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Deleuze and Althusser: Flirting with Structuralism
To cite this Article Stolze, Ted(1998) 'Deleuze and Althusser: Flirting with Structuralism', Rethinking Marxism, 10: 3, 51 —
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132). in 1973 appeared a remarkable essay by Deleuze on the criteria by which one might “recognize” structuralism (Deleuze 1973). A significant part of that response is now available in the Althusser Archive in the form of a letter. We were guilty of an equally powerful and uncompromising passion: we were Spinozists” (1976. we can now explain why: why we seemed to be. Althusser contended in his self-criticism that what was really most important for him was not structuralism at all but Spinoza: “If we never were structuralists. even though we were not. As a result. 126-3 l).’ Less famously. As is well known. Nonetheless. What is scarcely known.Rethinking MARXISM Volume 10. Although only in the posthumous writings do we find explicit references to Deleuze’s writings. why there came about this strange misunderstanding on the basis of which books were written. however.2 Althusser and his circle seem to have been quite favorably disposed toward certain of Deleuze’s early works (such as a 1961 essay on Lucretius and the already classic book on Nietzsche published in 1962). though. in this article my objective is simply to fill in some missing intel- . this time with Deleuze. is that Althusser’s relationship to both structuralism and Spinoza involved yet a third philosophical relationship. is Althusser’s (and Pierre Macherey’s) response to an early draft of Deleuze’s essay on structuralism.3 What remains virtually unknown. Number 3 (Fall 1998) Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 Deleuze and Althusser: Flirting with Structuralism Ted Stoke Neither Gilles Deleuze nor Louis Althusser was ever a structuralist. in 1974 Althusser famously admitted in his Elements of Self-criticism to a “flirtation” with structuralism that he viewed as a kind of repetition or reenactment of Marx’s previous flirtation with Hegel (Althusser 1976.
the conscious attempt to link the respective theoretical labors of Deleuze and Althusser marks a crucial moment in the endless struggle to persevere as a Marxist in philosophy. 3. which was originally published in 1963 and is now available in translation as Deleuze (1984). in several new anthologies devoted to Deleuze’s philosophy (whose contributions total over seventeen hundred pages and represent a wide range of international scholarship). 6. “What is existentialism?” Despite the great diversity of authors. Such a project of reclamation seems to me especially urgent today in light of the astonishing silence regarding Deleuze’s relation to Althusser.266-79) and the book on Nietzsche has been translated (Deleuze 1983).5 In February 1968 Deleuze sent a copy of this talk to Althusser to ask whether he thought it “publishable” (Deleuze 1968). but I intend to proceed otherwise here. Patton (1996). Unless I have missed a couple. see Althusser (1994a. Jacques Lacan. Roman Jakobson. Evidence of Deleuze’s influence on Althusser and his circle can be found in letters from Pierre Macherey to Althusser contained in the collection of Althusser’s papers located at the Institut MCmoires de I’fidition Contemporaine (IMEC) in Paris. Althusser was. but implicit as early as Deleuze’s book on Nietzsche. personal animosity. . 2. All translations from French are my own. For example. Deleuze’s First Draft The first draft of Deleuze’s essay on structuralism was a transcription from a tape recording of a talk given 6 December 1967. Ansell-Pearson (1997). and the Tel Quel novelists within the structuralist camp. In keeping with his general view of philosophical activity as a kind of conceptual creation: Deleuze’s interest in structuralism lies not in criticizing its shortcomings but in discerning what “new forms of thought” it makes available. and “domains. “What is structuralism?” as an echo of an older question. the only-passing-references Hardt’s contribution to the last of these anthologies (see Hardt 1998. 373). Boundas and Olkowski (1994).”~is as though It one had at all costs to protect a “good” Deleuze from keeping philosophical company with a “bad” Althusser! Whether this is the result of philosophical disagreement. for example. the question “What is structuralism?’ is better posed as “Who is a structuralist?’ or “Who are the structuralists?’ Deleuze includes Louis Althusser. of course. 4. In my view. the rest of 1. or political hostility is not for me to speculate. For example. Michel Foucault. 561-2. Thus. Deleuze opens his presentation with the question. 5. Most recently defended explicitly in Deleuze and Guattari (1994). 371.52 Stolze Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 lectual and textual history by tracing the revision of Deleuze’s essay from first draft to final publication in light of Althusser’s critical remarks on the first draft. Claude L6vi-Strauss. 82) for an inclusion of Deleuze within the “subterranean current of materialism” and Althusser (1995. referring to Marx’s famous admission that he had “coquetted” (kokettieren) with Hegelian dialectics in writing the first volume of Capital (Marx 1977. texts. See.” Deleuze contends that there is a “certain analogy” or “family resemblance” among them. The essay on Lucretius was later reprinted as an appendix (Deleuze 1990. Buchanan are in Michael (1997). indeed.335) for a reference to Deleuze’s book on Kant. and Alliez (1998a). Roland Barthes. there are but two occurrences of the proper name “Louis Alth~sser. 102-3).
