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, Jeremy Smith Deleuze/Derrida: The Politics of Territoriality
While it has not gone unnoticed, the uncanny closeness and affinity of concerns in the work of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze has barely begun to be explored. Given the fact that the very same series of major themes runs through the work of both philosophers — difference/différance, repetition and iterability, language and subjection, politics and territoriality, law and juridical acts — this avoidance is so striking that it cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidental omission. This issue of Critical Horizons stages a series of encounters that begin to redress this lack.1 Derrida and Deleuze have barely quoted and wilfully ignored each other all too long, like twins who secretly pretend that the other is not even there. Jacques Derrida entitled his eulogy on Gilles Deleuze “Il me faudra errer tout seul” and Leonard Lawler translated this title as “I’m going to have to wander all alone.”2 Derrida’s own word ‘errer’, however, also contains the suggestion of an ‘error’ —
Critical Horizons 4:2 (147-156) © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2003
he shares with Deleuze a lasting passion for literature. somewhat pre-emptively. as Derrida confesses. we will have all loved philosophy. they have the same enemies. coexist heterogeneously with the vocal form and therefore beg the question of the body. Derrida and Deleuze share a persistent critical concern and engagement with psychoanalysis and Marxism as well as a philosophical preoccupation with issues of space. in fact. that such discussion would one day inevitably emerge from their work and Derrida inserted himself. and rite — forms that.the risk of ‘erring’ that Deleuze left as a legacy for Derrida who then spoke.” what would Deleuze’s different notion of the writing machine be?6 And if Derrida concludes: “if there is neither machine nor text without psychical origin. as the authors assert. projected and liberated in a machine. fiercely resisting what Deleuze and Guattari call the ‘signifying regime’. territory. who can deny it?”3 Derrida’s statement is. More than a mere love for philosophy. Theoretically. but secrecy is not. there is no domain of the psychic without text. as Derrida insists. and a concomitant politics of appropriation and resistance.”8 Deleuze and Guattari write: 148 • Editorial . . yet systematically escaped in their own time. for example. such minor differences have monumental consequences.”5 What would Derrida have to say in response? Or. somewhat mournfully. . Both knew. often for the same authors. except one thing of which they have too much — human beings who are nothing but a big eye or a big mouth . for there are human beings who lack everything. . What matters in this resistance. if Derrida asks about Freud “what the imitation. dance. rhythm. of the long discussion the two were supposed to have together. a highly performative understatement. They also share their dislikes and. however. of the following statement by Deleuze and Guattari: “Lies and deception may be a fundamental part of the signifying regime.” how does this statement implicitly engage Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of the ‘presignifying semiotic?’ The latter emerges in forms of corporeality as gesturality. Think.”4 One might be tempted to think of a narcissism of minor differences but. of something like psychical writing might mean. of course. Together they have changed the century’s sense of writing and speech. into Deleuze’s ‘serial singularity’ with his laconic statement “Yes. . is — to invoke Gregory Bateson as another philosopher of difference — the “difference that makes a difference.7 Derrida begins The Ear of the Other with a quote from Zarathustra: “.
when the face is effaced. The articles in this issue of Critical Horizons all attempt to do this in various ways. .] The signifier is always facialized. the creation of concepts involves the elaboration of new vocabularies able to disrupt established ways of acting and thinking. becomings molecular. While Deleuze and Guattari develop a micropolitics of desire founded on the dynamics of unconscious affect. when the faciality traits disappear. power and the law. Editorial • 149 . his essay focuses on shared commitments such as those which Foucault referred to as the ‘unfinished work of freedom’. nocturnal deterritorializations overspilling the limits of the signifying system. For Derrida this commitment requires the pursuit of something radically other. . the reterritorialization internal to the system. we can be sure that we have entered another regime. which entails. is paradoxical for it calls for the need to think rule and event. Faciality reigns materially over that whole constellation of significances and interpretations [. generating paradoxically ‘aconceptual concepts’ such as the trace. Justice and democracy therefore have the structure of a promise rather than that of a regulative Idea. other zones infinitely muter and more imperceptible where subterranean becomings occur. différance. As Derrida suggests in his thinking about forgiveness. ‘a certain experience of the impossible’. as he writes in Psyche. this commitment also needs to reach beyond the institution. While Patton acknowledges some fundamental differences between Derrida’s deconstructive philosophy and Deleuze and Guattari’s constructivism. concept and singularity at the same time. in particular. In his article “Concept and Politics in Derrida and Deleuze” Paul Patton engages the politics of the concept and its implied ethics. metaphoricity and iterability.The face is the Icon proper to the signifying regime. Iterability. Derrida traces the unconscious in the operation of writing (écriture). For both.9 How would Derrida assess such different regimes in his own terms? Questions such as these urge us to push the stages of encounter between Derrida and Deleuze beyond both resemblances and narcissisms of minor difference. . The signifier reterritorializes on the face.] Conversely. According to Patton both Derrida and Deleuze are concerned with a pragmatic future-oriented and non-representational philosophy that envisions new ways of acting upon the world. the supplement. . [.
