Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Some Quick definitions of Deleuzoguattarian Concepts

Here are some brief definitions of Deleuzoguattarian concepts I have composed. I have attempted to write them for two reasons. Firstly, to attempt to produce simplified definitions for my benefit. Secondly, to introduce user-friendly definitions for people that are unfamiliar with Deleuze and Guattari. The definitions are written in a style that should correlate these concepts to complexity theory.
Any suggestions/corrections are welcome:-
Radical Constructivism – the term radical constructivism does not come from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatttari. It is a term I have borrowed from Deleuzian academic Hanjo Berressem (University of Cologne) that denotes a departure from social constructivism. The term should also not be confused with Ernesto LacLau and Chantal Mouffe's project of radical constructivism, whose project is still limited to discourse and deconstruction analysis. 
 Overall, radical constructivism argues that social constructivism has not gone far enough in its constructivist project. The problem of social constructivism is it has only focused on how humans or language construct the world. The result is social constructivism is anthropocentric (i.e. human oriented). Radical constructivism argues for an expanded programme of thought in order to concentrate on how the world is literally constructed. It is this commitment of radical constructivism that ensures its non-anthropocentric credentials. The aim of radical constructivism is to remove dualisms that act as boundaries and separations of life (e.g. Culture/Nature, Subject/Object, Mind/Body). Overall, radical constructivism is an attempt to escape what Frederic Jameson calls the ‘prison-house of language’ and humanism. Such approaches are ‘human, all too human’ (Nietzsche) and not true to the earth.

Body without Organs (BwO) – A field, or a multitude, of intensive processes. These intensive processes cause the metamorphose of the Earth. BwOs, for example, are found in cultural, geological, and biological environments. Weather systems provide an ‘easy’ example of a BwO functioning in the world. These weather systems are bands of various intensities that behave differently in different intensities (e.g. different air pressure). The idea of the BwO demonstrates the importance of intensive processes in the production and transformation of the world. Deleuze and Guattari argue that zero intensity in a process is a non-productive process.

Becoming – Represents the nonlinear directional movement of the world, encapsulating the dynamical characteristic of life and avoiding a linear or teleological interpretation.

Assemblages
– an emergent property generated from a machinic becoming. These assemblages are composed of various heterogeneous components. If these assemblages are described as stratified they are hierarchical assemblages, and if these assemblages are described as meshworks they are non-hierarchical assemblages. These two types of assemblage, one stratified and the other rhizomatic, should be considered as ideal indicators of assemblage. In concrete (i.e. real) assemblages the vast majority are composed of hierarchical and non-hierarchical components. The concept of assemblage is also constructed to avoid an approach that relies on essentialism or totalities and (should) ensure a bottom-up analysis.

Abstract Machine
– In the becoming of life Deleuze and Guattari aim to explain the immanent morphogenetic capabilities of the flows of matter and energy.
‘Ideally’ there is only one (mega) abstract machine. This abstract machine would be pure-matter and not physical or semiotic and not connected to anyone single entity (i.e. assemblage). However, the single ‘mega’ abstract machine risks becoming a totalising explanation if various different abstract machines do not emerge and are explained. It is for this reason that abstracts machine can be said to emerge at particular dates and construct new realities.

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