in this regard Deleuze Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 . Althusser informs us that the true subjects of a society are not those who come to occupy the places. in a structural space. instead. by definition. these elements have “neither interiority nor exteriority. meaning is always “a product.” whether one is talking about politics. the symbolic criterion marks the structuralist “refusal” to be confined to the historical alternative in Western classical thought between the “categories” or “orders” of the “real” and the “imaginary. .”’ Deleuze goes on to note three implications or consequences of the symbolic and topological criteria of structure.” and “intelligible essences”.’’ There is an irreducible production. Lacan seeks behind the real father and father images a properly symbolic “name of the father.” as well as their “dialectical interplay. a result of the combination of symbolic elements which themselves have no intrinsic signification. and discusses in order. it is beyond the real and the imaginary. something deeper which he calls the symbolic order. or even theater.” Deleuze maintains that structure is distinct from “sensible forms.” Rather.” How then should these elements be defined? Deleuze’s answer is that we should define them by their “place” within a “combinatory” or “topological space” which is not a sensible.” First. Now the elements of a structure-its “symbolic elements”-refer neither to “preexisting realities” nor to “immanent imaginary content. For example. in Althusser’s writings we find the desire to seek “behind real human beings and ideologies . “every structure is.” “imaginary figures. but the places themselves.” In other words. a serial criterion. a proliferation of non-sense in the midst of what Althusser would call an “overdetermination” of meaning. art. according to Deleuze. which defines the types of society. five “basic” criteria: a symbolic criterion.” His analysis of psychoses reveals that whatever is not integrated into the symbolic order of a subject’s unconscious may well reappear in the real in a hallucinatory form. imaginary. or intelligible extension but a purely logical “intensive spatium. I should emphasize at this point that my concern here is primarily with Deleuze’s references to Althusser.” Likewise. Deleuze again transforms the question “Who are structuralists?” into “By what are structuralists recognized?” and into “What does the structuralist recognize?” This is because he wants to establish a kind of “nomenclature”-namely. A second consequence is that structuralists share a “taste” for certain games. First. the “criteria” by which structuralism and structuralists can be recognized just as “one recognizes someone in the street. meaning is simply a “surface-effect. they are neither external designations nor do they have internal signification. .Deleuze and Althusser 53 his lecture cites them and certain of their texts as exemplary of the structuralist approach. unconscious. and a criterion involving the “empty case. in a social spatium.” To facilitate such recognition Deleuze proposes. a differential and singular criterion. or language. game theory. psychoanalysis. In his view. a topological criterion.” These places have priority over both the “real objects and beings” that come to “occupy” them as well as the “imaginary roles” that these objects and beings will play once they have taken their places: “For example. And this spatium finally refers to the Marxist notion of the ‘relations of production.