the assumption that language constitutes the subject. of convention and political ethics.Patton emphasises a similar future-oriented perspective when he links Derrida’s notion of iteration with Deleuze and Guattari’s notions of deterritorialisation and becoming. Iterability renders possible both rule or convention and transgression. propounding. Barton argues that this theory of order-words shares three crucial features with Derrida’s theory of iterability: the critique of the communication model of language. Interested in linguistic actions that politicise the meanings. freedoms and new rights. which cause an event or the expressed ‘sense’ of a proposition to come into being. a theory of language as an assemblage of order-words. uses and contexts of language. Order-words link acts to statements by social obligation. deterritorialisations activate freedom or movement and follow a commitment to an open future. fundamentally a theory of right or law. John Barton’s essay takes up the problem of iterability from a different perspective that focuses on speech acts and the politics of the performative. according to Barton. rights. For Deleuze and Guattari as for Derrida there is neither a position outside of language-use. democracies. his notion of iterability is meant to account for non-standard. Patton concludes that. and the politicisation of language as a set of social conventions and cultural practices. They are propositions. while also regulating and constituting social and political relations. social or affective — can operate as territories. Barton further argues. Since systems of any kind — conceptual. Like Derrida. While speech-act theory is. concepts such as becoming and deterritorialisation are therefore not meant to substitute for existing concepts of justice. Like order-words. iterability politicises the transmission of social imperatives and hierarchical relations. together with Guattari. simulation and imitation. Barton performs a conceptual encounter between Derrida’s notion of iterability and Deleuze’s concept of ‘proposition’ and its production of ‘sense’ as it is formulated in terms of the ‘order-word’. linguistic. Deleuze also speaks of a ‘language of events’. nor a homogenised theory of linguistics. literary and marginal uses of language or a language of events. Much of this theo150 • Editorial . not unlike Derrida’s notion of justice as a promise. transformation. for Derrida. but rather hold the promise of other forms of justice. Deleuze’s theory of the order-word and Derrida’s theory of iterability therefore offer complementary ways of conceptualising the ways social realities can be constructed. democracy or freedom.
or what Deleuze calls ‘the unthought’ that is not external to but lies at the very heart of thought. including conceptual labour. Derrida addresses Deleuze and Guattari’s rhetorical choice of the term ‘haptic’ over the alternative ‘tactile’. focusing on their own rhetorical gesture toward a literalisation of philosophical rhetoric. In his exploration of such concerns. Both Derridean and Deleuzian politics of the performative refrain from asking what a political event is and instead ask how it functions as a performative in a given social reality. Atteberry argues. Unlike Patton and Barton. In the process of this literalisation. Within the proliferating process of metaphorisation. living labour assumes the classic attributes of subjectivity. Atteberry ends his reading with a critique of Hardt and Negri’s Empire. If Derrida claims that nothing is more terrifying to the exercise of power than secrecy. We might. then Atteberry claims that insisting on the secret and the unthought within writing and speech is a political move toward a reform of power. appears as a productive force. for example. Jean-Luc Nancy. as Barton points out. While. In the latter.rising is. Jeffrey Atteberry anchors his thoughts in the sparse moments of Derrida’s direct engagement with the work of Deleuze. lending itself to a fetishisation of ‘the poor’. For Derrida the productive force of secret living labour extends to systems of economy generally. What is reduced in this literalisation is precisely the secret. according to Deleuze and Guattari. organised around discussions of law and politics. that for Derrida bears residues of a metaphysics of presence. This suspicion informs Derrida’s reading of Marx that is arguably inspired by a desire to present a critique of capitalism different from the one developed in Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. in fact. foregrounding the role of judicial speech acts and interpellative performatives. And presuming that rhetorical choices determine the value a thought assumes in a process of exchange. in other words. particularly in “I’m going to have to wander all alone” and in Le Toucher. a value. the unformulated. Derrida worries about a possible recuperation of Deleuze and Guattari’s rhetoric of proximity within a metaphysics of presence. the choice invites the assumption that the eye itself may fulfil a non-optical function. Derrida detects a certain ‘value of proximity’ in their description of haptic vision as ‘close’. différance. take Editorial • 151 . Atteberry focuses mainly on the differences that are played out around the notion of ‘living labour’ and the fact that it remains invisible and secret to capital.
