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Deterritorializing "Deterritorialization"From the Anti-Oedipusto A Thousand Plateaus
Eugene W. Holland
EIGHT YEARS AFTER THE ANTI-OEDIPUS, the long-awaited second
volume of Capitalism and Schizophrenia appeared under the title A Thousand Plateaus. It hardly seemed to belong with the earlier volume, in one respect: the points of departure in Marx and Freud that made "capitalism and schizophrenia" a fitting rubric for the Anti-Oedipusall but disappear in A ThousandPlateaus, or rather become submerged in a far vaster field of references ranging from cell biology to botany and zoology to geology and beyond. It is nevertheless some of the connections between the two volumes that I want to explore here, by focusing on the evolution of a term crucial to them both: territorialization. One way of understanding the relation of A ThousandPlateausto the Anti-Oedipusis to imagine Deleuze and Guattari setting out to "deconstruct" in the second volume any binary oppositions left standing at the end of the first. Not that Deleuze and Guattari are beholden to Derrida in this respect: schizoanalytic "deconstruction" (if it can be called that) derives from the unconscious logic of non-global connection and inclusive disjunction, as specified in the Anti-Oedipus.2 The connective synthesis produces not the closed binary couple, "this and that" but rather an open-ended series "this and then that and then this...." Inclusive disjunction, similarly, generates not the closed binary alternative "either this or that" but an open-ended series of alternatives, "this or that or this...." Thus where Derrida re-writes a binary opposition such as speech versus writing in terms of a single, broader Deleuze and Guattari instead "non-concept" like "writing" ("arche-trace"), closure terms. The binary pair defy binary by multiplying molar/molecular from the Anti-Oedipus,for example, is re-written in A ThousandPlateausin terms of varying degrees of segmentarity (from rigid to supple) and in connection with yet another term, the line-of-flight. Despotic over-codingand civilized de-codingare re-written in terms of signifying and post-signifyingregimes,which exist alongside pre-signifying and counter-signifying regimes. An opposition fundamental to the AntiOedipus-paranoia versus schizophrenia-is re-located in A Thousand
Eugene Eugene W. Holland
Plateaus on the body-without-organs, of which there are now at least three different kinds, and so forth. The Anti-Oedipusof course had its own way of undermining the binary opposition of paranoiaversus schizophrenia: it a mode of discourse was that and at the performed paranoid schizophrenic same time. That wasn't easy: paranoia and schizophrenia occupy opposite ends of the social and libidinal spectrum in the Anti-Oedipus:paranoia designates the despotic over-coding of power that imposes its absolute standard of value on individuals and social forms alike, whereas schizophrenia designates the freeing of desire and social production from the constraints of any coding whatsoever, and their release into the affirmative improvisation of "permanent revolution." Thus the "paranoid tendencies" of style in the Anti-Oedipuslinked Marx and Nietzsche with the data of anthropology and a critique of Freud and Lacan to produce a kind of revolutionary unified field theory for the human sciences, while at the same time the "schizoid tendencies" of the text reduced such an apparently all-encompassing argument to flights of surreal imagery and schizophrenic word salad - from which it is difficult (if not intentionally impossible) to draw any definitive conclusions.3 Yet the Anti-Oedipusretained features of the traditional "book" whose arborescence A Thousand Plateausopposes in the name of the rhizome: it was still fundamentally linear, organized in chapters which moved from individual psychology (the desiring machines), through a critique of the nuclear "holy family" of capitalism and psychoanalysis, to a typology of socio-libidinal modes of production (savagery, despotism, capitalism), and concluded with a definition and program for schizoanalysis. In A Thousand Plateaus,discursive innovation affects the work's organization more than its style. To be sure, conceptual "argument" is eschewed, as in the AntiOedipus,in favor of images such as "faciality,""smooth" versus "striated" space, and so forth: these non-concepts are strategically "under-determined" so that their understanding and extension to other domains requires the invention of novel connections rather than the mere application of a pre-established rule.4 More striking still, however, is the willful alinearity of the text.5 In pursuing the binary oppositions left standing at the end of the Anti-Oedipus,the aim of a plateau is not just to multiply terminology, but to keep "deconstructing/multiplying" a given set of terms until a point is reached at which they intersect with terms coming from deconstructions on other plateaus, without ever collapsing into or becoming identical with them. Such intersections will form a rhizome, in the middle, in between. This procesomething that develops "aumilieu": dure is what gives A Thousand Plateausits characteristicshape: more or less
