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Deleuze - Gilles What is a Dispositif

Deleuze - Gilles What is a Dispositif

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one
What
ts
a
dispositifs?
GillesDeleuze
Foucault'sphilosophyisofienpresentedasananalysisofconcretesocialapparatuses
[disposit.ifi
J.
Butwhatisa
dispositift
10
thefirstinstaneeitisatangle,amultilinearensemble.I
t
iscomposedoflines,eachhavingadifferentnature.Andthelinesintheapparatusdonotoutlineorsurroundsystemswhichareeachhomogeneousintheirownright,object,subject,language,andsoon,bu
t
followdirections,tracebalanceswhicharealwaysoffbalance,nowdrawingtogetherandthendistancingthemselvesfromoneanother.Eachlineisbrokenandsubjectto
changesindirection,
bifurcatingandforked,andsubjectto
drifting.
Visibleobjects,affirmationswhichcanbeformulated,forcesexercisedandsubjectsinpositionarelikevectorsandtensors.ThusthethreemajoraspectswhichFoucaultsuccessivelydistinguishes,Knowledge,PowerandSubjectivityarebynomeanscontoursgivenonceandforall,butseriesofvariableswhichsupplantoneanother.
It
isalwaysinacrisisthatFoucaultdiscoversnewdimensions,newlines.Greatthinkersaresomewhatseismic;theydonotevolvebutproceedbymeansofcrisis,infitsandstarts.Thinking
in
termsofmovinglineswastheprocessputforwardbyHermanMelville,andthisinvolvedfishinglinesandlinesofdescentwhichcouldbedangerous,evenfatal.Foucaulttalkedoflinesofsedimentationbutalsooflinesof'breakage'andof'fracture'.
Untanglingthese
lineswithinasocialapparatusis,ineachease,likedrawingupamap,doingcartography,surveyingunknownland-&capes,.andthisiswhathecalls'workingontheground'.Onehastopositiononeselfontheselinesthemselves,theselines.whichdonotjustmakeupthesocialappara[llsbutrunthrough
it
andpullatit,fromNorthtoSouth,from
East
toWest,ordiagonaUy.Thefirsttwodirnensionsofasocialapparatus
!dilpositifJ-
orthosetowhich
Tm:fJJlmct'1llbU~
"There
~s,
in
Engl.i$_h,
no:$l:!',ilig,hrforw;!rd
w
3)'
of
u'U·.I.d:llLing
di1pruii.if.
me
i.mplieA1ioJ'i:!i
of
whicharedeveloped
in.
this
rhapicr,
J
have
used
rbetc-rms'SlX1i11_1pparatus'or'apparatus'
:ill:!;
theclosest
available-
~uilt.;ll~nL
159
 
GillesDeleuz8
Foucaultdrawsourattentioninthefirstinstance-arecurvesofvisibilityandcurvesofenunciation.TheapparatusesarelikeRaymondRoussel'smachines,suchasFoucaultanalysesthem;theyaremachineswhichmakeoneseeandspeak.Visibilirycannotbetracedhacktoa.generalsourceoflightwhichcouldbesaid
[0
falluponpre-existingobjects:itismadeoflinesoflightwhichformvariableshapesinseparablefromtheapparatusinq
uesrion,
Eachapparatushas
irs
wayofstructuringlight,thewayinwhichilfalls,blursanddisperses,distributingthevisibleandtheinvisible,givingbirthtoobjectswhicharcdependenton
it
fortheirexistence,andcausingthem
[0
disappear.Thisisthecasenotonlyforpaintingbutalsoforarchitecture:likethe'prisonapparatus'asanopticalmachine,usedforseeingwithoutbeingseen.Ifapparatuseshaveahistoricalnature,thisis
[0
befoundinregimesoflight,butalsoinregimesofenunciation.Affirmations
[mondsj
inturncanbetracedback
to
linesofenunciationoverwhichthedifferentialpositionsoftheirelementsaredis-rributed;and,ifthecuryesarethemselvesaffirmations
Imondsj,
rhisisbecause
tnol'lcCS
arecurveswhichdistributevariablesandbecauseascience,
a!
agiv'enmoment,oraliterarygenre,
OT
astateoflaw,ora.socialmovement,canbedefinedpreciselybytheregimesofenunciations
to
whichtheygiverise.Theyareneithersubjectsnorobjects,butregimeswhichmust
be
definedfromthepointofviewofthevisibleandfromthepointofviewofthatwhichcanbeenunciated,withthedrifting,rransforrnationsandmutationswhichthiswillimply.Andineveryapparatus
ldisposilifJ
thelinesbreakthroughthresholds.accordingrowhichtheymighthavebeenseenasaesthetic,scientific,political,andsoon.
