This article investigates three recent transnational documentaries. The films invoke the theoretical concept of the rhizome, as understood by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, for the works trouble the line between past and present, as well as empirical geography that separates North Africa from France with the Meditteranean. In this way, the three works that study Algeria’s founding and its historical memory can be regarded as experimental explorations of spatial and temporal concepts.
Algérie tours, détours (2006), La Chine est encore loin (2009), Fidaï (2012)
Nicole Beth Wallenbrock
Inter-species Relations, Perspectives and 'Doublethink' in a Catalonian Chimpanzee Sanctuary
This article draws on ethnographic research conducted in a chimpanzee sanctuary in Catalunya, and contributes to contemporary theoretical debates surrounding Viveiros de Castro's recent injunction for anthropologists to 'take seriously' the worlds of their ethnographic interlocutors. Taking seriously apparent contradictions in keepers' reflections on the care of chimpanzees, the concept of 'doublethink' is introduced as a heuristic in order to appreciate both their practices of boundary maintenance and the strong inter-species relationships which proliferate at the sanctuary. Anthropologies of Euro-American naturalism must be ready to appreciate both the apparently unbridgeable dualisms utilized and enacted by their interlocutors, and the simultaneous disappearance, dissolution and intermittent irrelevance of these dualisms in their interlocutors' encounters and reflections. The article concludes with a rethinking of the alienability/inalienability of others' worlds.
Statist Imperatives and Bureaucratic Aesthetics in Divided Jerusalem
This article discusses one vector of statist control in present-day Jerusalem, a divided city that is held together primarily by the bureaucratic and military grip of the Israeli state. This vector is composed through the positioning of four architectural forms, the last three of which have, in particular, qualities of walls, but of walls that enfold. I refer to them as the 'museum-wall', the 'mall-wall', and the 'separation barrier'. These physical forms are brought into conjunction through the idea of vector, used loosely in a topological way (as distinct from topographical), in which value is carried (non-linearly) through space—that is, it is enhanced and made more powerful as it is shaped in its continuing. These walls capture and contain, folding into themselves that which they circumscribe and thereby recursively fortifying themselves.
This article proposes using the theoretical discussions of Deleuze and Guattari as a means of comprehending the various ways in which individuals speak about their ethnic identity. This is done through a case study of a state-run educational boarding school offered to subjects identified as 'ethnic' in Israel. The findings expose two ways of talking about ethnic identity: 'minor language' and 'major language'. What I term the 'major language of ethnicity' makes substantial use of state language and offers two hierarchical categories that serve as an archetype for classifying groups. The 'minor language of ethnicity', on the other hand, offers multiple local identifications and potential identity alternatives. The article suggests using dynamics at the foundation of these concepts to consider the position of the researcher and to expose existential 'lines of flight' and life inventions of subjects in everyday life.
The Erotics and Politics of the Soil in Contemporary Poetry
The critique of foundations has been a dominant concern of contemporary philosophy and theory in the last decades. One might trace this interest back to Friedrich Nietzsche’s radical questioning of knowledge and truth. It has produced its most elaborate results in the works of deconstructionist thinkers, among whom one might list Gilles Deleuze. His, admittedly very dense and at least at first glance opaque, excursion on foundations cited above even invokes the term ‘soil’ as an attempt to distinguish grounds and foundations as ultimately metaphysical constructions from their material and empirical bases with whom they interact to form human experience and history.
On the Nomadicity and Nationality of Cultural Vocabularies
Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, and Isabelle Stengers fought against a state-controlled form of science and saw “nomadic science/concepts” as a way to escape from it. The transnational history of the term milieu marks a good opportunity to contribute to another theory of nomadic vocabularies. Traveling from France to Germany, the word milieu came to be identified as a French theory. Milieu was seen as an expression of determinism, of the connection between the rise of the natural sciences and the rise of socialism, and it deterred the majority of German academics. Umwelt was thus coined as an “antimilieu” expression. This article defends a “transnational historical semantic” against the Koselleckian history of concepts and its a priori distinctions between words and concepts. Instead of taking its nature for granted, a transnational historical semantic investigation should analyze the terminological and national status given to the objects of investigation by the term's users.
Or, The Art of Affection in Nicolette Krebitz’s Wild
Wild tells the story of an intelligent and sensitive young woman who lives quite a boring life caught in routines in a German city. The accidental encounter with a wild wolf changes her life forever. What is interesting about the film is the way in which it tends to blur the line that typically separates animal and human life by highlighting the process of mutual affection. According to the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, affection induces bodily transformations, which take place on a precognitive level of perception. By way of various cinematographic techniques, Wild is aesthetically able to both reflect on and perform such transformations, presenting them as a motif and a form of spectatorship at one and the same time.
Thomas R. Flynn
We are celebrating the centennial year of the birth of Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980). His death and the huge funeral cortege that spontaneously gathered on that occasion marked the passing of the last of the philosophical "personalities" of our era. Contrast, for example, his departure, which I did not witness, with that of Michel Foucault, which I did. The latter was acknowledged in a modest ceremony at the door of the Salpêtrière Hospital; his private funeral in the province was even more stark. The two passings exhibit the distinction graphically. Foucault, the most likely candidate to become Sartre's successor as reigning intellectual on the Left Bank, exited the institution that had figured in several of his books attended by a small crowd of a couple hundred, admittedly assembled without public notification, on a damp morning to hear Gilles Deleuze read a brief passage from the preface to The Uses of Pleasure. Describing philosophy as "the critical work that thought brings to bear on itself," the message had an ironically haunting Sartrean ring.
Leonie Ansems de Vries
Michel Foucault's genealogy of the entry of life into politics provides an incisive account of the manner in which life came to be governed on the basis of its understood biological capacities and requirements. Foucault problematises biopolitics as a mode of governance through which life's potentialities are both produced and immobilised via the continuous (re)production of circulations, or the constitution of the milieu. The question is whether governance can be (dis)ordered such that this problem of biopolitical foreclosure is overcome. This problematique will be broached in this article by staging an encounter between Foucault's problematisation of biopolitical life and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's biophilosophy, which offers the promise of an ontological movement to think political life anew. Engaging Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the milieu, the article explores whether a shift of focus to an understanding of political life in terms of its potentialities of mobile and relational becoming within a wider play of forces can offer a viable strategy to counter the problematic foreclosure of politics to which Foucault draws attention.
Roar Høstaker and Agnete Vabø
Research and higher education are, to a greater extent, being governed and evaluated by other than fellow scholars. These changes are discussed in relation to Gilles Deleuze's notion of a transition from 'societies of discipline' to what he called 'societies of control'. This involves a shift from pyramidshaped organisations, built upon authority, to a set of lateral controls and hybrid power structures. This theory and its logic are compared with other theories that have been used to explain such changes in higher education: New Public Management, new modes of knowledge production, academic capitalism, trust and the role of higher education in social reproduction. The development of lateral controls is analysed in relation to the de-coupling of the state as the guarantor of academic quality, the changing status of the academic disciplines and scientific employees, managerialism, the new modularised study programmes and the changing position of external stakeholders. The article, drawing on empirical studies from higher education in Norway, suggests possible affects of the change to 'societies of control' on research, teaching and learning in higher education.