CONCLUSION

Deleuze’s contribution to political thought is concentrated in the books he co-authored with Guattari, particularly Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. In the course of this brief survey, we have done little more than chart the salient features of this complex body of work and indicate some of the ways in which it offers new resources and new directions for thinking the political. We sought to show that these philosophically experimental and politically engaged books are not an aberration or a detour in relation to Deleuze’s earlier work. Rather, they exemplify a conception of philosophy which grows out of his engagement with the history of philosophy and which displays the same virtues that he discerns in the tradition which runs through Lucretius, Hume, Spinoza and Nietzsche, namely a rejection of negativity, a belief in the externality of forces and relations, a hatred of interiority, and a commitment to the cultivation of joy by means of the invention of concepts. In order to demonstrate this continuity, we argued in Chapter 1 that Deleuze’s earlier criticisms of the prevailing ‘image of thought’ in philosophy set the scene for his later attempts in collaboration with Guattari to ‘put concepts in motion’. We also pointed to some of the concepts and themes which connect this collaborative work with Deleuze’s earlier studies in the history of philosophy, especially the theory of qualitative multiplicities derived from Bergson and the structure of immanent evaluation derived from Nietzsche’s genealogy of morality. Finally, we argued that some aspects of Deleuze’s earlier writings exercised considerable influence on political thought in their own right, notably the metaphysics of difference elaborated on the basis of the concept of multiplicity and the theory of differential force outlined in Nietzsche and Philosophy.

Above all, we have sought throughout to present Deleuze’s contribution to political thought as philosophy in the sense that he and Guattari define it in What Is Philosophy? (1994). Deleuze and Guattari share with Marx, Nietzsche and many others the conviction that the task of philosophers is to help make the future different from the past. For this reason, they endow philosophy with an explicitly political vocation, defining it as the

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Deleuze and the Political
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Concept and Image of Thought 11
  • 2 - Difference and Multiplicity 29
  • 3 - Power 49
  • 4 - Desire, Becoming and Freedom 68
  • 5 - Social Machines and the State 88
  • 6 - Nomads, Capture and Colonisation 109
  • Conclusion 132
  • Notes 138
  • References 149
  • Index 159
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