As if the first four criteria weren’t already sufficiently obscure and abstract. to every determination of differential relations of phonemes there correspond in a language singularities that are the “true centers of signification for the words differentiated by the phonemes. . and their points of singularity.’’ Here Deleuze evokes Althusser’s “reinterpretation of dialectical materialism” as a denunciation of the ideology of humanism “by virtue of the primacy of structural places over the real human beings who occupy them.” Deleuze now turns to the third basic criterion by which one might recognize structuralism: that of differentiation and singularity. He notes that in the domain of linguistics a phoneme is the smallest unit by means of which one can distinguish two words having different significations.” A third and final consequence is that structuralism lays claim to a “new materialism.” Deleuze admits that such a general+ven ‘‘obscure’’-presentation of the problem is inadequate: in a specific domain of investigation one has to ask in an eminently “practical” way whether that domain is suitable for structural analysis. though.54 Stolze mentions Althusser’s essay on Brecht in ForMarx (Althusser 1969. To “extract” the structure of a given domain is precisely to isolate the symbolic elements. capitalism in a given society. Since structural analysis is not the “application of ready-made formulae” and cannot be given in advance. and the corresponding singularities. Deleuze proposes yet another. Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 . 1 1-61)7 and Freud’s case study of the “Rat Man” (Lacan 1979). a theater of structural places. Likewise. in a specific domain it is a practical task to construct such series.129-5 1) in which is analyzed not a “theater of realities or a theater of ideas . for example. between signifiers and signifieds. What remains untranslated from the 1966 text that opens kcrits. a new anti-humanism. Lacan’s 1956 seminar has appeared in English (Lacan 1972). Deleuze considers the “basis” of Althusser’s “reinterpretation of Marxism” to be the following: “what Marx calls the ‘relations of production’ must not be understood as the real relations between real data but must be interpreted as differential relations between symbolic elements in such a way that to these relations correspond the singularities that constitute a type of production. . representing the definition of just “half” a structure. in psychoanalysis Lacan constructs such series to characterize the structure of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Purloined letter” (Lacan 1966. an individual phoneme has no existence apart from its relation to another phoneme. Deleuze proposes that every structure is composed of symbolic elements. .” All this has been only a matter of preliminaries. A striking example in anthropology is LCviStrauss’s 1963 analysis of totemism. every structure is a “combinatory. is Lacan’s “introductory” postface. their differential relations. Deleuze contends that every system of symbolic elements and differential relations can be organized into at least two distinct series-for example. differential relations. Here again. but .” More generally. . Moreover. which involves the construction of an animal series and a series of social places or functions between individuals or social groups. a new atheism. though. fifth criterion by which to recognize structuralism: 7.
” The two series in a given structure are displaced in relation to one another. 1224.” Lacan offers the example of a book that has been mislaid in a library. language. in short. . for example.” In his seminar on Poe’s “Purloined Letter. a symbolic object is “never where one looks for it” and “is found only where it is not. as if the two series converged toward a mysterious object which is always displaced in relation to itself. 66-73). 1990.” This paradoxical or virtual object = x will later play a prominent conceptual role in Difference and Repetition and The Logic ofSense (see.^ In a note to Althusser written sometime in February 1968. The paradoxical object x introduces into every structure what Deleuze calls an “empty case”: “Everything happens.”s Deleuze mentions Lewis Carroll’s and James Joyce’s use of “esoteric” words as classic literary deployments of such paradoxical objects. and communication between the two takes place only as a result of their respective shifting or displacements.” Indeed. rather. . in every sense of the word. reversals . for all that. Althusser regularly passed along such material for his “students” to read and evaluate. . DeIeuze 1994. instead of governing. a new practice.” It is hard not to see in Deleuze’s description of the present (December 1967) as “very rich and very unstable” an anticipation of the May-June “events” that were shortly to rock France. in this sense there is no structuralism without revolutionary practice. a new literature. Macherey quite sharply remarked that Deleuze’s talk on structuralism “only presents in a more refined form the illusion that feeds all ordinary publications on structural8. social reality. . disguises. let us use a concept. For Deleuze structuralism in 1967 is not just a “reflection on . 9. . literature”. As opposed to a real object which is always in the place it happens to occupy. although the book is actually in full view (let us say. and it is in relation to it that the terms of the two series are defined in their respective situations and in their roles. . This object x has the property of always being displaced. Deleuze insists that given the role of the empty place that “makes possible a structural mutation . Here Deleuze has appropriated for his own philosophical ends the striking way in which Kant had indicated the unknowability of “things in themselves. it “strives to be a new language. . that of displacement. . An Exchange of Letters It seems clear that Althusser gave Pierre Macherey a copy of Deleuze’s transcribed lecture for comment^.Deleuze and Althusser 55 Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 between the two series within a structure there are “inversions. what Deleuze calls the “object = x” or “objectx. discrepancies . on a nearby shelf or table). According to Etienne Balibar (personal communication). . Here the “principle of displacement and communication of series” is the presence of a paradoxical object.” Deleuze concludes his talk by arguing that the famous structuralist critique of time is “secondary” and follows from. it nonetheless remains symbolically hidden. the unconscious. the five criteria he has set forth. not only in relation to what animates it but in relation to itself. then.
