuze himself when he suggested that deterritorialization only leads to more reterritorialization.  Alliez thinks that this is a misunderstanding.  There is a possibility of absolute deterritorialization which escapes capitalist reterritorialization; becoming can unleash flows of desire that limit capitalist valorization and pose alternatives.  To insist on permanent recuperation is to adopt the point of view of capital which must always succeed in investing in cultural minorities.  To consider communities as only capitalist communities and simple reterritorializations offering identity politics only is paranoid: capitalism is always one jump ahead and even creates suitable subcategories.  The real politics of becoming undoes sedimented identities, as gender theorists have noted, and produces genuine unpredictable variation [unpredictable to sociologists and militants, 156].  Relying on militants is to risk domesticating becoming-revolutionary, better understood as expressions of real multiplicities.

Badiou opposes expressive politics, as a ‘”compound of mysticism and pornography”’ [I think this is a quote from Badiou, but it is not referenced, 157], and he suggests a new programme, including a more rigorous and anti -romantic 'cold' art aimed at universalism, rather than, say ‘“the pornographic stupidity of performances”’ [see above].  This is classic modernist purification against romantic vitalism.

Against this is the BWO, a politics of sensation based on Artaud which also escapes romanticism in the form of critiques of the subject.  Anti Oedipus offers ‘an art of the self’, based on Artaud’s experiments with language to oppose structuralism.  Man is ‘a machine which breathes’.  In Artaud’s work, a matter of pure intensity [a puzzling bit on 158].

The point is to start with this ‘body without image’ (158) [akin to art’s efforts to produce ‘a real without image’, and, no doubt, philosophy’s efforts to produce a thought without image].  This will also help us decompose the socius, and replace it with a social field coexisting with desire.  This also displaces the ‘dominant majoritarian structures through a chaosmic immersion in the matters of sensation that these structures repress’ (158—seems very similar to radical feminist theology), leading in turn to ‘mutant percepts and affects’.  [More strange stuff from Artaud on the development of a new body, 158, to reconnect art and life].  [There is almost an argument that this is a bodily turn in Deleuze and Guattari, showing that even the body is a flow].  Apparently, such tendencies were recuperated in the theatre and painting, so that, for example performance appears to be anti-modernist by returning to the lived body, but it works with modernist bodies; action painting claims to break the distinction between art and life by replacing image with event [but this is also recuperated? Certainly commodified anyway].  Deleuze proposes that this will exceed the logic of sense, and introduce a new aesthetic paradigm, with sense remaining only ‘”enough to direct the lines of flight”’ [quoting D and G on Kafka, 159].

Guattari in Chaosmosis advocates a new aesthetic paradigm, which  is still linked to Deleuze, and draws on the same toolbox.  It also stresses performance and refers to Dewey on art and experience, the argument that art has been subtracted from life, and aesthetic experience has become formalist instead of pure experience.  This is a social and philosophical challenge to art and thence to philosophy—and AntiOedipus can be seen (paradoxically) as a response.  Badiou has to reject this turn to experience in favour of metapolitics and inaesthetics, and thus reject its liberating potential.

Deleuze and Parnet insist that emancipatory movements can never fully unite into a whole.  The alternatives are not between law and the state of nature or natural desire, but on the contrary desire arises from machines and assemblages.  Desire is not spontaneous.  [Alliez notes that the concept of desiring machine developed into the concept of assemblage between Anti Oedipus and Thousand Plateaus, where the book on Kafka is located, 161]. This is the materialism in AntiOedipus which says that nature cannot express itself without constructing assemblages.  This is a non romantic identity, not mysticism,  nor are ‘a constructivism deprived of ontological reality’ (161).  Nevertheless, against Badiou and his ‘mathematical ontology, which declares the indifference [objectivity and detachment] of truth to the flow of the world’ (161) D and G insist on expression to accompany construction, desire which produces reality, desiring production as the same as social production, machinic construction necessarily producing expression, as a matter of ‘biopolitical identity’ (161).  They also argue that desiring machines never work perfectly to produce some seamless whole.  [There is then a bit saying that the notion of aesthetics that follow perfectly explain Badiou’s schema of inaesthetics, 162.  The point is that D and G’s notions of constructivism are not at all like the usual notions, {but are machinic} and, in particular, construction does not belong to the world, while expression belongs to the subject or nature]. 

The idealist notion of expression is rejected.  It does not just express fully  the productive powers of its processes of origin: desire is an ‘immanent principle’, a matter of ‘schizophrenic productivity’ (162), operating through cuts and flows.  [There then follows the mystifying discussion of the term 'cut', which ‘implies what it cuts, as a universal continuity’ rather than referring to some decisionistic  separation of the Real which is apparently endemic in the Lacanian philosophers].  D and G are ontological monists [which explains the conjunction of biology and politics as in biopolitics].  In general, the virtual creates a fully differentiated reality [actuality], and biopolitical constructivism refers to creativity in the present [as some sort of last stage, or more empirical notion of creation?]. 

This is what Guattari brought to Deleuze [the reference is to the section in Negotiations on AntiOedipus], to replace concepts with the notion of desiring machines—Deleuze saw this as an advance, a machinic ontology rather than a transcendental one which would lead to structuralism.  Machines are ‘immanent constitutive process[es]’ [more material than structures?  163].  This links the notion of multiplicity [not just the multiple Alliez insists] to the notion of desiring production [in a way that parallels the first chapter of Matter and Memory, Alliez says].  Writing becomes the machinic expression of desire, ‘which takes the real to the point at which it is effectively produced by bodies that are both biological and collective, and which imply the constitution of a field of immanence or “body without organs” defined by a zones of intensity, thresholds, gradients, flows and so on’ (163).  The BWO is the body of desire, its purest expression, one which exceeds social productions, which are best seen as cuts of it. 

In this way, we have linked ontological production to micropolitical expression, in ways which the political left have still not understood, which leads to their misunderstanding of the variety of anti capitalist movements and their difference from conventional political organizations.  Anti Oedipus subverted FreudoMarxism, advocating lines of flight rather than structural contradictions, then explaining resistance via lines of flight as a matter of the primacy of desire—this even criticised Foucault who saw regulation as primary and constitutive (164) [only a simple inversion says Baudrillard].  For D and G, biopolitics leads to a permanent tension between creative construction and organisation, between desire and the society of control.  None of this depends on ‘spontaneism or marginalism…  [But]…  The dynamic of real multiplicities’ (164) [with an acknowledgement of Tarde on the creative potential of 'cooperation between brains'].  Capitalism does stamp all history [as in the weird bit on the evolution of codes], liberating the forces of desire then counteracting them with the construction of the private sphere.  The oedipal triangle helps project this reterritorialization of democratic capitalism into a ‘micro fascism’ (164).  Alliez notes that others had already read Freud that way, including Reich.

Deleuze’s breakthrough is to ‘physicalise’ the concept, further developed in What is Philosophy, with all its strange stuff about vibrations, and to incorporate thought into non organic life.  Anti Oedipus opposes abstract thinking and politicises it, using the BWO to refute structuralism and psychoanalysis, and introduce disorganisation.  This is still the relevance of Anti Oedipus today.  There is no way of resisting digital capitalism with ‘the hyperstructuralism of a Badiou’ (165), which can only offer ‘the spontaneous democracy of desire and…  Pop philosophical flights of fancy’ .Biopolitics is the answer, with its accompanying ‘pragmatics of existence’ [apparently Guattari’s phrase], generating heterogeneity, creating socially, preserving a politics of difference against claims to equality.  This conception refuses any philosophical eternities, a role for militants only, and inaesthetics.