focused analysis on each plateau, but with the connections among plateaus and the consistency of terminology across the plateaus very much a matter of conjecture (although the conclusion does map one possible set of connections among terms and plateaus). It also contributes to the difficulty of discussing a single term in isolation from others, a tack which space limitations nonetheless constrain us to here. With that difficulty in mind, we can trace the evolution of the notion of "deterritorialization"from the AntiPlateaus. Oedipusto A Thousand
Deterritorialization in the Anti-Oedipus In the Anti-Oedipus, deterritorialization and its opposite, "reterritorialization," are comparatively circumscribed terms, with a very specific job to do. Derived initially from Lacanian psychoanalysis, they function as a kind of hinge-term to connect Marx and Freud, to articulate the concepts of libido and labor-power. For Lacan, "territorialization" refers to the imprint of maternal nourishment and care-giving on the child's libido, a process which creates charged erogenous zones and objects out of organs and orifices. For Deleuze and Guattari, conversely, "deterritorialization" in the psychological register designates the freeing of "schizophrenic" libido from pre-established objects of investment: from the Mother's breast, for instance, or from the family triangle of the Oedipus complex. At the same time, but in the social register, it designates the freeing of labor-power from the seigneurial plot of land, the assembly line, or other means of production. Deleuze and Guattari thus rewrite the process Marx called "primitive accumulation" in terms of territorialization: with the emergence of capitalism in England (when the Enclosure Acts privatized common land for sheep grazing), peasants were deterritorialized from the land only to be reterritorialized onto textile looms in the nascent garment industry. In line with this dual-register use of the notion of territorialization, schizoanalysis expands the field of the libidinal to include the investment of human energy of any kind: perceptual and physical, cognitive and productive, desire and work. Capitalism, however, is not the only mode of socio-libidinal production that deterritorializes; all power societies do so. Despotism deterritorializes by forcibly transferring the focus of desire and production from local territories to the transcendent figure of the despot; representatives and representations of the despot prosecute such transference by overcoding the local codes of "savagery" and re-directing them in his favor.
Eugene Eugene W. Holland
(Despotic Christianity, for instance, over-codes ritual pagan observances of the winter solstice and the vernal equinox with celebrations of Christ's birth and resurrection.) Capitalism differs from despotic power society in that it is an economic power society: it deterritorializes not by over-coding via representation, but by de-coding representation altogether-by substituting a calculus of abstract quantities for the codes and over-codes that defined concrete qualities under savagery and despotism.6 Instead of over-coding, capitalism axiomatizes: it joins the deterritorialized and de-coded flow of pure liquid wealth (invested as capital in a means of production) with another deterritorialized and de-coded flow: pure labor-power disciplined or "skilled" to match its given task on the assembly line or in some other manufacturing process. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall will then force the addition of more axioms: production processes are continually transformed by the input of technical information from the hard sciences. Crises of over-production will force the addition of still other axioms: consumer preferences are continually transformed by advertising so that consumption is reterritorialized onto the pre-existing commodities, thereby realizing profit on invested capital. In this context, reterritorializationis the "dead hand of the past," as Marx said, "that weighs upon the living..." The "constant revolutionizing of production [and] uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions" that for Marx "distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones"7 entail perpetual cycles of divestment and re-investment: capital is extracted here (the Rust Belt, the United States) and re-invested there (the South, the Pacific Rim); specific labor skills are valorized here and now, only to become worthless a few years later; consumer taste is programmed to suit the commodities of one production cycle, then de-programmed and re-programmed for the next. On this account, deterritorialization looked "good" and reterritorialization looked "bad," inasmuch as deterritorialization designated the motor of permanent revolution, while reterritorialization designated the power relations imposed by the private ownership of capital. Libidinally and economically productive investment was tied down against the flow of deterritorialization to pre-existing capital-stock in order to realize profit on previous investments; reterritorialization thus appeared as the dead hand of the past, weighing down upon the deterritorializations of the future. Hence the "celebration"in the Anti-Oedipusof schizophrenia as the movement of permanent revolution freed from power relations.8
The Expansion of Deterritorialization in A Thousand Plateaus But in A ThousandPlateaus,both de- and re-territorializationappear in a very different light. Their last traces of humanism and even anthropocentrism have disappeared; the terms are now extended far beyond the sphere of human history and psychodynamics to characterize everything from geological sedimentation, to what used to be called "symbiosis" between species, to the constitution of protein chains within the genetic code. (The first signs of such an expansion of deterritorialization are already evident in the study of Kafka that Deleuze and Guattari published in the time between the appearance of Volume I and Volume II of and Schizophrenia.)9 Capitalism Of particular interest is the fact that the opposition between deterritorialization and reterritorialization no longer registers the interplay of social forces (such as permanent revolution and private appropriation) as it did in the Anti-Oedipus.Instead, deterritorialization involves a "doublebecoming," where one deterritorialized element serves as a new territory for another deterritorialized element (and "the least deterritorialized [element] reterritorializes on the most deterritorialized") (174). De- and re-territorialization are thus considered immanent to the diverse semiotic processes themselves-not imposed from without, as catatonia was imposed on the schizophrenic by the institution of psychiatry, according to the Anti-Oedipus.The black hole of the catatonic is now considered to be a danger inherent in the process of schizophrenia, and deterritorialization and the body-without-organs are considered to have similarly inherent dangers. The binary opposition privileging schizophrenia over paranoia in the Anti-Oedipusno longer holds in A Thousand Plateaus. The oppositions between over-coding/paranoia and deare in A re-written Thousand Plateaus as the difcoding/schizophrenia ference between two regimes of signs, the signifying and the post-signifying, and two regimes of faciality (two distinct white-wall/black-hole systems), the full-face and the averted-face. For the most part, the signifying regimeretains the over-coding and paranoia of despotism, as per the AntiOedipus;it is now also characterized as a regime of "full faciality," wherein the face of the despot (Christ, the White Man) over-codes the primitive body. What is new is the post-signifyingregime, characterized not by decoding and schizophrenia, but by "subjectification"/"subjection"and the "averted face." Whereas the transcendental signifier of the despot imposes stable meaning from the center of a signifying regime, meaning in postsignifying regimes is instead forever open to subjective interpretation: the
Eugene Eugene W. Holland
despot has turned his face away, the center no longer holds, no transcendental signifier reigns supreme. The problem here is that, without the guarantees and prospect of completion once promised by a centered, fully signifying regime, interpretation is pointless-and yet it continues unabated, ad infinitum:post-signifying regimes (to paraphrase Deleuze and Guattari, p.117) promote endless "interpretosis"in a vacuum.