whether sensible. . biologism.1° Althusser’s letter to Deleuze (dated 29 February 1968) incorporates some of Macherey’s criticisms but presents them in a less confrontational manner. It would be necessary to show that in fact the structuralist ideology is made up of pieces and fragments.” The rest of Althusser’s letter develops this point. . This is entirely astonishing of Deleuze. though. above all on Lacan.56 Stolze ism .” I have read your text with a passionate attention. when taken out of a Lacanian context. According to Althusser. or empirical-in order to constitute a distinct “theoretical” object. and empiricist object of history that was in fact the “ideological object of the philosophies of history. Althusser opens his letter with the following praise. First.” Morever. historicist. even a ploy. according to Macherey. who also tirelessly teaches us. it has a “double meaning. the concept of the symbolic involves “equivocation and a kind of word play”. (Althusser 1968) Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 Althusser goes on to offer two main criticisms of Deleuze’s work. and I am indebted to you for having understood a number of decisive points whose importance I had not seen. a little like radar in the night) on the pages we have published. and that I had not even known how to express. Deleuze “establishes a continuity where there is a real disorder. 11. and in linguistics in its break with “the historicism and empiricism of classical philology.” if one can say it: in a kind of mist in which I discern only the presence of the masses. in the domain of anthropology Althusser insists that one sees such a theoretical break “only to a certain extent in Ltvi-Strauss.” Finally. Etienne Balibar (personal communication) has recalled that such praise was a stylistic device. that Althusser regularly used to open letters in which he intended a few paragraphs later to offer criticisms of an author’s work. In this regard Macherey also mentions Deleuze’s 1967 book onMasochism. that it is necessary to differentiate. already true of Marx’s break with the real. he says.” Marx constituted the theoretical object of history as a science. His second and more extended criticism concerns Deleuze’s use of the concept of the “symbolic” and suggests that. Althusser contends that 10. this objection is more a matter of “prudence” which need not greatly affect the substance of Deleuze’s text.” In short. We can also discern such a break in Freud and Lacan with psychologism. for you know how I “advance. in speaking of Nietzsche. and sociologism. This was. for Althusser. historical. The content remains the same: confusion and amalgamation. he reiterates Macherey’s complaint that Deleuze’s analysis suffers from a kind of “amalgamation” of authors and texts that are not easily unified. and also (which is only normal. to distinguish” (Macherey 1968). though. Everything concerning the objectx (value) in particular has profoundly struck and enlightened me (everything concerning it and everything due to it). structuralism can first of all be designated in terms of “what it rejects”-a break with the “real” object. . now available in English (Delyze 1989).
When they talk about “structure’’ and “structuralism. they take this theory for a “model” .” With this final variant-one that Deleuze himself seems to endorse-“electronic machines” have been entrusted “the role.” a “realist or even materialist” variant invoking an unconscious reality hidden under appearances. with the empiricist ideology of their “object.” distinct from the real. that they could only exist as sciences provided that they break with historicism. formerly allotted to God. they say-and you follow them on this point-that structure is a matter of the symbolic). On the one hand. .” In this regard Althusser apologizes for his terminology of real object and object of knowledge. of thinking the fuit accomplit. mathematics. that is. his advice 12. First. One might usefully compare Althusser’s remarks in this letter with the general critical assessment of the “spontaneous philosophy of the scientists” to be found in his 1967 lectures (see Althusser 1990) and with the particularly sharp attack on LCvi-Strauss to be found in an unpublished article dating from 1966 (see Althusser 1995. they take this theory for a “reality” (a specific modality of the “real.Deleuze and Althusser behind the claim of “structuralism” [is] this simple fact: a certain number of disciplines of the Human Sciences have discovered. or Marxism when Marx “analyzes the relations of production.” Althusser proffers that one should “clear the ground” occupied by the spontaneous philosophy of structuralism in order to see what different authors. who is not only a theorist of psychoanalysis but also an epistemologist and a philosopher. on the other hand. Not being informed of this fact. Although the concept of the symbolic may be appropriate in the domains of psychoanalysis and linguistics. present above all in LCvi-Straws’s writings: an “idealist” variant invoking “models. The only one to know it is doubtless Lacan. structuralism is a “spontaneous philosophy of the scientists” which in its confusion reestablishes empiricism as the “theoreticity of the concept is amalgamated with the scientific content of the concept.” They have “discovered” the necessity of theory as an absolute condition of their scientific existence. but suggests that “between Spinozists we understand ourselves. The others don’t know it.’’**Althusser sets forth three possible variants of this confusion. it is not appropriate in the domains of biology. the forces of production.” they don’t know they are expressing the fact of theory. texts. but real insofar as a modality: for example. 417-32). and a “formalist” variant invoking a “combinatory” or “order of orders. I say “discovered” with quotation marks. they “interpret” what they say by oscillating between two tendencies. and I say blindly. . and domains have in common. one has to see “how their concepts function before deciding if they arise from really common philosophical categories. for they really don’t know it and don’t say it. deep or latent structures.” In conclusion. one has to “sort out” and distinguish truly scientific concepts and second. which naturally refer to one another in an endless interplay. (more or less) blindly. and the effects of their structural relations.” Structuralists fail to distinguish adequately between the “fact” of theory and the “content” of scientific concepts. In the last analysis. . 57 Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 The upshot is that most structuralists amalgamate and only think in a confused way a crucial distinction between the real object and the object of knowledge.