The effects of these multiplicities producing or channelling desire operates at the molecular level.  It is a creative ‘essence of production’ (165) that also denies the significance of conventional representation that sees the social as exterior and the political or subjective as interior.  The idea is to develop ‘the pragmatics of collective assemblages which overturns the apparatuses of blockage of control’, which will be anti capitalist and anti state.  This will provide the real basis for a post socialist and post communist multiplicity.  It reflects the difference between escaping from constraint and dissolving constraints.  This is represented in D and G’s remark that schizophrenics are not revolutionaries, but the schizophrenic process is potentially.  The critique is turned against structuralist versions of Marx [weird stuff about dissolving capitalist machinery by rupturing causality to take capitalism to its limit in order to deindividualise it, 166.  This simply means that desires will never be contained by a capitalist machine, as in Negri and Hardt?].  The point is to encourage collective becomings which will necessarily involve exile from capitalism, just at the moment where desiring production is at its height.  In conclusion, Alliez argues that this is a return to ‘wild “Marxism”’ of the Grundrisse on the ‘general intellect’ as well as a specific convergence with Negri.

[NB I had a look again at the section of Grundrisse on general intellect – Notebook VII. The discussion is set in the context of accounting for the rise of productive machinery as new kind of fixed capital. Marx says it is the result of progress in the general or social intellect, the mastery of nature etc. He also says it is contradictory because this causes a crisis in value – machines are not productive according to simple labour time, machines are not simply commodities produced directly for exchange values. One paradox is that it forces more and more conventional lab as well, partly by bringing even ‘free time’ into the service of research and development. Another possibility is that it is the result of productivity of the general intellect but surplus value is still appropriated by owners – who look even more like an exploitative minority {does anyone still believe in trickle down}? Machine productivity should produce more free time but this needs more consumption and creativity etc., so it is still linked to production. And the productive use of free time requires discipline and practice.

In general this sort of progress  also shows endless becoming of human beings, with capital and capitalist labour etc as mere temporary objectifications – which does look very Deleuzian here. Marx cites Owen on the growth of big capitalism and its detachment from social mores and regulation, the pointlessness of great wealth {shade of Durkheim here on excessive egoism, or Soros on the dangers of anomic financiers triggering financial crises}, yet all this is still only a preparation for a better society to come.

Marx then goes on to a more technical discussion aimed at refuting bourgeois economists and solving their puzzles. There seems to be a mystification with fixed capital – it is productive yet only replaced occasionally {the year is the conventional unit to measure turnover, Marx tells us}. It is best understood as contributing fragments of its value to products each year. {This looks like  a cost capitalist bears alone when he invests or replaces, although it has been creating sv all along}. This replacement depends on circulating capital reproducing itself every year {to provide immediate revenue and also to realise some of the value of fixed capital} – ie on continuous production and thus increased consumption. Marx is talking about dynamic reproduction here, turning  machinery into money which can then take different forms, buy different machines etc {and benefit from technological innovation etc?}.

The differences in capitals also explains differences in types of returns like rent and interest etc. {it seems fixed capital like railways etc can generate revenues of their own as returns on investment, annuities etc}. In reality, fixed and circulating capital intermingle – eg weaving machines are fixed capital for manufacturers but circulating for machine tool manufacturers. Machines can be sold as productive capital where use value is objectified labour value (railways transporting goods is the eg) or as an asset with use value, passed on in the price, in normal consumption (transport for pleasure). Transport and its roles is disguised {so are revenues from investment} also because it is bought in little pieces and diff reasons. Surface differences between capitals are just differences of form. Different revenues arise from different functions for capital. Everything still depends on conventional production from labour yielding sv. Not all the differences are possible in ,say, agriculture where nature constrains the process.

Lots more detail ensues, refuting conventional economists. The piece ends by saying labour is still critical in producing fixed capital – even in agriculture, where seeds and the use of beasts of burden etc are the subjects of labour. Labour and capital reproduce dynamically  – adjusted to conditions of production.]

Lazzarato, M. The Concepts of Life and the Living in the Societies of Control, ch 9, 171—190

[A very good simple discussion of the links between Foucault, Marx and Deleuze. Clear distinction between Deleuzian analysis and sociological analysis. Slightly wacky anarcho politics]

The piece begins by arguing that the ontology, especially ideas of multiplicity, virtuality and actualisation are essential to understanding the development of societies of control, and not just transformations of capitalism. Foucault breaks with Marxism in arguing that there are different forms of social relations involved in power, and not just capital v labour, and that the principle is to consider what can be stated rather than to look for some economic base.  Power relations outside the economic are also important.  Tarde developed many of these critiques.  There is not just a single conflict and dialectic.  In particular, power has its own microphysics which are not derivative from the juridical alone: historically, factories have developed pre-existing disciplinary mechanisms.  Marxism must therefore be integrated into a broader framework of disciplinary society and the twin mechanisms of discipline and biopower.  At the social level, the regimes of signs and collective assemblages of enunciation are as important as machinic sources of assemblage and power in factories prisons or schools.  It follows that expression cannot be reduced to ideology in the classic sense.

The emergence of singularities and their powers are found in the whole history of modernity.  Disciplinary societies act on multiplicities.  Particular dialectical dualisms are simply actualizations.  Classes themselves are produced by disciplinary action, from multitudes.  Disciplinary techniques distribute the multiplicity across space ‘(by grieving, confining, serializing)’ and across time, breaking up actions into sequences (173).  Biopolitical techniques ‘(public health, politics of the family and so on)’ (173) manage the life of multiplicities.  [There is a strange comment about multiplicities being small in particular institutions, and large in biopolitical fields—hints that these are empirical multiplicities, collections of variables?]

Deleuze analyses these mechanisms in terms of difference and repetition, and distinguishes between power relations between forces and institutions as agents of integration and stratification.  Institutions reproduce themselves as precise forms, but derive from power relations as dispositifs.  These replace the conventional modalities of the subject and work.

Power relations are virtual and unstable, potentialities defining possibilities.  They are actualised by institutions which stabilize them—integration or actualisation is also differentiation.  Singularities are homogenised and made to converge, fixed into forms, but this takes place in an emergent form, from local to global, developing into networks and patch works.  Tarde also worked along the same lines.  These are different forces, however, and they can produce surface effects like dualisms, including the ones between classes and genders.  These are ways of domesticating and controlling virtuality, for example in regulating ‘the thousand tiny possible becomings of sexuality’ (174).  [But how does producing to oppose the dualism between social classes serve to domesticate in the end?].  These examples indicate that power both represses but also constitutes. For Foucault, statements express various social relations and these can take visible forms.

D and G refer in a similar way to machines of expression and corporeal assemblages.  Both Marxism and structuralism, with its split between signifer and signified, are reductive.  The present is a corporeal assemblage, the penal code is a machine of expression which, for example, turns defendants into convicts.  The code is a form, while delinquency is its substance.  The relations between them refer or ‘to an informal outside, a virtual, an event’ (175).