Subjectivity as a Black Hole, Social Existence as a Blank Wall Let us try out some of this new terminology in construing post-revolutionary France as an instance of post-signifying faciality with a mixed regime of (despotic) significance and (modern) subjectification.10The beheading of Louis XVI deprives France of its despotic face, while the elimination of feudal privilege and the Declarationdes droits de l'homme posit the formal equality of French citizen-subjects. In this context, where heterogeneous populations enter into increasing contact with one another de and the "tableau in the modem city, genres such as the "physiognomies" Paris" emerge in an attempt to map and make sense of the increasingly complex and ill-defined social topography of the French people. These genres install or inhabit a regime of "signifying-subjectification,"in which meaning is generated from the confrontation of an anonymous and autonomous subject with random scenes of city life. A purely "signifying" regime was no longer possible: social structure was no longer distinguished topographically (based on land-ownership or centered on Versailles), but mixed indiscriminately (under the impact of the market), so that city contacts become haphazard; the observing subject, meanwhile, was not officially authorized, but appeared rather as an "everyman." These genres appear transformed in the serial-realist novels of a Balzac, where the city of Paris is not just personified, but facialized: the Balzacian novel pits the black hole of personal ambition against the white wall of nascent capitalist social relations. This is a post-signifying discourse no longer sanctioned by a transcendent central power, but normalized by the immanent adequation of a subject and reality, wherein each supports the other. The authority of the narrating subject derives from successfully making "meaningful" statements about reality; the reality of observed scenes derives from the documentary experience of the itinerant writer.11 Balzac first becomes an "authorized" realist because of his success as a commercial author writing for the market, in depicting the successes and
failures of other citizen-subjects negotiating market society, not by any decree of the king, his court, or the Academie Franqaise. In his take-off on the tableaude Paris genre ('Tableaux Parisiens" in Les Fleursdu Mal), Baudelaire puts such normalized realist discourse to flight. Even while placing moderist poetry in close contact with the modern city, Baudelaire works both to deny discursive mastery of the real and to subvert the subject of desire. In the poems of the "diurnal" cycle, the urban fidneur appears lost and mystified amidst the teeming cityscapes he encounters, unable to derive stable meaning from them. In the poems of the "nocturnal" cycle, conversely, the urban night-owl feverishly evokes scenes of lust and passion in a vain attempt to re-kindle his own worldweary desire.12 Taken to the extreme, each of these tendencies courts serious danger: desperate interpretation bounces off the blank wall of the meaningless city, relegating the flineur to private interiority ("Le Cygne," "Les Sept Vieillards"). Monadic subjectivity itself, in turn, disappears into the black hole of hopeless desire whose only true end is death ("Danse Macabre," "Reve Parisien"). The last poem of the nocturnal cycle, however, stages the perpetual re-awakening of the city in the absence of any observing subject: the eventfree imperfect tense and the elimination of the first-person pronoun transform the tableaude Paris and normalized-realist narrative into a "plane of consistency" where anything could happen to anyone because nothing yet has and no one is there. In the "Tableaux Parisiens," as glossed by Mallarme, "rien n'a eu lieu que le lieu" ("nothing has taken place but the place"). This transformation sets the stage for the final poem of Les Fleurs du Mal, "Le Voyage" (which appears for the first time, like the 'Tableaux Parisiens", in the significantly revised second edition of the collection). Here the blank wall of meaningless experience and the black hole of tragic subjectivity are both left far behind, as an indeterminate "we" of collective enunciation embarks on a voyage "to plumb the depths of the unknown in search of the new." The post-signifying regime of subjectification thus still struggles with an after-image of the regime of significance in the figure of some (absent) guarantor or guarantee of stable meaning, its only resource and solace being the delusion of individual subjectivity. Desire is either blocked, as by the meaninglessness of existence in the Sartrean "Absurd," bouncing off the blank wall back onto the desolate subject; or surrendered, as in the Lacanian metonymy of desire for the lost object, falling into the black hole of tragic subjectivity ... OR (recall the importance of the third, fourth, nth term in an inclusive series) ... or it refuses both extremes (and the ex-
Eugene W. Holland Eugene
clusive disjunction promoting them as the only alternatives), re-surfaces from the black hole of subjectivity to inscribe or pierce the blank wall of social existence, forms a rhizome of collective enunciation, criss-crosses the deterritorialized earth on an endless voyage of exploration and discovery.