is the latter’s failure to grasp the unevenness of structuralism-to see the contradictions within such a heterogeneous movement of diverse authors. and the differential and singular. and third criteria are.” for whom in Reading Capital especially the relations of production are determined. instrument of production. He ventures to Deleuze that “it is Lacan who is at the center of your thought. There is a pressing theoretical need to distinguish between those features of structuralism that can lead to enriching Marxism and those features that must be kept at some distance.” Althusser indicates that he “feels most in agreement” with Deleuze’s discussion of the empty case. . In his second version Deleuze sets forth not five but six criteria by which one might recognize structuralism. but in a substantially lengthened and modified version. direct laborers. as differential relations which are not established between real human beings or concrete individuals but between objects and agents which first have a symbolic value (object of production. In a word. And if it is obvious that concrete human beings come to occupy the places and effectuate the elements of the 13. What is most striking about Deleuze’s second version is his inclusion. 207-21). then. by singularities corresponding to the values of the relations. Deleuze’s Revision Let us now consider some of the most important changes Deleuze made in the transcription of his 1967 lecture before this text appeared six years later under the same title. What Althusser (by way of Macherey) seems to be most concerned about in his letter to Deleuze. Also. the symbolic. Deleuze’s treatment of differenciation here anticipates his later treatment in DifSerence and Repetition. Likewise.” The first.” even though he agrees that there is indeed something in common between Marx and Lacan which is why Deleuze’s lecture “speaks” to him. which at the beginning of his letter he had already implied took the form of value in Marxist theory. the positional (or topological). the fourth and fifth criteria of the first version are identical to the fifth and sixth criteria of the second version-namely. labor force. Deleuze’s lecture inadequately sorts out the materialist and idealist elements at work within the structuralist ideology.58 Stoke Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 to Deleuze is to be “extremely prudent. and insights. direct non-laborers. as they are taken up into relations of property and appropriation). . those involving the serial and the empty case. of a new fourth criterion called that of differenciation. with a “c” to distinguish it from the criterion of differentiation with a ‘‘t. second. Deleuze considers at greater length in his second version “the interpretation of Marxism by Louis Althusser and his collaborators.”l3 Regarding differentiation. texts. published in the fall of 1968 (see Deleuze 1994. then. Every mode of production is characterized. he identifies these criteria no longer as “basic” but as “formal. and detailed discussion. Lacan to the extent that he ‘communicates’ with Marx. . as in the first version.