For Deleuze, the outside, virtuality, becoming is confined [that is reduced and managed].  Disciplinary institutions neutralise difference in the name of reproduction.  Bodies are trained to eradicate any further possibilities [Foucault uses very similar terms, apparently, seeing training as acting at the moment when virtuality becomes reality, 176].  In this sense, disciplinary institutions are productive of bodies and statements and so on, but repressive in eliminating the possibilities of the multiplicity.  They produce subjectivity, but only by introducing domesticated dualisms.  Such discipline reduces invention, codifies repetition, and deny becoming.  Social sciences lend credibility to this activity by insisting that institutions should be understood in their own right as reproductive, contradictory, competitive and the like, ‘but they [also] know nothing of becoming’ (176).  They also operate with chronological time rather than the time of creation of possibilities.  Negri argues that constituting power is also ignored in favour of the procedures of power once constituted.  Tarde also noted the inadequate grasp of invention and creation in favour of reproduction.  In this sense, they collude in the view that there is only one possible world.

Those social sciences also validated 20th century planning [bad--see below]  as the creation of the new, but Tarde was among those already announcing the failure of that project, the inability to repress difference and compossibles.  Classes now feature multiplicities [empirical again?] , as does heterosexuality. [So where did these come from if it was all about simple reproduction of the same amnd tight control etc?]  It follows that traditional forms of discipline, domesticating the outside are also redundant.  Modulation replaces discipline, control rather than discipline, the need to regulate emerging events and control differences afresh.  1968 showed the new reality.  Deleuze on modulation needs to be explored further—for example, it no longer takes place in closed institutions: it implies new concepts of life and living.

Foucault says that disciplinary techniques emerged at the end of the 17th century, and biopolitical techniques 50 years later.  Biopower concerns itself with global processes specific to life birth death and reproduction, placing bodies within the biological, while disciplinary techniques focus on the body and the individual.  Policies of the welfare state clearly reflect biopower, including the management of the environment.  Modern societies have developed more effective techniques.  Taylorism similarly modernises disciplinary technologies.

Yet there are other techniques of power which belong to neither—relations of control.  Tarde had the concept of various publics, where social influence works at a distance, and coexistence in time becomes the important dimension.  Networks, distance technologies, and the deliberate formation of public subjectivities are all important in constituting the social world.  The Marxist notion of ideology is still inadequate [not all sure why in this case].  Control is exercised ‘through the brain’s power to affect and become affected’ (180) [still Tarde, but reminiscent of Deleuze’s stuff on brains in the work on cinema].  Technologies that can act at a distance become more important—television and the Internet.

Public opinion develops as commonly held judgments, but also as a common collection of prospects and concepts [crying out for empirical work here again].  The ties between members of the public are not emotionally intense, and can relate to different groups, so there are new subjectivities and forms of socialization.  Information is diffused almost instantaneously [brains again], and brains can touch each other [‘as is the case today with the Internet’ (181)—ludicrous idealization].  The old religious and economic divisions become less important, less rigid and less univocal, leading to segmentation [just like Dunning’s concept describing football fans?].  This is deterritorialization for Deleuze.  Tarde again helps out in predicting the emergence of public opinion as the main grouping, exceeding attempts to grasp social life in Marxist terms.

Bakhtin was on the right lines showing how the multiplicity of languages get [imperfectly] repressed and subordinated to a majoritarian language.  D and G talk about the notion of the majority as producing some standard measure.  Again exploitation doesn’t explain these processes.  The processes are imposed on those of disciplinary societies until they are now indispensable—‘Both the exploitation and accumulation of capital are simply impossible without the transformation of linguistic multiplicity into the majoritarian model (monolinguism), without the imposition of a monolingual regime of expression, and without the constitution of the semiotic power of capital’ (183).  [So is that why it exists, maybe?]

What implications arise for concepts of life and living?  Biopolitical techniques regulate lives and the biological level, while techniques of control operate differently.  Here, we need Nietzsche, who used developments in molecular biology to undermine then current notions of the autonomy and unity of the self.  For him, being is living.  Memory is also important, since it can actualizes the virtual.  The two came together in the work of Haeckel—all living things, including molecules, have a memory, and this remains in modern notions of reproduction.

Bergson was Tarde’s ‘first disciple’ (184)!  Duration is essential to prevent the present endlessly repeating itself, and develop human sensibility out of mere sensations—a ‘”conatus of the brain”’ for Tarde.  Bergson’s work leads to the notion of the virtual and the actual [and the multiplicity], since memory is ‘the coexistence of all the virtual remembrances’ (184), the inverted cone, infinite at the top.  Remembering something is actualising a virtual, a creation not reproduction, intellectual work.  It is even driven by desire for Tarde! [ A note, (n3, 190)  says this lies behind the important stress in Deleuze on desire, compared to Foucault’s on power] This intellectual work gets captured by social and economic forces. [repackaged notion of ideology in modern techno guise? Only different if we accept the electronic communication between brains stuff?]

Modulation involves changes of flows of desire through memory and attention.  It operates incorporeally, with spiritual rather than bodily memory—‘man qua spirit or mind’ (185).  Distance technologies are modulating machines and ‘duplicate the waves by which monads act on one another’ (185).  This builds on Tarde and his notion of social interaction as the conservation of impressions stored in memory, and expressed in ways which display regularity.  Technology supplies artificial memories and are able to intervene in the cooperation between brains: this harmonises interaction.  [Either a massive paranoid technofascism, or just another way of saying that people behave according to external norms as in socialisation].  In order to distinguish the biological dimensions from biopower, Lazzarato calls technological versions ‘noo-politics’ (186), exercised on the brain, on the tension and the control of memory and habits.

Discipline and control can work together, to produce classes, populations, and publics, assembled together.  The USA represents the best model, for example in its prisons: the percentage in prison is greater than any disciplinary society alone ever managed.  The welfare and workfare system requires ever greater interventions in the lives of individuals to force them to work.  Informatics and telematics are highly developed.  Noo-politics organises the other power relations ‘because it operates at the most deterritorialized level (the virtuality of the action between brains)’ (187).

At the global level, disciplinary institutions like factories are still widespread, and affect, for example children, but they are no longer dominant.  Industrial work is no longer dominant either.  The market has produced multiple groups activities and statuses replacing class.  The model of exploitation based on class is also being replaced in favour of ‘the dynamic of difference and repetition’ (187).

We need some research [!] to match Foucault’s.  The growth of economic planning lead to a convergence between capitalism and socialism, together with or contradictory multiplication of subjectivities, which became a problem for both sorts of society.  Planning was based on the regulation of work, with its disciplinary factories and its whole system of stratified labour.  The worker’s wage was the basis for social rights to welfare, and ‘even the production and reproduction of the norm of heterosexuality passed through work’ (188) [not families and churches? This is economic reductionism].  Planning replaces more apparently spontaneous forms of regulation, including the ontological power of work.  Politics subordinated it, as overdetermination.  The field of work happens to be the major area of the first compromises between trade unions, owners and the state, and eventual corporatism [in both socialist and capitalist systems?  Only in the west to build economic strength to dominate the east?].  The decline of such work precipitates crisis, including the crisis of the subject.