Deterritorialization in Signifying and Post-Signifying Regimes A ThousandPlateausthus distinguishes among three kinds or degrees of deterritorialization with respect to regimes of signs and faciality: (1) Signifying regimes are characterized by merely relative deterritorialization, for although discourse can be produced endlessly, it is only assigned meaning by the despot or his priests, always pinned to the white wall of the despot's face. (2) Deterritorialization becomes absolute in post-signifying regimes with an averted face, inasmuch as there is no common measure by which to compare and judge subjective interpretations;it remains negativeinsofar as interpretation ultimately leads to the unproductive black hole of "just one man's opinion". (3) Deterritorialization becomes absoluteand positive only when the search for meaning is abandoned in favor of experimentation, and when such experimentation intersects and connects with the experiments of others in a depersonalized, collective form of enunciation, such as is sug13 gested by the indeterminate "we" of Baudelaire's final "Voyage".3 We are clearly quite far from the notion of deterritorialization as it appeared in the Anti-Oedipus, where the term designated "merely" the revolutionary potential of human history, as opposed to reterritorialization as the "dead hand of the past." This is partly because the plateau we have been considering ("On Several Regimes of Signs") explicitly eschews history, presenting instead an abstract typology of sign regimes. Post-signifying subjectification may well describe, say, romanticism at the fall of the ancien regime,but it characterizes equally well the Protestant Reformation, the Jewish exodus from Egypt, and so forth. This is not to say, however, that the focus on history (and even an insistence on universal history), which distinguishes Deleuze and Guattari from so much poststructuralism Plateaus.On the contrary, there is today, is suddenly gone from A Thousand continued reflection on history, which is unavoidably the history "of" capitalism-i.e. history as it is produced and defined by capital: as the inexorable spread of the market worldwide. "There is only one world
market," Deleuze and Guatarri insist: "the capitalist one" (455), in relation to which the various kinds of State (ex-"socialist" ones as well as ex"liberal-democratic" ones, and dependent neo-colonial as well as revolutionary post-colonial states) merely serve as so many different "models of realization" of capitalist axioms. The two moments of territorialization which the Anti-Oedipusgrounded in the dynamic of capital expansion are now re-distributed over, on one hand, trans-national capital as locus of high-speed deterritorialization and, on the other hand, various forms of State as loci of reterritorialization.
Beyond Post-Signifying Subjectification It is in this connection (among others) that a new-found caution-a kind of "post-anti-humanism"-intervenes in A Thousand Plateaus to qualify the former anti-Oedipal enthusiasm for the para-personal, the molecular, the schizophrenic. "Itis time once again," they say at one point, "to multiply practical warnings" (188). For the new post- signifying regime of subjectification appears to be alreadyon the wane, its mode of subjection to classical market capitalism being replaced by an even newer mode of "machinic enslavement" to the axioms of advanced monopoly capitalism which bypasses subjectivity altogether. Market research these days-commercial and political alike-no longer bothers to interview sample subjects for their personal responses to test ads; instead it hooks up machines to measure galvanic skin response, pupil dilation, and heart rate. Conscious, subjective responses become increasingly irrelevant as the axioms of highspeed capital plug more and more directly into the body and the unconscious, creating ever-new artificial organs to respond to the objects it has produced to satisfy them (temporarily). In this light, some degree of "reterritorialization" looks pretty good, if only for defensive purposes. As Deleuze and Guattari recommend, ... you haveto keepsmallsuppliesof signifiance if only andsubjectification, to turnthemagainsttheirown systemwhen circumstances demandit... and you have to keep smallrationsof subjectivity in sufficient to quantity enableyou to respondto thedominant reality.(160) This may sound a lot less revolutionary than the Anti-Oedipus,and perhaps it is. A ThousandPlateaus is in any case a lot less romantic. Any lingering suspicions of an earlier exaggerated or uncritical enthusiasm for "schizophrenia" should now be dispelled by the very cautious, nuanced treatment of deterritorialization and the body-without-organs. Indeed, if
Eugene W. W. Holland Holland Eugene
the rubric "capitalism and schizophrenia" no longer seems appropriate for the second volume, it is largely because schizophrenia hardly gets mentioned in A ThousandPlateaus(and doesn't appear in the English index at all). Capitalism, on the other hand, receives renewed attention as a major agency of deterritorialization, though "only" in the sphere of human history.14Here, Deleuze and Guattari evidence a combination of sheer admiration and hard-headed critical analysis of the dynamics of capitalist expansion and consolidation that in Marx would have been called "dialectical." Even considered in this respect alone, without mention of its remarkable contributions to linguistics, comparative anthropology, zoosemiotics, theories of the State, and so on, A ThousandPlateausrepresents an invaluable sequel to the Anti-Oedipus.
