THE WORK OF Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari is about the most inventive and adventurous in recent philosophy and cultural theory, combining a transgressive, avant garde impulse with both scholarly erudition and an encyclopaedic range of reference.Analysis of recent developments in philosophy, computer science, mathematics, linguistics and biology is juxtaposed with an outrageous repertoire of imagery and a completely iconoclastic attitude to the great names of European culture.Their aim often seems to be the demolition of the sacred cows not only of Western academia, but also of the apparently obvious and commonsense logic on which we normally depend.Less bold theorists may dream of the loosening of the straitjacket of inherited modes of subjectivity. Deleuze and Guattari imagine the complete abandonment of any idea of coordinated selfhood.To them, the self is merely the collection point of infinite and random impulses and flows (to use their terms, lines of flight and machinic assemblages) that overlap and intercut with one another, but that never form any but the most transitory and dynamic correspondences. The breadth of their project, even of its two-volume centrepiece, Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Volume 1, Anti-Oedipus, appeared in 1972, and Volume 2, A Thousand Plateaus, in 1980), defies easy summary. The aim of this chapter is to provide a detailed analysis of the introduction to the second volume of that work, the chapter entitled 'Introduction: Rhizome', which provides a sense of their central themes and style.
For the purposes of this book, the work of Deleuze and Guattari occupies an important relation to the two strands into which we have divided modern and postmodern theories of the