Even Marx’s concept of revolutionary praxis was conservative or regulatory, integrative.  [in Italy. And there is a hint about ambivalence towards fordism, also wanted by the work force and PCI?].  The revolutionaries of 1968 correctly saw such forces as conservative, bureaucratic, dualist.  Work institutions are still compromising and regulating, but work still remains as a major way of conceiving the constitution of the world and self.  There are visions of more creative work [? Italian context again? Includes autonomists?] —‘employment’ (190), but this is still a form of regulation.

Holland, E.  Nomad Citizenship and Global Democracy, chapter 10, 191 -206

[Summarises Deleuze on nomadicity and hierarchy.  Summarises some earlier work on management as needing to be bottom up, develops very idealistic notion of how capitalist markets might be reformed. Ends in a naive Durkheimian position, via some pretty simple economic determinsm, without any ideas to reform institutions. Does philosophy need sociology? Do the bears need the woods?]

Nomadism refers to a wide variety of activities, especially nomad science and its opposite, royal science (invariant universal laws describe forms, matter is a series of variations).  Nomad science follows singularities and is based on Hjelmslev and the stuff about forms of content and forms of expression.  Royal science dominates and standardises, while nomadic science relates to particularities [singularities,matey calls them] as substances of expression, and values. Contingency rules.  These ideas are becoming developed even in physics with notions of complexity theory.  Developments in evolution show that there are no universal blueprints.  Evolution follows ‘”itineration” rather than “iteration”’ (193).

Nomad sciences preserve links with social practices and work, rather than offering an abstraction which will develop the technology as in royal science [it is all in Thousand Plateaus, apparently].  Thus opposes the well-known split between intellectual and manual labour based on this abstraction process [apparently it was openly recommended as a kind of deskilling by none other than Bacon].  This split has come to appear as natural, and this is one reason why the state supports royal science—this is an inherent part of the science according to TP.

The example that follows is about jazz as nomadic as opposed to classical symphonies which merely reproduce [!] under the control of the conductor.  Jazz improvises and can develop temporary forms of leadership—the social activities generate social forms as immanent, not transcendent.  Most human activities are mixed.

Apparently, the Orpheus Symphony Orchestra operates with rotating conductors and changing CEOs.  An early management theorist, Mary Parker Follett, advocated the system for capitalism—collective responsibility, group deliberations, temporary and circulating roles according to relative talent.  She emphasized the group rather than the individual, and saw groups as assemblages, a focus of forces radiating inwards and outwards.  This form of affective group differs from both the crowd and the hierarchical organization.  It depends on articulating differences, following group thought, acting as ‘a plane of composition’ in Deleuze’s terms [with more than one hint of the ideal of organic solidarity as opposed to mechanical].  Such articulation produces its own authority as a positive force.  Apparently, Follett has been taken up by some feminists.

Follett actually worked with participatory neighbourhoods, but saw their ideas as offering a general principle, by scaling up [rather like DeLanda does] to think about integrated neighbourhoods, integrated cities, and so on, until she ended with the idea of the state as organic totality.  She also apply for idea specifically to management, as a way of overcoming class antagonism [she was working in the 1920s].

There is apparently a bit of Hegel in here [and Durkheim], in seeing the state as representing the universal interest, all the objective spirit of a nation.  This emerged particularly well in warfare.  Some theorists, like Schmitt, retained this view that the main role of the state is to wage war, and that it is this that will prevent the development of overlapping allegiances by simplifying and insisting on a ‘master – allegiance’ (200).  Certainly, this view represents the behaviour of nation states, and so nomad citizenship can be asserted [only counterfactually], as an alternative.  The monopolistic demands by the state have also led to a decline of legitimacy, especially as the state increasingly must support capitalism and look partisan [shades of Habermas], for example by cutting welfare in the interests of reducing the costs for capitalism.  D and G argue that coordinating activities arising from accumulation is now the main function of the state [TP again], and waging war has a major economic function [rather like Marcuse].  War also excites the public.  For all these reasons, the state keeps waging a series of wars.

The nomadic notion of citizenship is quite different and oppositional.  They can offer a more enriched life, without constant threat.  They can bring immediate benefits from participation.  They can eventually replace large scale representative systems of democracy, and can even operate globally.  The market is already global and offers a form of exchange with remote persons.  These people are seen as partners rather than friends or enemies, although there is ‘a huge proviso: the market exchange become voluntary and fair’ (203).  The potential of markets is noted in Anti Oedipus, through the discussion of coding—the market deterritorializes, and even ‘effectively frees desire from capture in codes’ (203) [I read it is arguing the exact opposite, or as one of those illusory liberations from a tight political code only to fall under the spell of a naturalistic axiom!].

So capitalism deterritorializes and there is an attempt to control this through a transcendent component—private capital [seen as directly controlling the state?  More Leninist than Lenin!].  Yet there is an immanent element [exactly as in Negri?], and the market can even threaten private capital.  So ‘a truly free market sponsors new social relations of greater freedom, diversity and material abundance…  a…  conception of the material basis and historical possibility for nomad citizenship’ (204).  Then we would all be happy—order would emerge from below, the free market would not be dominated by capital, social production would bear in mind social relations.

[What a lot of idealist nonsense!  All the ideas are Durkheimian, although he is never mentioned.  Perhaps he was right about Tarde?  There are none of the sensible socio political reforms suggested by Durkheim, however, just the assertion of a possible alternative].

Vähämäki, J. & Virtanen, A. Deleuze, Change, History, chapter 11, 207—28

[An ultra leftist stance, preserving becoming as a feature of multiplicities at the expense of connecting with any actual or empirical revolutions or other movements.  Some misguided sideswipes at sociology, and a good jibe at history.  Very similar to Negri, including the wild swings between optimism and pessimism. Ultra leftism finally ends in quiet withdrawal to the seminar room ].

Deleuze’s concept of revolution owes nothing to conventional understandings, historical repetitions, or actualised changes.  Revolution is a matter of duration [as multiplicity], and is outside normal time and space.  Revolution in this sense ‘never “is” but rather “goes on”’ (207).  Revolutions are never just the same as what they actually do in history.  Rather, they show a deeper and more permanent sense of change, which operates without reasons or reactions or causes – rather they are unpredictable examples of becomings.  They show the very characteristics of human being which is creative ,adaptive and never just passive in the face of conditions.

Following Bergson, it is chronological time that ‘slows us down’ (208) [as in ossification].  Duration is our means of production, and is indeterminate, and ‘therefore without a subject’ (208).  It would be a mistake to see this as a residual vitalism in Deleuze, because this would be to introduce a transcendental point, and what Deleuze is about is multiplicity.