Thi
rd!y,asocialapparatus
IdispositifJ
consistsoflinesofforce.I[couldbesaidthattheyproceedfromoneuniquepointtoanotherintheprecedinglines;inawaythey'reaify'theprecedingcurves,theydrawtangents,fillinthespacebetweenonelineandanother,actingasgo-betweensbetweenseeingandsa.yingandviceversa,actingasarrowswhichcontinuallycrossbetweenwordsandthings,constantlywagingbattlebetween[hem.Thelineofforcecomesabout'inanyrelationshipbetweenonepointandanother',andpassesthrougheveryareaintheapparatus.Thoughinvisibleandunsayable,itiscloselyknittedinwiththeothers.yetseparable,Itisthese
I
inesthatFoucaultisinterestedintracing.andhefindstheirtrajectoryinRoussel,Brisset,andinthepaintersMagrineandRebeyrolle.Thisisthe'dimensionofpower',andpoweristhethirddimensionofspace,internal
10
rileapparatus,variableto.theappararus.
J
tisformed,likepower,outofknowledge
IsallOir).
Finally,Foucaultdiscoveredlinesofsubjectification.Thisnewdimensionhasalreadygivenrise
to
misunderstandings,thereasonsforwhicharehardtoseeinpreciseterms.Morethananythingelse,thediscoveryofthisnewdimensionaroseoutofacrisisinFoucault'sthought,asifithadbecomenecessaryforhimtoredrawthemapofsocialapparatuses
Idispositifi],
[0
find160
WML
isa
disposi
[if?forthemaneworientationinordertostopthemfrombecominglockedinto.unbreakablelinesofforcewhichwouldimposedefinitivecontours.Leibnizgaveexernplaryexpressiontothisstateofcrisiswhichsetsthoughtonthemoveagainwhenonethinksaresolutionhasbeenfeund:wethoughtwewereinpan,butwewerecastbackoutintotheopensea..Foucault,forhisparr,wasconcernedthatthesocialappararuses
[disposilifiJ
whichhewasanalysingshouldnotbecircumscribedbyanenvelopingline,unlessothervectorscouldbeseenaspassingaboveorbelowit.Maybeheisusingtheterm'breakingtheline'inthesenseof'bypassingit'.Thisbypassingofthelineofforcesiswhathappenswhenit(urnsoni[self,meanders,growsobscureandgoesunderground-orratherwhenmeforce,insteadofenteringintoalinearrelationshipwithanotherforce,rumsbackonitself.worksonitselforaffectsitself.Thisdimen-sionoftheSelfisbynomeansapre-existingdeterminationwhichonefindsready-made.Hereagain,alineofsubjectificationisaprocess,aproductionofsubjectivityinasocialapparatus
[dispositifl:
ithastobemade,inasmuchastheapparatusallowsittocomeintobeingorrnakesitpossible.Irisa
I
ineofescape.
It
escapesprecedinglinesandescapesji-omitself.TheSelfisneitherknowledgenorpower.
It
isaprocessofindividuationwhichbearsongroupsandonpeople,andissubtractedfromthepowerrelationswhicharcestablishedasconstitutingformsofknowledge
[savoirs]:
asonofsurplus-value.
If
isnotcertainthatallsocialappararuses
[dispo!itift
J
comprisethese,FoucaultdesignatestheAtheniancityasthefirstplaceinwhichsubjecrifica-tionwasinvented:thisisbecauseitis,accordingtotheoriginaldefinitionwhichhegives
to
it,the
ciry
whichinventedthelineofforceswhichrunsthroughthe
rivalryoffr{!emen.
