That deep engagement does not mean that this system caters to anthropological tastes.
New York: Monthly Review Press. Baron, P. Lovat Aristotle Kant. Aristotelian ethics and Habermasian critical theory: A conjoined force for proportionism in ethical discourse and Roman Catholic moral theology. Snoek, M. Boston: Beacon Press.
Even the anthropologists that Deleuze was in conversation with as he crafted his system expressed to him anxieties about his epoch-spanning periodization Dosse The social-evolutionary element of the argument is also a bone that many anthropologists would choke on, even though Deleuze and Guattari deny that their schema could be described as social evolution. But that should not be taken to mean that anthropologists have accorded the same low level of respect to Deleuze himself. The difficulty is that anticipating the zeitgeist, and being an intellectual influence on thinkers who express it, are two different things and this is putting to the side the possibility — and to be honest, the high likelihood — that the current era is informing our reading of Deleuze in such a way that other readings of Deleuze, including readings that Deleuze himself might have endorsed, are either foreclosed to us or unrecognizable.
There is also the question of what counts as influence, and what simply counts as being a part of an intellectual genealogy. Assemblage is a term taken from A thousand plateaus. In their minds, assemblages did very specific things, and operated in a particular manner. Further, not only did all assemblages have content the material organised in a determinate pattern but all assemblages also had expressions, which could be either physical or communicative. Anthropology, by comparison, has taken the assemblage as something different.
Rather than serving as expressions of an iterable, abstract relationship, each anthropological assemblage is an underdetermined, random, and possibly unique, collage. This does not render the anthropological repurposing reterritorialization? But it is probably a symptom of what divides Deleuze from contemporary Anglo-American anthropology apart from, of course, discipline, language, subject matter, and history.
While both Deleuze and contemporary anthropology share an interest in novelty, they have differing senses for the frequency and ease with which novelty is brought about.
Even when they are treated as tokens of a more general type, they are presented as if they are not just representative, but exemplary: this retains their novelty while still making them of particular interest for those investigating a more general phenomenon. Deleuze was interested in haecceities as well, but he also held that novelty, and particularly novelty in the form of thought, is relatively rare.
For him, it was not subjects agentively producing novelty, but rather passive subjects who were forced to produce novelty by the press of events, when all other existing conceptual or material tools were exhausted. In Deleuzian parlance, becoming is about a process of continual transformation without a complete transition into some other form or mode; it is used to characterise an asymptotic movement towards a particular local telos. But the two ethnographic circumstances presented destitution and psychic disintegration in Brazil, and the collective continuing aftermath of conflict in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina underline the claim that the sort of transformations that Deleuze is interested in are often the result of a press of circumstances beyond the ordinary.
But it would also be possible to see this not as a focus on abjection and trauma as a human universal, but rather as an impetus to experimentation. But because these works foreground a thematic interest in Deleuze, as opposed to an interest in his technical concepts, to judge them for this seems wrong putting to the side the fact that judging authors in this way, instead of merely contrasting works as intellectual mechanisms, seems a particularly un-Deleuzian exercise. For Deleuze and Guattari, rhizomes are decentralised networks. In rhizomes, individual nodes in the network can have quite different expressions from one another; the network itself is capable of qualitative variation; its internal multiplicity and variety means that it cannot be reduced to any dualisms or structural oppositions; and, because of its decentralised nature, the rhizome is resistant to being broken apart.
The term rhizome is taken from botany again via anthropologist Gregory Bateson , but it is not limited to the vegetative. Examples of the rhizome include: pack animals, hive insects, human-virus relations, and at one point, the music of Glenn Gould.
Anthropologists have used the rhizome in ways not dissimilar to the ways that they have invoked the assemblage: as emergent systems of pure difference that are characterised by lateral, as opposed to hierarchical, relations. The rhizome is frequently invoked in discussions of globalization, particularly as it interacts with other complex systems such as biology, ecology, and demographic representational regimes see, e. In contrast to most anthropological discussions of the assemblage, though, many authors working on rhizomic arrangements have noted that it has a relationship with other organizational modes that exceed mere opposition.
Deleuze and Guattari state that the rhizomes at times become arboreal: if sufficient pressures are placed upon a rhizome, or sufficient cuts administered to it, rhizomes will in effect become trees, with an internal hierarchy controlling the way the rhizome can spread, and the internal organizational logic of its constituent nodes. As it appears in anthropology, various bureaucratic or top-down processes are quite deft in this sort of pruning. An example of this is the almost cosmic-inflation level of growth in discussions of affects in anthropology.
Interest in affect, particularly as a force that has a special relation with late-capitalist and neoliberal forms of social organization, has been increasingly common see, e. There is some confusion in discussions of affects: for instance, there is the representational problem in using language to narrate a pre-linguistic, pre-subjective phenomenon see Bialecki forthcoming.