[Multiplicity is translated here as multitudo—I am going to use the English 'multitude' to save me correcting my speech recognition device., It seems to risk identarian thinking though, to equate the philosophical term 'multiplicity' with the Negrian political term 'multitude'].  Such a multiplicity resists.  It is constantly in movement, the background to every actual political discourse, and to be found only when conventional ideas have been thoroughly disrupted—‘after the collapse of meaning’ (209) [typical philosophical hyperbole!].  It expresses itself in conflicting developments.  Multiplicities can never be reduced to spatial dimensions.  Multiplicity does provide us with ‘the central axis of the politics of immanent capitalism’, so that we can theorise change.  It’s unfocused unfolding is liberating, partly because it can never be linked to specific objects of desires.  Creative human power mimics it.  It is a constructive force [argued in a strange way—to call it destructive would be to impose some transcendental principle].  It is absolutely differentiated, a ‘multitude of productive singularities…  its productivity cannot be reduced to actual production: it is an absolute power outside the historical and visible world’ (210).  Multiplicity offers an undercurrent of permanent resistance.  It endures, as a kind of background to living together, but not as anything tangible, ‘rather in some kind of indeterminate memory’ (210).

[Then an example from Kafka on the ‘little helpers’ who seem to exist in K’s world, unnoticed but indispensable and resistant.]  This leads to an idea that the multitude consists of people living together but not in an explicit way, not actualized in particular actions, ‘real but not actual, heterogeneous but continuous’ (211).  The multitude also is creative without having specific models or actual acts: there is a kind of potentiality, some residual potential being distinct from activity, outside actuality and history.  This potentiality cannot be read off from a particular task or individual, but only from the multitude/multiplicity: any experience or the exercise of power reveals that there is always something extra that remains potential.  It cannot be described as anything like ‘the social’, and sociology misses it because it tries to describe it in conventional, logical, representations. All the relations are found in a virtual multiplicity.

Marx got close to the idea with the notion of labour as general human power, something distinct from the particular forms, products and machinery of capitalism.  He saw it necessary to go beyond describing particular tasks and forms.  There is a notion of history here as the actualization of something more virtual [which is not what conventional historians do.  The silly sods try to explain the present in terms of empirical events in the past].  Capitalism itself attempted to tap this general creativity in order to unleash change.  Deleuze describes transitions to post fordism [modern capitalism] in precisely this way.  Negri is quoted as describing the shift in terms of the economically necessary creativity and freedom, cooperation and the transformation of conventional discipline.  This lies behind Deleuze’s work on the change from the society of discipline towards the society of control [that this is surely the pessimistic side of the argument—human creativity potentially destabilises capitalism, but is promptly subject to ever increasing control].

This idea of a multiplicity of living labour is the basis of Deleuze’s metaphysics [SIC], in order to systematize and abstract from the repeated sequential changes that human creativity is brought about [a notion of philosophy being able to add explanations to memory, to avoid just a ‘reactive series of sequential sensations’, 213].  It is this metaphysics that helps us understand the new society of control.

Multiplicity or multitude is needed to rescue specific political philosophies from their stupidity as bêtise [in this case, reason confined to the options made available by social development—like a television quiz show where you recall known facts, the authors say. See Difference and Repetition].  Philosophical discussions of the one and the many are irrelevant and stupid, because different people no longer have to be harmonised, but are organized in a different sort of community.  Sociological interest in exclusion ‘becomes exceptionally stupid’ (214), and that includes Luhmann, Giddens and Castells.  The underlying assumption aimed at equality is outdated.  Of course there are still exclusions, but the distinction between the included and excluded is no longer central to capitalism, and nor is the notion of equality.  Modern societies have created social exclusion and are no longer worried about it, and sociologists are merely in some kind of ‘cramp’ to insist it is central [modern societies might have created social exclusion, and their elites not be worried about it, but that does not diminish its relevance if it is going to store up considerable problems in the future.  Much depends on what is excluded exactly as well—sociological work stresses inequalities of power and wealth rather than any sense of community.  The society of control may be able to restore some notion of community]

Deleuze works with [a flat ontology], or a plane of immanence without any hierarchy.  Modern societies have attempted to embrace otherness in order to normalise and control it, rather than attempting to exclude.  Exclusion and otherness belong to the disciplinary society.  Modern societies have to break the boundaries between insiders and outsiders, for example ‘to let demand and the consumer directly into the production process’ (215).  There are no closed spaces, but rather controls on flow or movements as such, regardless of specific contents.  It is not the exploited who are excluded as well.

The new forms of control are more direct, not mediated by institutions, but operating through ‘the total mobilisation of all the imaginable techniques of repression and subjugation and their concentration and a single moment of time’ (216) [so the bipolar swing towards pessimism starts here].  This expanded control is what Negri calls ‘empire’, offering only a choice of or local variation in mechanisms of control.

Deleuze was interested in escaping from these new controls rather than supporting the excluded, and forming new social relations altogether, leaving behind the old issues of property, enclosure, and strategic communication.  The new controls emerge because capitalism no longer focuses on production directly, and is global [I think the argument here is that it is therefore able to ignore specific local polarisations and exclusions].  The entire biological human being is subjected to power, action itself.  Public opinion legitimises it as in the permanent war on terrorism.  Institutions are no longer relevant, since social controls are unrestrained, arbitrary, pure power, formless, the result of the collapsed capitalist economy, operating in a permanent ‘state of anomie’ (218), and thus able to spread everywhere.  [So, in the pessimistic mode, there is no real hope for anything revolutionary.  I don’t think these people care, because for them revolution is only abstract potential anyway.  The seemed to be comforted by the view that capitalism can never fulfill human creativity but requires massive forms of control instead.]

Change is not confined to actualities [so the swing back to optimism again], and it eludes common sense grounded in ‘habit, routine and communication’ (219) [only revolutionary philosophers can detect it?].  There is no point in studying history [the reference is to What is Philosophy], since change is something more virtual, producing events which are not just empirical.  Events are also emergent.  This can only be understood by metaphysics, which sees that events are actualized in particular circumstances, but that change is virtual and thus beyond the scope of history—quoting a French publication by Deleuze (Pourparlers 1972—1990)‘”history is not experimental; it is just a set of more or less negative preconditions which make it possible to experiment with something beyond history”’ [so we use the empirical findings of history to intuit the virtual].

This is not interpretation which is linked to the transcendental, implying some missing element.  This will not help us understand the multitude or change.  Any generalisations will simply ossify the multitude.  Nietzsche argued this with his notion of the untimely and the eternal return, forces that lie behind specific societies and political developments.  Nietzsche did allow that some great political creators could harness these eternal change forces [charismatic dictators for example, not mentioning any in particular?].

Conventional history describe simply what has already happened and at best describes an objective foundation of politics, but it must be partial, not grasping the fullness of multiplicity, present only as an absence, a negative.  This can act as a constraint on freedom, imposing limits and paralysing action.  The same applies to the history of philosophy.  Political history depends on common sense, especially conventional communication and conversation.  It’s conservative in working with preestablished positions, and seeing real creativity as an illusion.

For Deleuze, duration is the issue, and this is why he insists that we start in between, from the middle, starting from the experience to go to the present and then the past.  Memory [duration] is what provides ‘opportunities for action’ (221) and points to other possibilities.  History tries to replace this with some empirical sequence, based on facts and objective time, operating with concepts that are suitable for common sense communication.  It cannot grasp proper change which depends on real virtual time.  Philosophy, by contrast, is always creating concepts that exceed common sense and necessity and relate to the real.  Quoting Deleuze and the French volume ‘”concepts are what stops thought being a mere opinion, of view, exchange of views, gossip.  Any concept is bound to be a paradox”’ (222).  [Deleuze obviously thinks he’s escaped the constraints of common sense and communication, although he is still trapped by the commonsense of French intellectuals?].  This is because concepts always refer to something virtual, and thus something that might change.  Writing is not just the repetition of common sense either, but attempts to open possibilities, to creative life and living, invoking the ‘coming people’ who do not yet have a language.  It maps possibilities.  Even critical or resisting language can get recuperated, because capital has permeated language—we should go instead for deliberate refusals to communicate, which is the paradox of concepts.