Now,fromthislinewhichmakes
it
possibleforonefreeman
to
commandothers,averydifferent
one
branchesoffwhichhasitthat
(I
rnanwhocommandsfreemenhastobeseenasamasterofhimself.Itistheseoptionalrulesofself-masterywhichconstitutesubiectificarion,andthisisautonornouscevenifitissubsequentlycalledupon
[0
inspirenewpowers.Onemightwonderiftheselines
of
subjecrificariondenotformtheextremeboundaryofasocialapparatus
Id£sposi:ifJ,
and
if
perhapstheysketchthemovementofoneapparatus
to
another,inthissensepreparingfor'linesoffracture'.Andlinesofsubjectificationhavenogeneral
[ormula,
anymorethantheotherlines.Thoughcruellyinterrupted,Foucault'sresearchwouldhaveshownthatprocessesofsubjecrificationcouldtakeonquitedifferentformsfromtheGreekmode:ferexampleinChristiansocia
I
apparamses
Idispositifi
1
inmodernsocieties,andsoon.Canonenotthinkofappararuseswheresubjecrifica-liondoesnotcomeaboutthrougharistocraticlifeortheaesthcticisedexistenceofthefreeman,butthrough[hemarginalisedexistenceofthe'outsider'?ThustheSinologistTckerexplainshowtheliberatedslavesomehowlosthissocialstatusandfoundhimselfthrownbackonanisolated,lamenting,.t:it'giacexist-ence,ourofwhichhewastoshapenewformsofpowerandknowledge.The161
 
GillesDeleuz.o
studyofthevariationsintheprocessofsubjectificationseems
to
beoneofthefundamentaltaskswhichFoucaultlefttothosewhowouldfollQWhim.Ibelievethatthereisgrearfecundityinthisformofresearchandthatcurrentprojectsconcerningahistoryofprivatelifeonlypartiallycoverit.Thecreatorsofsubjecrivirycansometimes
be
thenobles,thosewho,accordingtoNietzsche,say'wethegood....',butindifferentconditionstheyarctheexcluded,thebad,thesinners,the:hermits,ormonasticcommunities,orheretics:awholetypologyofsubjectiveformaricnsinamovingapparatus.Andeverywheretherearcmix-upstosortout:theproductionsofsubjectivityescapefromthepowersandtheformsofknowledge
[sauDirs
ofonesocialapparatus
!dispositifl
inordertobereinsertedinanother,
III
formswhichareyettocomeintobeing.Theseapparatuses,then,arecomposedofthefollowingdements:linesofvisibilityandenunciation,linesofforce,linesofsubjectificarion,linesofsplit-ting,breakage,fracture,allofwhichcriss-crossandmingletogether,somelinesreproducingorgivingriseroothers,bymeansofvariationsorevenchangesinthewaytheyaregrouped.Twoimportantconsequencesariseforaphilosophyofsocia
I
apparatuses
[dupruitijS].
The
Ii
rstoftheseistherepudia-tionofuniversals,Theuniversal,infact,explainsnothing;itistheuniversalwhichneedstobeexplained.Allthelinesarelinesofvariation,whichdonotevenhaveconstantco-ordinates.TheOne,theAll,theTrue,theobject,[hesubjectarenotuniversals,butsingularprocesses-ofunification.totalisation,verification,objectivetion,subjectification-presem
in
thegivenappararus.Alsoeachapparatusisamultiplicity
j
nwhichoperateprocessesofthisnaturestillinformation,distinctfromthoseoperatinginanother.
It
isinthissense[hatFoucault'sphilosophycanbereferredtoaspragmatism,funcrionalism,positivism,pluralism,PerhapsitisReasonwhichposesthegreatestproblembecausetheprocessesofrationalisationcanoperateonsegmentsoronregionsofalllinesunderconsideration,Foucaultpays
homageto
Nietzscheregardingthehistoricalnatureofreason;andhesuggeststheimportanceofepistemo-logicalresearchonthedifferentformsofrationalityinknowledge
IlsalIOirl
(Koyre,.Bachelard,Canguilhem)andofsociopoliticalresearchintomodesofrationality
in
power(Mall;Weber).Perhapshewasreservingthethirdlineforhimself:thestudyofrypesof'reasonableness'insubjectshewasdealingwith.BurwhatheesseauallyrefusesistheidentificationofthisprocesswithReason
parexcdlenu.
Hechallengesanyattempt.