This second understanding, in which affect is heavily psychologised, as opposed to the Spinoza-influenced Deleuzian reading of affect as a force that either dilates or contracts human capacities at any single moment, has muddied the conceptual waters, as these are actually quite different phenomena see Schaefer This failure to specify has meant that elements of a very American psychological subjectivity can be found in many discussions of what purports to be a pre-subjective, pre-linguistic affective register.
This piece, which seems to have grasped presciently much of the first-world present, has been well received, particularly by anthropologists interested in deploying Foucauldian concepts of discipline and biopower to contemporary neoliberal societies see, e. These discussions, which often also invoke the language of becoming, have been particularly fruitful when addressing creative endeavors see Pandian Others have highlighted the clashing constituent elements of Deleuzian temporality, with cyclic temporalities of habit, a temporality of continual fissure with the present already yet continually being sundered into the past and future or, to put it differently, the present always consisting entirety and only of the past and of the future , and a disruptive temporality of the event which consists of series of breaks with extant states of affairs see Williams ; see also Bialecki Like temporality, virtuality is another Deleuzian conceptual tool that has received more rigorous amounts of attention.
For Deleuze, the virtual is a concept that is meant to replace the possible. The problem with the possible is that it seems to be indicating states of affairs that were already complete, but simply lacking reality. This makes the possible, in essence, a static lack. Instead, Deleuze wanted to underscore the virtual as something that is real, albeit in way different from more conventional modes of existence.
Rather than lacking existence, the virtual is an extant, open set of potentials that are always ready to be actualised. But the actualization of some virtual form may look quite different in different places and different times. This is not only because the actualizations may happen in different places and different times, and thus be part of different ecologies of sense.
It is also because the virtual can be actualised in different manners, through using different material. Rather, the virtual could be thought of as a series of variables set in a determinate relation to one another, or, as Deleuze put it, a series of multiplicities that are effectively topological, and thus capable of quite different instantiations, in the same way that a donut and a coffee cup are both actualizations of a torus, a purely mathematical entity.
Again, there are several ways to understand what Deleuze meant by this discussion of virtuality. It is clear that the virtual included the conceptual, or at least involves it. To some, this makes the virtual in effect ideational, or at least a prelude to the experience of thinking particular thoughts. For others, though, this suggests that virtuality is a way to speak not merely of human ideational processes, but of all phenomenon Delanda The open nature of the concept of the virtual has again catalyzed different anthropological uses of it as a core idea.
Virtuality and the virtual is also being used by anthropologists to account for variation and difference without having to adopt pure nominalism that is, a mode of thought characterised by the rejection of universalisms and abstractions; see Bialecki This includes using virtuality to think of the sort of variation and potential inherent in either a particular practice or a mode of religiosity Bialecki , or variation that results when similar abstract forms or operations are expressed in different material Bialecki Another use of virtuality is to account for the effectiveness of religious and ritual practice.
Gilles Deleuze's philosophy is commonly characterised as materialist and atheistic. It exhibits a recurrent commitment to unleashing philosophy from its historical. Despite the ever-expanding body of Deleuzian scholarship, single volume has explored the religious dimensions of Delueze's writing. Now, Mary Bryden has.
The claim here is that much of ritual and religious activity can be understood as an attempt to work back to the virtual through practice or sensual experience instead of thought, and thus open up ethical, social, or even ontological possibilities that are currently blocked by the arrangement of the current state of affairs see, e. It has also been proposed that the engine of religion, if we can speak of such a thing, lies in a virtual pliability found in modes of religiosity that allows for it to take on an infinite number of expressions, all with different material entailments and therefore different effects as they combine with other assemblages Bialecki b, This conversation does not exhaust discussions of Deleuze in anthropology.
While shot through with a host of self-invented or repurposed terminology, the logic of each of these terms resonates with each other. The second aspect of the pattern is that anthropology has, for the most part, had a cafeteria approach to Deleuze, taking just an element or two that is to their liking, rather than the whole set of mechanisms. This has created an interesting phenomenon.
Both assessments may be right. This may be for the best: Deleuze, interested in creativity, would honor sly theft over dutiful exegesis. But while such redeployments may be fruitful, they also run the risk of being glib, or of not even understanding how the pilfered tools work at all. It remains to be seen which anthropological borrowings of Deleuze are the pollinated flower, which uses some alien presence to perpetuate its own being, and which borrowings are the wasp, pointlessly copulating with an alien other due to an act of complete misrecognition.
The author would like to both thank and lay blameless Ian Lowrie and Razvan Amironesei for their contributions on some technical matters.
The author, of course, owns all breaks from the image of thought. Ahmad, A. Everyday conversions: Islam, domestic work, and South Asian migrant women in Kuwait. Durham, N. The signature of the world or, what is Deleuze and Guattari's philosophy? New York: Continuum. Althusser, L. Lenin and philosophy and other essays. New York: Monthly Review Press. Ansell-Pearson, K. Germinal life: the difference and repetition of Deleuze. London: Routledge. Badiou, A. S aint Paul: the foundations of universalism trans.
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