Creativity and change in a multiplicity also exceeds actual beings.  It focuses on events rather than beings.  It does not support revolutionary thinking that sees the people or the revolution as absolutes, as did the revolutionaries of 1789 [this led to the Terror, where mere people were less important than absolute revolution].  Proper revolution has no subject, and the activities of actual people cannot be evaluated.  Nor can particular contents or tasks be specified.  Duration must not be actualized and ossified but be allowed to proceed as ‘the forces of change…  free combination and organization’ (223).  Anything that stops this, including actualization, weakens the revolution. 

Indeed, revolution heads towards reaction by embedding itself in conventional relations with others, ‘by compelling us to respond and to take responsibility…  By locating an actor, a subject’ (223).  Movement is not found in others or in purely empirical facts, including exclusion.  ‘That is why revolution cannot begin with listening to others or responding to the demands of the age.  Revolutions do not spring from wrong doing or injustice’ (223).  We become revolutionary instead by turning away from those activities, becoming distracted.

Focusing excessively on action or specific activities constrains and weakens us.  Analyzing empirical events diverts our powers, and leads to ‘sorrow and disappointment...  Our sorrow and powerlessness derive from materializing a capacity of power, from finding a [political?] “cause”’ (224) [far better to keep an illusory ideal creativity, invested in philosophy?]

The opposite of such a sorrow is Spinozan, a multiplication of powers and capacities.  Joy ‘does not proceed through the other’ (224).  Instead, ‘when we meet something that is right for us, we link to it, combine with it and devour it’.  This involves us detaching from the other and their problems, and therefore from the whole idea of the ethics of the other: this is not central to political struggle. Modern societies ‘can commodify and organise whatever activity’ (225)[orig emph].  [So the answer is to withdraw and detach altogether, or just from worrying about other people?] Resistance in the name of an ethical or moral life must respond to affect all of lived time as well [looks increasingly like the old stuff about how it is just as important to overcome the constraints of timetabling in your university as it is to abolish sex trafficking]

Capitalist modes of communication, including hierarchies and coordination are essential to the production of value, but are universal in consequence.  There is a whole ‘general interior, a “second nature”’ that affects behaviour and conventions (225).  Production requires a more productive general capability [Marx’s general intellect?].  It is capacities rather than skills, including the ability to relate to other people, that organize all life.  In this way, ‘cooperation between minds [become] predisposed productive services’ (226).

So ‘as long as our powers are invested, positioned or materialized, as long as they may be purchased and sold, conquered or seized, our ability to act is reduced.  Power weakens us’ (226).  We need a new kind of politics, not operating at the level of power, but to build our own powers and freedoms, especially those which effect new combinations.  This is Deleuze’s contribution. to offer a better account of change, well grounded in metaphysics, which frees political philosophy from history.  It can help us ‘break free from the command and subjugation that bears down upon our lives directly and takes all our time’ (226). [So sod the revolution – let’s have philosophical fun! And to think they criticized Adorno!]

Albertsen, N and Diken, B.  Society with/out Organs, chapter 12, 231 –49

[An intriguing piece that first of all systematizes Deleuze on the social to produce four options, and in the process makes Deleuzian philosophy look like a machinic combinatory.  Various social theories are checked off against the diagram, and the most liberating  or comprehensive is D and G of course.  Then there is an interest in the society of control, as the inevitable turn to pessimism, with only the most abstract hope left at the end]

The BWO is defined variously—unformed intense matter, pure chaos.  There are full BWOs as a plane of consistency for social order, cancerous BWOs with proliferating strata, empty BWOs which have been violently destratified and which lead to death .  The concept is linked to Deleuze's insistence on immanence, a flat horizontal dimension, rather than transcendence, the vertical plane with some god guaranteeing all the judgments and developments.  It follows that there must be [!] societies without organs as well, with some agreed plane of consistency constituting social life, as a ‘complex surface of relations, connections and interactions, including those which are usually dismissed as anomalies or ambivalences’ (232) and this is different from the conventional sociological approaches that see societies as organisms.  The BWO nevertheless does not pre-exist the social like some Hobbesian state of nature, to be derived by deconstruction: the BWO is the limit of the social, ‘its delirium, its “tangent deterritorialization, the ultimate residue”’, citing AntiOedipus, (233).

As a residue, we can explain its properties [as a kind of pure form].  It has paranoiac (molar, stratified and organised) and schizophrenic (molecular and deterritorialized) poles.  The former constitutes society, the latter kind of permanent immanent opposition.  Actual societies combine these two in a ‘dissipative assemblage’, tending towards the cancerous BWO on the one hand and the full BWO on the other (233).

Social life itself is open to de and reterritorialization and is segmented.  Strata consist of segments and these can be binary, circular, or linear.  Segmentation can produce arborescent structures, or grids for the possible.  Rhizomes are segmented at the molecular level and form an acentred system [that is a three dimensional network with maximum connectivity of the points].  Rhizomes are found in packs or bands or loose groupings like elites with diffused power [elites?].  These mass groupings are not like classes which are rigidly segmented.  The same people can be organized as both the mass and the class, however [talk about hedging your bets!  The issues surely is in which empirical circumstances do they become one or the other?].  Durkheim was wrong to focus on the great social collectives, and Tarde was right to look at the social relations that emerge through imitation, opposition and invention.  However, the molar and the molecular affect the social and individual at the same time, unlike conventional macro/micro distinction.

The same argument informs the difference between state science and nomad science—the stable and the identical vs. becoming and heterogeneity, closed grid spaces vs. spirals and vortices in smooth space.  We need a proper nomadology to rescue the significance of nomad science.

Similarly, conceptions of the social under emphasise ‘quantum flows, which involve “something tending to elude or escape the codes”’ (235) citing Thousand Plateaus.  This means we must distinguish between speech and movement—movement is extensive, speed is intensive, so the latter “represents the absolute character of the body” [TP again—this absolute character is the multiplicity?].  So: molar lines produce rigid segments and arborescent systems; molecular flows are rhizomatic and form a smooth space with transversal movements; lines of flight [discussed below].

The molar and the molecular coexist even in fascist societies, producing the mass allegiance which underpins totalitarian states [allegedly, or only philosophically—no empirical work].  Similarly it is possible to see fascism at the micro level, inside individuals, even though they may be anti fascist [no empirical work again—just an appeal to be flexible, ‘to see the rhizome in the tree and the tree in the rhizome’ (236).  Similarly, reterritorialization is a permanent tendency.  Immigrants and strangers offer relative deterritorialization, and the nomad absolute forms.  [Then we get on to a philosophical definition of the nomad which makes this all circular].  Nomads are defined as ‘occupying a smooth space and by speed, which…  Does not necessitate extensive movement as such but rather intensity’ (236), so it is not meant to apply to actual nomads—the nomad is everywhere and we must not reifiy the concept.  So deterritorialization is a concept happily deterritorializes itself at the same time [quoting a commentary by Goodchild on the politics of desire, which looks good].