Conversely. Derrida is less concerned with the subject who desires than with the subject who makes a promise or a commitment. It can be employed in a revolutionary way (by the schizo) or in a fascist way (by the fascist double). He approaches this topic from the perspective of the ‘Right to Desire’. then from where do the more violent expressions of domination. claiming that the most far-reaching effects in current global politics emerge no longer from political representation but from a transformation internal to the nature of right itself. concluding that desire is not natural but immanently social. is prima facie politically neutral. Recognising this political danger. according desire priority as an agent of social transformation. ‘the question of who has the right of right?’ This is the place where Lambert sees the possibility of staging a fundamental opposition between the philosophies of Deleuze and Derrida. and sadism arise? Lambert addresses this question by examining the notion of natural law from a Deleuzian perspective. Deleuze’s politics of desire thus rests on the modulation of power by the nature of its unconscious investments. Gregg Lambert also addresses issues of power. Lambert argues. It invests the entire social field and its action can be defined as the ‘invention’ of new environments. however. Derrida tries to avoid their inherent aporia. constraining and controlling. belonging to the milieu of institutions. and can even be thought of as having an affirmative and positive affect. By contrast.this as a concrete instance that supports Paul Patton’s claim that both Derrida and Deleuze remain committed to Foucault’s notion of the unfinished work of freedom. by instituting ‘lack’ into subjective relations of power. Deleuze’s insistence on the unconscious investment in the right to desire is attentive to this shift in politics. that is. might have avoided engaging Deleuze’s philosophy in order to avoid rejecting it 152 • Editorial . state power insures a form of desire that approximates sadism in its investment of limiting. domination and control in what he sees as the emergence of ‘the new philosophy of Right’ in both Deleuze and Derrida. he speculates. Lambert poses the most critical question within this politics of desire: if the desire for power is nothing negative in itself. focusing rather on the ethical and juridical moments in the discourse of rights. as Deleuze often asserts. The latter. Desire. By putting pressure on the discourse of rights itself. Derrida’s philosophy of right keeps distance from the question of desire. oppression.
especially when their work is read as an implicit argument against Kantian transcendental philosophy marshalled from two historical sides of Kant’s own program — Hume’s empiricism. For Derrida. the ‘it’. Notwithstanding an apparent dissimilarity. the real. From the side of the post-Kantian Freud (and Derrida) only a partial answer can be given to this question. this discourse of rights must be unhinged from its old foundations and measured against a situation without precedent.on the grounds of the right to desire. and not only in the writing. but in the modes of capturing and machining. against Kant and his interpreters Ferrell argues that ‘reality’ is not made sense of through representations that themselves are reliant on and subordinated to an a priori of reason. Ferrell argues that in Deleuze’s reading of Hume’s work. Furthermore. reference to the empirical refers to experience and the conventions or habits that shape our ‘thinking’ Editorial • 153 . This is why it belongs to a thinking to come. In other words. In other words. Lambert argues that on this plane. and Freud’s meta-psychology. when read by Derrida.” Robyn Ferrell reads Deleuze and Derrida against the grain and in so doing brings them into discursive alignment. Nor is it substantially and empirically real and unmediated. it is not a matter of whether one defines oneself in the last analysis as Deleuzian or Derridean. Rather the fundamental distinction between these two philosophies concerns where we first pose the question of right or the analysis of power. And so we are faced with a double problem: the meaning of this ‘it’ and its representation. The empirical. Freud leaves us with the sense not only that representation can never soak up what is being represented. In her “Hume Reads Freud: Empiricism as Rhetorical Event. There is always the permanent condition of the partiality of an other (the unconscious/difference). when read by Deleuze. this partiality of the unconscious (or in an another language the imagination) is never disinterested or impartial (for Freud at least). From the side of the pre-Kantian Hume — and Deleuze — the question of representation can once again only be answered partially. and functions as an empirical or quasi-empirical constraint. Ferrell argues that there is an unstated elective affinity between Derrida and Deleuze. always denotes a series of reference points that allude capture. though. but also that the ‘it’ is something he constantly grappled with throughout his work as a whole.
