Sunday, 13 January 2013

Schizoanalytic Cartographies Part 2: Guattari on Enunciation

This is the second of my series of blogs on Guattari's Schizoanalytic Cartographies. Please click here for part one: Psychoanalysis and Religion Thanks for all the hits on my first blog in the series, I hope this one is as popular.

I'd just like to define a couple of terms before I include an interesting section on enunciation by Guattari, where he provides a neat analogy with the conductor of an orchestra.

For Guattari (and Deleuze) individuals are multiplicities which come together briefly through movement and rest. The parts that make up the individual are not constant but are continually formed, disassembled and re-formed in different combinations. These parts do not belong to the individual, they only temporarily constitute her and emanate from the environment of that particular situation. This is an assemblage. Assemblages do not just refer to individuals but to any collection of this kind, and operate on a “plane of consistency”, which is not hierarchic in nature. At the point people are considered to be communicating, Guattari describe this as an “assemblage of enunciation”.

These types of topographical terms are what is great about Guattari's work in applying it to urban space and psychogeography, in the way that it enables me to do with schizocartography. Anyway...I am going to cheat with this definition as I don't have one of my own to hand. Here's Guattari's from The Anti-Oedipus Papers: "Territory describes a lived space, or a perceived system in which a subject 'feels at home'. Territory is synonymous with appropriation, subjectification closed in on itself. A territory can also be deterritorialized, i.e. open up, to be engaged in lines of flight, and even become deleterious and self-destructive. Reterritorialization consists of an attempt to recompose a territory engaged in a process of deterritorialization."

Enunciation is like the conductor who sometimes accepts his loss of control of the members of the orchestra: at certain moments, it is the pleasure of articulation or rhythm, if not an inflated style, which sets out to play a solo and to impose it on others. Let's emphasize that if an Assemblage of enunciation can include multiple social voices, it equally takes on pre-personal voices, capable of brining about aesthetic ecstasis, a mystic effusion or an ethological panic - an agoraphobic syndrome, for example - as much as an ethical imperative. One can see that all forms of concerted emancipation are conceivable. A good conductor will not attempt despotically to overcode all the parts on the score, but will be looking for the collective crossing of the threshold at which the aesthetic object designated by the name at the top of the score is attained. 'That's it! You've got it!' Tempo, accents, phrasing, the balancing of parts, harmonies, rhythms and timbres: everything conspires in the reinvention of the work and its propulsion towards new orbits of deterritorialized sensibility...(page 210)
Part three of the blog is here: Guattari on Postmodernity


  1. A post rich of suggestions as is usual here. While I was reading the part on the "Deterritorialization" made some thoughts I would like to share.
    As you certainly knew in Europe the word "Landscape" has an equivalent in the word "paysage"(peasaggio in Italian). The word is composed by "pays" and "age". While the former "pays" is generally well understood "age" is generally omitted. But "age" is a general suffix denoting the result of an action so "paysage" is the result of the action of the country over the land. But what is a country if not a cultural unit that, in the past, displayed its identity over the land directly subjugated. Today however such a unit is gone. Cultural units (forgive me for the "brutalist" simplification :-) ) reorganize themselves transversely to form new abstract villages, as McLuhan foresaw. So we have many "paysages" intersecting over the same land or if you like "mille plateaux".

  2. Hi Mauro. I didn't know about the Italian for 'landscape'. It's interesting because it then becomes re-interpreted as 'passage' in English, if one wants to take a deconstructionist view on it.

    1. Tina, the Italian "paesaggio" comes from the French "paysage" that in turn comes from the Latin "pagense" (related to the village). Yours is an interesting connection though. Not sure if "passage" has any etymological relation but for sure it has a lot to do with the the related imprint over the land.

  3. Deleuze and Guattari suggest that in English the term "outlandish" is a good translation for "déterritorialisé", literally translated as "deterritorialised". This is consonant with their emphasis on the "Outside". It also has an advantage of avoiding giving a too negative import to the terms prefixed in "dé-", of which their are many in Deleuze and Guattari's texts (designify, desubjectify, destratify etc.). While I argue, along with Franco Berardi, that there is an important presence of the negative and even of depression in Deleuze and Guattari's works (and lives!), this negativity is surpassed by the surabundance of positivity. The prefix "out-" has this implication of uncontained excess, or open alterity.