Lines of flight break free and become absolute deterritorialization.  This potential is as important for the definition of the social as any description of its zones of power.  It is a zone of impotence as far as the social is concerned—something must always escape [one of these philosophical ‘musts’, no doubt].  All creativity and profound change comes from escape rather than contradiction between segments as in Marxism, despite appearances to the contrary [thank god for philosophical perception to correct mere sociology here].

Deterritorialization is imminently opposed to the three main strata —organism, where you escape by becoming a BWO; language, where you become a foreigner in your own language; subjectification which you escape from through becoming, say becoming animal.  Becoming is synonymous with developing a war machine, 'a free assemblage [with other people?] oriented along with deterritorializing line of flight…  Operating in a smooth space, and untying social norms (codes) into a multiplicity' (237).  War machines have as their object, ‘the constitution of a creative line of flight'[so they need one to come into existence and then they aim at developing one?].  There are some dangers in that lines of flight can become restratified or reterritorialized.  They can also encounter clarity—where they see that there are all sorts of weaknesses in structures, and this can destroy all authority— anyone can be ‘” self appointed judge, dispenser of the justice, policemen, neighbourhood SS man"', citing TP.  This can lead to micro fascism.  The final danger is that a line of flight will cease to be creative and become a line of death, when destruction becomes the main goal.  [The authors flirt with some suggestion that this might be what explained German fascism].  For all these reasons, we need a minimum of strata, and to avoid extremes [so it’s really a kind of liberal pragmatism, what reasonable men like academics, desire?].  Both extremes destroy the creative immanence of social life.

Then there is the marvelous diagram below.  It rejects the classic contrast of nature and society in favour of a dimension of purity and hybridity [in the middle], drawing on Latour.  The vertical axis is again a continuum between chaos and systematic consistency, and the aim of course is to put yourself in the middle somewhere.  This produces four ideal types at the poles.  However, D and G also allude to [no references here] the notion of social fields as in Bourdieu, or autopoietic systems as in Luhmann.  Of course we should not see these too rigidly, not as 'stabilised and routinized "practices" (Bourdieu)'(240) [philosophical ‘should’ this time].  There is also a parallel with Bauman on ambivalence, as the area of unregulated ethics, ignored by mainstream sociology, and Zizek, on the incorporation of negativity and sublimation into social life.  Another link can be made with Thévenot, who apparently developed a ‘pragmatic sociology with its central emphasis on heterogeneous moral modes of engagement through regimes of action including both humans and things' (240).  Each of these introduces heterogeneity into social order, denying, for example that social facts need purely social causes as in Durkheim.  [In other words, all the useful heterogeneity and empirical details are added by these sociologists, and D and G cling to their coat tails as having somehow anticipated them or paralleled them].

diagram of the social

So in Field II we find actor network theory, which clearly was inspired by Deleuze, although again the rhizome is not the same as an actual network.  ANT is 'too focused on ordering mechanisms and their functioning, that is on "heterogeneous orders"' (240).  The same goes with people like Castells  who see network societies as joined only by laminar flows—‘"purposeful, repetitive, programmable sequences of exchange and interaction…  [pursued] by social actors in the economic, political and symbolic structures of society"', referring to Castells, 241.

There are also destabilising flows for D and G as depicted in Field III.  Here, people like John Law have also develop edthe idea that there are different kinds of space within the social—clusters, networks, and more transformative spaces which are more fluid.  It is this fluid hybrid space that appears in Field III.  Field IV has been completely ignored by social theory since it represents pure chaos, and this relates to the role of the BWO as above.  Territorialization represents the stabilisation [ossification, actualisation?] of Field IV into the other fields and deterritorialization the other way around, representing the erosion of fixed categories in modernity.

We therefore have a properly grounded mobile perspective responsible for discontinuity.  There can be mutually supportive relations between all four fields, or conflictual relations where one field tries to colonise and codify the others, or parallel relations, where the fields occupy 'a series heterogeneously organized by difference' (242).  Such analysis brings back in the virtual with all its possibilities, a 'huge non actualised domain', central to Deleuze.

Of course, the authors have expressed their own priorities with the diagram, which clearly limits its applicability.  However, luckily the diagram can reflect upon itself or '"re-enter" itself…  Repeat itself within its different fields' (242).  So [like Parsons!] the main dimensions can be found within fields as well as between—this is looking for the rhizome in the tree as the master recommends.  Each field has forces that consolidate or purify itself and also link with heterogeneity.

We can now account for Luhmann’s systems theory.  [Which I summarise heavily because I have never read it].  What links the differentiated autopoetic systems?  There is some underlying concept of the world which constitutes the systems but which cannot be observed from within them.  It is the necessary but unspecified background link, which can only be '"transcendentally presupposed"'(243).  It is this sort of necessary background that makes specific theories drift in the direction of Field IV and the constitutive role of chaos, as Luhmann himself admits. Various philosophers have seen the drift towards field IV in this way, as an explanation of the apparently contingent event. The opposing tendency, the movement towards purity can be revealed in those attempting to see geometry as a measure of the world and everything in it, evidence of eternity.

D and G agree that the social is an assemblage of bodies, matters and discourses,dispositifs, but there is also an issue of mobility and movement, which also defines the social or might even be its most significant dimension.  Nomadism had to be investigated to uncover this possibility, but it has been recuperated in today's network society --it is not enough to celebrate the perverse, because 'perversion is already become a big business' (245).  The work of Chiapello and Boltanski  [and see Chicapello and Fairclough] point to the importance of connectionism in modern capitalism, the capitalist as nomad or networker.  There is even an echo of Spinozan immanence in the new spirit of capitalism, used as transcendent justification [as a perversion of the notion of joy in activity] 'Augusto Illuminati [sic] has reasonably argued that it was Deleuze who first gave this "post-Fordist twist" to Spinoza' (246). 

The control society replaces disciplinary societies and produces ‘a permanent movement, in which the subject is always in a state of becoming'(246).  Control is now immanent in social life.  Contemporary society itself 'now operates according to the logic of nomadism', and capitalism itself claims some aesthetic justification or inspiration or creativity.  So 'what was once the exception has become the rule', and critique has become linked to capitalist innovation, especially the aesthetic critique from French philosophy, which has 'dissolved into a post-Fordist normative regime of justification, the notion of creativity is recoded in terms of flexibility, and difference is commercialised' (247).  Even Deleuze and Guattari recognise that advertising men deal with concepts, not just philosophers [citing What is Philosophy].  Even Negri and Hardt recognise that it is the creativity of the multitude that now fuels capitalism.

However, there might still be a concept in Deleuze that helps us resist—'speed as deviation', helping us to become, just as nomads wish to stay put and refuse to disappear [the Toynbee quote again].  It is not just movement, which can be recuperated.  Instead 'subversion or liberation therefore must be related to taking control of the production of mobility and stasis (Hardt and Negri 2000:156).  Because, as Deleuze and Guattari say "…  Everything is a production" [AntiOedipus]' (248). [I think they get into this sort of hopeless alternation of optimism and pessimism because they rule out any empirical analysis].