We should say of structure as virtuality that it is still undifferenciated. in commentary. or from this complex which could be designated by the name differentkiation. according to which the elements of virtual coexistence are effectuated with various 14. every structure is “a multiplicity of virtual coexistence. The true subject is the structure itself: the differential and the singular. Deleuze introduced this important concept in his book on Bergsonism. to “extract the structure of a domain is to determine an entire virtuality of coexistence which preexists the beings. and by serving as a support for the structural relations . and that to be actualized is for them precisely to be differenciated. reciprocal determination and complete determination. and values of production (for example. differenciation concerns and in turn raises different questions. 177-85) with Claire Parnet. but its organized parts have particular rhythms. and the substructures that correspond to the various actualizations in the domain. although it is entirely and completely differentiated. Also. . the “capitalist”).’’ In Deleuze’s view. in which the “tk” constitutes the universally determined phonematic relation. Deleuze concluded the last text published during his lifetime with a poetic invocation of the role played by virtuality in the effort to construct a philosophy of immanence (see Deleuze 1995. Now the “process of actualization. For Deleuze’s later elaboration of the crucial distinction between actuality and virtuality. it is by taking on the role that the structural place assigns to them (for example. 51-72 and. . The position of structuralism regarding time is thus quite clear: for structuralism time is always a time of actualization.” The relation between differenciation and differentiation depends on how the virtual is actualized.” Again. “always implies an internal temporality” which varies depending on what is actualized.” according to Deleuze. Boundas 1996 and Alliez 1998b). 59 Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 As a new criterion by which to recognize structuralism and structuralists. ideal without being abstract”. Deleuze thus returns to the problem of time for structuralism. “capitalism”). and works of this domain. who “shows in this sense that Marx’s originality (his anti-Hegelianism) resides in the way in which the social system is defined by a coexistence of economic elements and relations. Structure is inseparable from this double aspect. a problem he had raised but immediately dropped at the end of his December 1967 lecture. but every social form embodies certain elements. Deleuze introduces the concept of “~irtuality. without one being able to engender them successively according to the illusion of a false dialectic. which appeared in 1966 (see Deleuze 1988. We must therefore distinguish the total structure of a domain as the totality of virtual coexistence. relations. he appeals to the example of Althusser.” A structure is “real without being actual. We should say of the structures embodied in a given actual (present or past) form that they are differenciated.”’~ which he uses to “designate the mode of structure or the object of theory. Deleuze argues that there is no total society. Not only does every type of social production have an internal global temporality. see his previously unpublished text included as an appendix (“The Actual and the Virtual”) to the second edition of his Dialogues (1996. objects.Deleuze and Althusser structure. 6-7). . consequently.
the two notions of internal multiple temporality and of static ordinal genesis are in this sense inseparable from the interplay of structures. their “differenciation. even in its dependence.” Here we should note a striking affinity between Deleuze’s conception of time and the conception that Althusser and Balibar offer in Reading Cupital. from structure to its actualization. . 99-100) Quite clearly. Deleuze has embraced Althusser’s critique of the “homogeneous continuity” and “contemporaneity” at work in the Hegelian account of historical time (94). punctuated in a specific way by the development of the productive forces. .” Moving on to the criterion of the “empty case” or “object = x. . relatively autonomous and hence relatively independent. proceeds from the virtual to the actual. like time. philosophy has its own time and history . Time proceeds from the virtual to the actual. the relations of production have their peculiar time and history. We can and must say: for each mode of production there is a peculiar time and history. Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 Contrary. scientific formations have their own time and history. . For overviews of Deleuze’s and Althusser’s views on the nature of time.60 Stoke rhythms. breaks. However. punctuated in a specific way.” Althusser had famously proposed that every social formation consists of different “levels.” On the contrary.” none of which has “the same type of historical existence.) . (Althusser and Balibar 1970. from a structure to its actualization. aesthetic productions have their own time and history .I5To be precise. Deleuze maintains that “one can no more oppose the genetic to the structural than one can oppose time to structure. He agrees that the “differential histories” comprising a given social formation manifest their own distinctive rhythms and only exist in a complex state of interdependence. respectively. Genesis. . 71-94) and Resch (1992. the political superstructure has its own history. Deleuze has enriched Althusser’s analysis by further distinguishing the “virtual coexistence” or “differentiation” of these histories from their “actualization” as particular material eflects-that is. since it is based on the differential relations between the different levels within the whole: the mode and degree of independence of each time and history is therefore necessarily determined by the mode and degree of dependence of each level within the set of articulations of the whole. 65-7). see Zourabichvili (1996. we have to assign to each level a peculiar time. revolutions. and not from one actual form to another. etc. . to a standard view and criticism of structural analysis. . The specificity of these times and histories is therefore diflerentiul. then. . .” In a footnote Deleuze acknowledges the importance of Pierre Macherey’s contribution to Read15. Each of these peculiar histories is punctuated with peculiar rhythms and can only be known on condition that we have defined the concept of the specificity of its historical temporality and its punctuations (continuous development.” I would highlight in the second version Deleuze’s now explicit identification of “value” as Marxism’s paradoxical object which is always “displaced in relation to itself. etc. that is. in an important chapter devoted to “The Errors of Classical Economics: An Outline for a Concept of Historical Time. then. of the “times” of the other levels.