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1. L'Anti-Oedipe, Vol. 1 of Capitalismeet schizophrenie. (Paris: Minuit, 1972) and Schizophrenia by R. Hurley, M. Capitalism [English translation as Anti-Oedipus: et Seem, H. Lane. (New York: Viking, 1977)]; Mille Plateaux,Vol. 2 of Capitalisme A Plateaus: Thousand as translation 1980) (Paris: Minuit, schizophr6nie [English and Schizophrenia Capitalism by B. Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987)];page references to the English translations follow citations in the text and notes. (1968) and Logiquedu sens (1969) are contemporaneous with Derrida's early works and Writingand Difference (all of which apSpeechand Phenomena, Of Grammatology, peared in 1967). 3. On the role of "style" in the Anti-Oedipus,see my "The Anti-Oedipus: Postmodernism in Theory, or the post-Lacanian historical contextualization of 2 14:1 (1988)291-307. psychoanalysis," Boundary 4. In a perspective informed (like Lyotard's) by a reading of Kant, Deleuze emphasizes the distinction between free aesthetic and rule-bound rationaljudgment; see his La philosophie critiquede Kant(Paris:PUF, 1963). [English translationas Kant's CriticalPhilosophy by H. Tomlinson and B. Habberjam(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984)]. 5. Deleuze and Guattari suggest at one point that their writing is based on short-term rather than long-term memory (16), which may contribute to the book's non-linearity. (Thereis occasion to speculate here on the relation between short-term memory discourse and postmodernism.) 6. Schizoanalysis would situate deconstruction historically in relation to the processes of deterritorializationand particularlythe de-coding that accompanies it.
et repetition 2. See especiallypp.1-16,68-84,and 106-109; Deleuze's Difference
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7. See "The Communist Manifesto" in Lewis Feuer ed., Marx and Engels:Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy(Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959) pp.6-41; quotation from p.10. 8. It should be clear that this celebration had nothing to do with "the schizophrenic" as a clinical entity--whose catatonic state is blamed in the AntiOedipus on the psychiatric establishment's refusal to countenance the processof schizophrenia, as befits Guattari'slong-standing commitment to the "anti-psychiatry" movement; see esp. pp.88, 113, and 122-37. 9. Kafka: Pour une litterature mineure(Paris:Minuit, 1975). [English translationas Towarda Minor Literature Kafka: by D. Polan (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota in the special issue of TheJournal Press, 1986)];see my "Commentary" of ModernGreek Studieson "MinorLiterature"[8:1 (May 1990)] 125-33. 10. The following is based on my Baudelaire and Schizoanalysis: TheSocio-Poetics of Modernism (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press). It may not be possible to deploy Deleuze and Guattari's terminology fruitfully or convincingly in as short an essay as this; but the attempt is surely in line with their willful under-determinationof "concepts" and their advocacy of writing for short-term rather than long-term memory. 11. On normalization in post-signifying regimes see pp.129ff.;for more on Balzac along these lines, see Chapter 3 of Christopher Prendergast's The Orderof Mimesis: Balzac,Stendhal, Nerval,Flaubert (Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press, 1986). 12. On the diurnal and nocturnal cycles of the 'Tableaux Parisiens,"see Ross Chambers, 'Trois paysages urbains:Les Poemes liminaires des 'TableauxParisiens'," ModernPhilology80:4 (May 1983) 372-89;and "Are Baudelaire's 'TableauxParisiens' about Paris?" in On Referringin Literature,Issacharoff and Whiteside, eds. (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987) 95-110. 13. The best real instance of absolutely deterritorializedcollective enunciation I know of is still improvisational jazz; see my "'Introductionto the Non-Fascist Life': Deleuze and Guattari's 'Revolutionary'Semiotics," EspritCreateur XXVII:2(Summer 1987) 19-29. 14. See in particular Plateau 12 "1227: Treatise on Nomadology - The War Machine,"esp. pp.416-423;Plateau 13 "7000B.C.:Apparatus of Capture";and Plateau 14 "1440:The Smooth and the Striated,"pp.490-92.