[0
restoreuniversalsinreflection,cornmunicationorconsensus,Onemightsayinthisrespectthathisrelationswith[heFrankfurtSchoolandthesuccessorsofthisschoolwereaseriesofmisunderstandingsforwhichhewasnorresponsible.And,justashedoesnotadmitofauniversalityinafoundingsubjectorinReason
parexcellence
whichwouldmake
it
possibletoJudgesocialapparatuses
!dispositift],
healsodoesnotadmitofuniversalsofcatastropheinwhichreasonbecomesalienatedandcollapsesonceandforali.AsFoucaultsaid
[0
Ge.rardRaulet,thereisnota
162
What
is
a
dispositif?bifurcationinreason,yetreasonis
[orever
bifurcating;thereare
3.S
manybifurcationsandbranchingsastherearefoundations,asmanycollapsesasthereareconstructionsfollowingthebreaksbroughtaboutbytheapparatus,and'thereisnosenseinth~propositionsaccordingtowhichreasonisalongnarrativewhichhasnowcometoanend'.FromthisP.ointofview,thequestionraisedinobjection
to
Foucault-thequestionas
to
howtherelativevalueofasocialapparatus
[dirposirifl
canbeassessedifonecannotevoketranscendentalvaluesbywayofuniversalco-ordinates-isaquestionwhichleadsusback-wardsandwhich,initself,alsorisksmeaninglessness.Docsthismeanthatallsocialapparatuses
!di.rpositijS
J
areequallyvalid(nihilism)?
It
hasbeenalongwhilesincethinkerslikeSpinozaandNietzschefirstbegantoshowthatmodesofexistencehavetobeassessedaccordingtoimmanentcriteria,accord-ingtotheircontentof'possibilities',
I
ibertyorcreativity,withoutanyappealtotranscendentalvalues.Foucaultevenmakesallusionto'aesthetic'criteria,whichareunderstoodascriteriaforLifeandreplaceoneachoccasiontheclaimsoftranscendentaljudgementwithanimrnanenteva]
uation,
WhenwereadFou-cault'slastbooks,wehavetodoourbesttounderstnndtheprogrammewhichheisplacinginfrontofhisreaders.Couldthisbetheintrinsicaestheticofmodesofexistenceastheultimatedimensionofsocialapparatuses
IdispositijS)?
Thesecondconsequenceofaphilosophyofsocial3ppararuses
[di.;-pOSitlfiJ
is
achangeinorientationwhichturnsone'sinterestawayfromtheEternalandtowardsthenew.Thenewisnotsupposedtomeanthesameasthefashion-ablebut,onthecontrary,thevariablecreativitywhicharisesoutofsocialapparatuses
!disposiJijSj.
Thisfitsinwiththequestionwhichbegan
to
beaskedin[herwentierhcenturyas
to
howtheproductionofsomethingnewintheworldmightbepossible.
It
istruethat,throughouthistheoryofenunciation,Foucaultexplicitlyimpugnsthe'originality'ofan
enance
asbeingsomethingwhichisoflittlerelevanceandinterest.Allhewishestoconsideristhe'regularity'of
eflonds.
Butwhatheunderstandsbyregularityisthesweepofrhecurvewhichpassesthroughsingularpointsorthedifferel'ltialvaluesoftheensembleofenunciations
(ill
thesamewaythathedefinespowerrelationsbymeansofthedistributionofsingularelementsinasocialfield).Whenhechallengestheoriginalityofan
blond,
hemeansthatacontradictionwhichmightarisebetweentWO
cmmels
isnotenough
to
distinguishbetweenthem,ortomarkthenewnessofonewithregard
[0
theother.Whatcountsisthenewnessoftheregimeitselfinwhich[heenunciationismade,giventhatsucharegimeiscapableofcontainingcontradictory
ello'ncts.
Onemight,
for
example,askwhatregimeof
blonds
appearedwiththesocialapparatus
fdisposilifl
oftheFrenchRevolution,ortheBQlshevikRevolution:
it
isthenewnessoftheregimethatcounts,notthenewnessofthe
tnond.
Eachappararusisthusdefinedintermsofitsnewnesscontentanditscreativitycontent,thismarkingatthesametimeitsabilityrotransforrnitself,orindeed
163

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