entitled “Regarding the Process of Exposition in Capirul (The Labor of Concepts). Unfortunately. but which forms an eminently symbolic third in perpetual displacement. Conclusion By way of conclusion. . It is only after many years of being out of print in France that it has become available again in a third edition of Lire le Cupitul (Althusser et al. 17. . in his view. for as yet I do not know of others to whom Deleuze sent the transcription of his lecture for their comments. Here he cites Etienne Balibar’s contribution to Reading Cupitul. Further. despite a number of important modifications to his first version. Whether this practice be theoretical or political. 199-308).Deleuze and Althusser 61 a contribution that shows that value “is always shifted in relation to ing the exchange in which it appears. and as a function of which the variations of relations are defined. Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 A final difference between Deleuze’s first and second versions lies in the more extensive conclusion to the second version in which Deleuze discusses other.” No longer an anticipation but a reminder of 1968 this time. See especially Deleuze (1973).”I* Once again. value is the place of the question traversing or running through the economy as structure.I7 Deleuze also addresses the question how contradictions arise within a structure. it seems to me that Deleuze clearly valued Althusser’s opinion and altered the second version at least 16. Nonetheless. but also from a practice in relation to the products it interprets. As the expression of “labor in general. Deleuze does not depart in the second version from his basic contention that it is indeed possible to isolate certain criteria by means of which it is possible to recognize structuralism and structuralists. For structuralism is not only inseparable from the works it creates. 1996. this important text.” has never been translated into English. it designates a point of permanent revolution or permanent transference. he refuses to see present structures as closed off from the prospect of mutation or transition to new structures: “The point of mutation defines a praxis. 18. consists in “something” that is reducible neither to the terms of exchange nor to the relation of exchange itself. available in Althusser and Balibar (1970.” In Deleuze’s view. 201-44). it is obvious that the empty case of an economic structure. let me insist that I have not tried to establish that by itself Althusser’s letter played a decisive role in Deleuze’s reworking of a second version of his text. . “final” criteria concerning the “subject” and “practice. they are derived from the empty place and its becoming within the structure as “immanent tendencies. such as an exchange of commodities .’’ beyond every empirically observable quality.” a term he will make substantial use of in later writings.” He connects the ideas of the subject and the empty place in terms of what he calls a “nomadic subject. or rather the very connection where praxis must be established.
then. but it won’t be a marxist philosophy: it will be a philosophyfor marxism” (Althusser 1994b. 1. B. New York: Pantheon Books. et al. Brewster. New York: Verso. ed. B.” At most. . Trans. In addition. . see Alliez (1996). 243-64. 1990. . “to seek what kind of philosophy corresponds best to what Marx wrote in Capital. 539-79. 1996. L. . Sur la phitosophie. Gilles Deleuze: Une vie philosophique. . 19. 1994b. 1969. Reading Capital. Ed.” In Alliez 1998a. .ophiqueset politiques. Althusser. E. On the question of a philosophy “for Marxism. what I have sought to do in this article is to “clear the ground” for future research regarding Althusser’s and Deleuze’s complicated and mutually implicated intellectual itineraries. Paris: StocMIMEC. belonging to the history of philosophy. I would also like to thank Antonio Callari and David Ruccio for their critical remarks on an earlier draft. “Philosophyand the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists” and Other Essays. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. and Balibar. Essays in Self-Criticism. 1998a. It will be able to account for the conceptual discoveries Marx utilized in Capital.62 Stolze Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 in part as a response to certain of Althusser’s (and Macherey’s) objections. 2. Trans.” see the interviews Fernanda Navarro conducted with Althusser in the 1980s where Althusser proposes a “new task“-namely. 1995. Ecrits phifos. 37-8). Paris: StocMIMEC. For a brief but highly suggestive characterization of Deleuze’s method of reading other philosophers and philosophies both in order to “virtualize” and to “actualize” them. L. . Althusser. G . Lock. “Sur la bergsonisme de Deleuze. 3d ed. Deleuze: Philosophie virtuelle. Lire le Capital. but instead of a philosophy for Marxism. E. Paris: Gallimard. 1976. G. Althusser. London: New Left Books.’ It will simply be a philosophy. . l9 I would like to express my deepest appreciation to WarrenMontag and Carol Stanton. Paris: Institut SynthClabo. A photocopy of a letter to Gilles Deleuze dated 29 February 1968.” He adds that whatever such a philosophy turns out to be. 1998b. indeed. In fact. 1996. From the IMEC Archive. “it won’t be a ‘marxist philosophy. L. vol. 1970. For Marx. vol. Zourabichvili (1998) has identified the political stakes involved in actualizing the virtual. Brewster. “Le courant souterrain du matCrialisme de la rencontre. 1994a. Paris: SynthClabo Groupe.respectively-as “virtualizations” of structuralism and as vital resources in the “actualization” not so much of a Marxist philosophy. . without whose encouragement I could never have pursued the research culminating in this article. Deleuze remarks near the beginning of the second version that no one “better than Louis Althusser has assigned the status of structure as identical to ‘Theory’ itself-and the symbolic must be understood as the production of the original and specific theoretical object. Deleuze’s references in the second version to Althusser are much more extensiveand no less favorable-than in the first. Such research would necessitate a new evaluation and appreciation of Deleuze’s two great works of 1968 and 1969-Difference and Repetition (1994) and The Logic of Sense (1990).Trans. 1968. References Alliez. New York: Verso. Elliott.” In Ecrits philosophiques et politiques.