Delanda, M.  Deleuzian Social Ontology and Assemblage Theory, chapter 13, 250 -66.

[A condensed version of Delanda 2006, an earlier version it seems  Ingenious in its attempts to weave in geography as a missing dimension in sociology, and clearly based on some actual reading of sociologists!.  When I read the book I thought it was largely functionalist in its orientation, but this piece made me rethink.  I think it’s descriptive and formalist, charting the possibilities again, and relying on sociological findings or common sense to pick up some of the issues, such as the development of solidarity among communities.]

This is an attempt to discuss the linkage between micro and macro, while avoiding reductionism, in the sense that one approach tends to see the other level not as irrelevant, but as epiphenomenal [better than most sociology students!].  There is also the third strategy, found in Giddens on structuration and Bourdieu on the habitus, where both action and structure are constituted in the middle level. 

Deleuzian thought proposes we operate on a number of levels, from individuals, through interpersonal networks, organizations, urban centres and then larger territorial entities.  This is only ‘a rough guide’ (251) but it implies that at the different scales, there is always a relation between parts and wholes; their interactions generate structures in the sense of statistical regularities or ‘collective unintended consequences’; but the larger entities act to limit the resources available lower down, in a cycle of constraint and enablement; that the higher level collectives are still singular entities and do not stop at the nation state. Micro and macro become relative terms.

Deleuze uses terms like the molecular and molar to generate the qualities in the above paragraph.  Deleuze was apparently a committed Marxist ‘until the end of his life’ (252), but did not support economic determinism.  This leaves us with a problem with deciding what is Deleuzian, but one solution is to use particular concepts in Deleuze, especially the assemblage.

Assemblages feature external relations, and not the kind of specific ones that integrate Hegelian or organic totalities.  The different components may be material or expressive, and also processes of territorialization or deterritorialization [a nice formal grid, used to identify empirical processes and name them, not actually to discover them in the first place].  The expressive components may be directed and specialized, as in human language, or more symbolic—DeLanda wants to emphasise the latter in particular.

Individuals themselves are assemblages of sub personal components, as in Hume—a collection of sense impressions and ideas are assembled through habitual thought, based on contiguity, resemblance and constant conjunction (which provides the idea of causality).  These might be supplemented by characteristics arising specifically from language, such as ‘beliefs’ (254), and there must also be a material component behind assemblage—the biological operation of sense organs, and habit, ‘the main process of territorialization’ (254), which fuses past and present moments.  Deterritorialization can be the name for any reversal of habitual thinking, and arises in ‘madness, fever, intoxication, sensory deprivation’ and others (254) [we should also add Deleuzian philosophy?].

The next stage is to consider friendship networks, first through encounters like those described in Goffman which arise in copresence and which involve the exchange of signs, including nonverbal ones.  In such encounters, people make claims to public identities, and this has to be managed [especially anxiously among Californian middle class academics that is].  Material components include bodies standing close enough to each other to hear and orient each other [banal -- what about the earth, the cosmos, gravity etc?].  Technological innovations alter the requirement for copresence [so they are just bolt-ons to face to face—ANT would have a lot to say about that!].  Conversations can be territorialized by space, time and convention, such as those governing turn taking.  Embarrassment is the main destabilising force [not exactly a deterritorializing one though?  Some intermediate between the mixed polar opposites in Deleuzian philosophy].  Excess embarrassment can end the conversation, but other factors produce changes in conversations such as turning conversations into arguments.  ‘These should also be considered deterritorializing factors as should [distance technology]’ [stretching the concept to include these are not very well discussed middle options—now no distinction between change and deterritorialization? So keen to do consistent philosophy he missed a chance to do sociology].

Conversations can overlap to produce an interpersonal network and we can analyse it with network theory, such as how often repeated the links are, whether they cluster around particular individuals, what sort of mutuality exists, how dense the networks are and so on.  These are important in affecting the ability of networks to enforce norms, through gossip and local reputation.  The links have to be maintained with human labour of a social kind, and this may be divided, for example by gender [no further comment - just an interesting aside to the discussion].  There are a number of expressions of solidarity and trust from the local upwards, again not always in verbal form.  Physical proximity encourages territorialisation and geographical proximity.  Conflict can arise [we don’t know how] and it is also a territorializing process [so definite functionalism here], in strengthening borders and promoting internal belonging: it is not always good though because it might constrain autonomy and exclude outsiders.  Density can be adversely affected, social mobility and secularisation are all forms of deterritorialization and require increased maintenance and resourcefulness—even virtual communities sometimes arrange face to face meetings for this purpose.  Networks can also come to be dominated by particular nodes, but when an official authority structure develops, we change scale again.

Organizations vary in scale and may consist of some of the components of the lower scales.  Modern organizations feature more formalized, instrumental and external relations, however.  Authority structures require legitimacy, which is where Weber becomes in with his three types of authority.  Historical evolution tends towards rational legal [for the same reasons as Weber posits?].  Legitimacy is expressed in a number of ways, usually in the form of written language, sometimes supplemented by oral histories, ‘but behavioural expression is important’ as well, in the form of automatic obedience (259).  They can also be forms of punishment, which brings in Foucault and the development of disciplinary institutions and discourses—‘spatial partitioning, ceaseless inspection and continuous registration’ as material components (259).  There is a strong spatial aspect in special buildings with special architecture, and a formal jurisdiction over particular territories.  Other processes of territorialization might also be required to restore broken legitimacy [and DeLanda talks about the routinization of charisma].  Innovation can destabilise, for example with distance technologies, where spatial stability is replaced by a new kind of coordination [no dysfunctions, such as functional autonomy?  No doubt Delanda would simply fit this into one of his descriptive terms and carry on without batting an eyelid].

Individual organizations can also join together in particular networks or hierarchies of agencies, and these can also be seen as assemblages.  So can cities or nation states, and here geographical and spatial boundaries can be particularly important.  There are material components such as the different buildings and transport infrastructure, including rail networks and their effect on suburbs.  An expressive example is the city skyline, as an initial image for approaching visitors, and thus creating an overall effect, sometimes deliberately.  Cities can be destabilized by mobile populations, and suburbanization, and were once solidified by town walls and distinctive city centres.

They have also lost identity to territorial states, which had one effect of diminishing city loyalty.  Nationalism actually emerged from poorly urbanized areas (262), considered for Europe as a whole.  Territorial states have material components such as natural resources, strong frontiers, including coastlines or other natural features, showing the importance of geography.  Expressive components range from the ‘natural expressivity of their landscapes to the ways in which they express their military might and political sovereignty… [including] flags and anthems, parades and celebrations’ (263), or grand architecture [for national capitals].  There is some cultural homogenization, political nationalism to define and exclude foreigners, military installations to defend boundaries.  Nations are threatened by internal secessions and by maritime trade and the development of the world economy [which he says began in the 14th century with Venice]

There could easily be larger assemblages, with no essential limits, the definitions fit the number of examples since there is no essence [but this arises from its formalism] and no reductionism.  [Then, rather smugly I thought] ‘ontologically speaking, framing the right question may be as important as answering it’ (265).

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