Alphonso Lingis. habits and conventions through which Deleuze’s Hume. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. and leads to the possibility that literature might offer practical results by teaching us how we might actively position ourselves so as to influence change towards immanence. Adrian Parr also pursues these sentiments of change in her review of Paul Patton’s and John Petrovi’s volume of essays. and how philosophy can help expose these uses? As Larson suggests. Parr considers the ways the contributors to this collection — Leonard Lawler.experience. from the material available — it is practical or pragmatic rather than theoretical or pure. Deleuzian one. Leibniz and Nietzsche. philosophers of transcendence.10 In her essay. in his article “Gatsby and Us” shares Ferrell’s interest in Deleuze’s critique of representation — not as an epistemological issue. Branska Arsic Jeffrey T. emphasises the empirical world as a world of differences (or in another language. and Patton and Petrovi. Husserl and Levinas. givens. but as a literary one. John Protevi and ´. so to speak. New syntaxes. in contrast to Deleuze’s concern with immanence. It is one of a small but growing body of literature that presents an encounter between these two philosophers. In other words. reasoning is built up. is to expose the ethico-political strain that connects these philosophers and Parr concludes that it is in the very folding of transcendence with immanence that the ethicopolitical trajectories are revealed from a range of perspectives and through 154 • Editorial . Between Derrida and Deleuze. A point of initial divergence in the two thinkers. like Derrida’s Freud. Daniel Smith. and in this sense it is practical. Deleuze’s notion of ‘stuttering’ reveals how literature forces the decomposition of language. read through Spinoza. His article offers a close reading of F. Tasmin Lorraine. This double reading offers both transcendence and immanence. A concern of Parr. carrying him from an initial and more conventional reading of the text to a second. work is Derrida’s debt to Kant. He draws a connection between Deleuze’s enthusiasm for literature and a desire for pragmatics by asking what the practical uses of literature are. new languages are constructed within a language so that the linguistic system is ‘brought up against its limits’. Anthony Larson. contingencies) that cannot be fully captured and rendered intelligible. Paul Patton — critically confront the associations that are to be found between Deleuze and Derrida. Nolan. There is then a circumstantial collection of impressions.
to a philosophical task that questions how philosophy can be used. University of Chicago. for their assistance with this Issue. Acknowledgement Critical Horizons wishes to thank the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California — Irvine for its collaboration with this Issue. we wish to acknowledge the central roles played by Gabriele Schwab. John Barton. the questions that Deleuze and Derrida raise gain a new urgency.. what is at stake is indeed what Paul Patton argued. Territoriality. under the title Deleuze/Derrida and Psychoanalysis. new techniques of discipline and intervention. The Work of Mourning. the conference coordinator. while Deleuze and Derrida have each engaged in differing theoretical enterprises. 2 Jacques Derrida. Notes 1 The articles by Paul Patton. they share a commitment to a philosophy of pragmatics. in the end. As Parr points out. Editorial • 155 3 . For both. 189-196. The conference was attended by Jacques Derrida who also created its title. and new forms of psychological torture loom large. and Erin Ferris. namely that Deleuze as well as Derrida share a commitment to what Foucault called the ‘unfinished work of freedom’. Chicago. 193. 2001. At a time when new totalitarianisms.the variety of concerns raised in the book’s essays. this continues to offer considerable scope and she asks. p. the Critical Theory Institute is planning to publish a collection of essays drawn from the Derrida/Deleuze conference with Columbia University Press. the organiser of the conference on Derrida and Deleuze held by the Critical Theory Institute from which some of the papers for this Issue were drawn. In sympathy with Deleuze. eds. For Parr. As well as these four articles published herein. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Nass. Ibid. Politics conference conducted by the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California — Irvine in April of 2002. In particular. pp. might be applied to the escalating problems we now face. Jeffrey Atteberry and Gregg Lambert were first presented at a Derrida/Deleuze: Psychoanalysis.. a point that many of the authors pursue in varying ways in this issue of Critical Horizons. how the task of experiment inscribed in these thinkers work. reserving judgement is a matter of infinite hope.
Political Physics: Deleuze.” Steps to an Ecology of Mind. p.. trans.” 1996. Jacques Derrida. Substance and Difference. 1997. Brian Massumi. University of Chicago. p. Deleuze and Guattari. Writing and Difference. trans. J. P. Reconsidering Difference. 1972. 115. Jacques Derrida. 2001. A Thousand Plateaus. Alan Bass. The Althone Press. “Form. Ballantine Books. p. Deleuze and Guattari. Protevi. p. Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.4 Gregory Bateson. Christine McDonald. The Ear of the Other. Chicago. London & New York. pp. Minneapolis. Derrida and the Body Politic. 448-465. University of Minnesota. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. “Strange Proximity.. A Thousand Plateaus. p. 3. 115. Patton. 199. Also see. 5 6 7 8 9 10 156 • Editorial . 117. eds. University of Nebraska. Patton. New York. P. Lincoln.
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