[ 19771 1983. Habberjam. New York: Columbia University Press. 335-57. 1996. LCvi-Strauss. .” In Alliez 1998a. Trans. D. H. 1984. . M. 2d ed. New York: Columbia University Press. ed. . Lacan. C. “La sociCtC mondiale de contrble. Trans. Totemism. New York: Routledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Sl-106. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. “L’immanence: une vie. Chitelet. 1968. Trans. B. G. Patton. Masochism. J. 2d ed. “Deleuze et le possible (de I’involontarisme en politique). Paris: Seuil. Kant’s Critical Philosophy. Difference and Repetition. “PensCe nomade. Hurley et al. 1990. H. . New York: Columbia University Press. vol. New York: Vintage Books. What Is Philosophy? Trans. Deleuze: A Critical Reader. 4. 1968. 1989. 1998. and Olkowski. Habberjam. and Parnet. “A quoi reconnait-on le structuralisme?’ I n k philosophie au XXe sidcle. M. Deleuze. 1967. K. “A Deleuzian Century?” Special issue. 1992. Macherey. An undated handwritten letter to Louis Althusser.” Trans. Needham.. J. Zourabichvili. Yale French Studies 48: 38-72. . H.” Philosophie 47: 3-7. Fowkes. 1966. G. Diaiogues. Burchell. The Logic of Sense. Deleuze. McNeil. .”’ Trans. Buchanan. Trans. . Bergsonism. New York: Zone Books. 1998. . 1963. Paris. Noel Evans. P. Downloaded By: [Duke University] At: 01:57 23 February 2010 . Lester with C. 1994. Trans. 293-329. Deleuze and Philosophy: The Difference Engineer. J. P.” In Patton 1996. Boundas.. “A quoi reconnait-on le structuralisme?’ Photocopy of a lecture dated 6 December 1967. “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter. . 359-75. Tomlinson and B. ed. IMEC Archive. IntensitCs. C. Paris. F. “Deleuze-Bergson: An Ontology of the Virtual. . F. P. eds. Mehlman. ed. V. 1996. 159-74.Deleuze and Althusser 63 Ansell-Pearson. Sourh Atlantic Quarterly 96 (3). R. Deleuze. and Guattari. R.” In Alliez 1998a. IMEC Archive. 1977. K. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. F. I. Deleuze: Une philosophie de l’tvtnement. Trans. New York: Routledge.Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. . Boundas. Boundas. Paris: Union GCnCrale d’Editions. 1997. C. 1995. Paris. . 1. R. Capital. New York: Zone Books. 1979. 1988. “The Neurotic’s Individual Myth. Marx. . Stivale. Resch. Vol. Trans. 1973. Tomlinson and G. Patton. C. P. H. 1983. Paris: Marabout. 1997. G. ed. 1994. Nietzsche and Philosophy. Boston: Beacon Press. 1972. M. . Hardt. Trans. Tomlinson. [ 1973J 1979. New York: Columbia University Press.. 1996. .. Ecrits. IMEC Archive. Berkeley: University of California Press. Althusser and the Renewat ofMarxist Social Theory. A letter to Louis Althusser dated February. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly 48 (3): 405-25. Gilles Deleuze and the Theater of Philosophy. 1996. 1994. 1. . C. Tomlinson and B. ed. Paris: Flammarion. New York: Blackwell.” In Nietzsche aujourd’hui? Vol.
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