Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 7th Dec 2022, 11:35:48am CET

Session Overview
D&G and Structuralism I
Tuesday, 06/July/2021:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Petr Prášek
Session Topics:
D&G and structuralism

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11:00am - 11:30am

On the concept of “involution” in Deleuze and Guattari

Tatsuya HIGAKI

Osaka University, Japan

The concept of involution is proposed by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus, in a context relating to Bergson, as a concept unique to the two thinkers. This concept, which is linked with the notion of involvement or implication in Difference and Repetition, as opposed to the Leibnizian notion of evolution, does not only have the meaning of regression of deterioration (as opposed to evolution), but also has a strong sense of connecting together heterogeneous elements within a virtual domain in the process of something’s development. The Brazilian anthropologist Viveiros de Castro links this concept with the notion of demonic alliance, which he highlights as a contrast to the notion of filiation, and he sees this as a kind of forefront of the ideas of intensity and becoming. Keeping in mind the historical development of thought after Leibniz, in this presentation I would like to show the potential of horizontal heterogeneous connections as opposed to the concept of filiation, as well as its relation with “becoming” in concrete instances such as life and kinship structures, and seek a methodology.

11:30am - 12:00pm

Territorial Semiotics, or Deleuze and Guattari’s Break with Structuralism

Guillaume Collett

University of Kent

Since, for Deleuze and Guattari, territories are semiotic constructs, the two go hand in hand. I will show how this pairing of concepts provides the basis for their critique of structuralism, which presents it as a form of despotism. If semiotic systems are to be considered as inseparable from territory, the analysis of such systems becomes inherently political. What determines how a semiotic system operates in a given territory rests on the relation between a territory’s two functional halves: its plane of territorializing semiotic expression and its plane of territorialized non-semiotic functions. The more dominant the former is over the latter, the more “despotic” or “imperial” a semiotic regime is. Such an analysis itself rests on an investigation of the concept of assemblage. At the heart of this concept is the notion that structures are structured by machinic components that are themselves non-structural, thereby incorporating into the category of structure its own tendency towards de-structuring. Assessing how a semiotic system works in a given territory requires an analysis of the interplay between machine and structure in that territory, an interplay that itself defines a territory’s modalities. Understanding how structure can work to “enslave” the machine and thereby fix territory allows us to address the politics of a so-called despotic semiotic. However, I will finish by touching on how the capitalist semiotic fundamentally modifies the relation between structure and territory found in the despotic semiotic, giving rise to its own dark doppelgängers of deterritorialization and the machinic.

12:00pm - 12:30pm

The Materiality of Words: Tensors and Territory in D&G’s Philosophy of Language

Charlie Bowen

University of Kent, United Kingdom

Throughout their work, D&G find philosophical value in the ‘esoteric words’ and unconventional syntax of certain authors. Such breaks with standard language they call “tensors”: the “cutting edge of deterritorialization”, which push language to breaking point (ATP 99). In the language of Kafka, these underlie “minor literature”, as they deconstruct the structure of “major languages” into an asignifying asyntactic “scream” (Kafka 26). ‘Major languages’ make linguistic expression transcendent and ideal: as Saussurean langue, it is separate from the material world. This is the immaterial (non-)territory of linguistic structure, distinct from the content to which it refers, whose ‘meaning’ is stable and clear. Tensors are then lines of flight of this language, as they mark the point where its structure fails and its immanent processes of production become visible.

But how do they work? D&G show how minor literature reintroduces content into expression, so situating enunciation in its material conditions (Kafka 82). Like ‘art’ in What Is Philosophy?, minor literature maps the flows of language and shows its immanent production. This paper therefore argues that tensors deterritorialise the ideal (non-)territory of language by reterritorialising it into its immanent spatiotemporal materiality, which is always dynamic and, hence, deterritorialising in the same moment. By demonstrating the artificiality of langue, tensors reduce language to the territory of its expression. As Kafka shows, however, this territory is always embedded in machinic-collective assemblages of desire-enunciation, and so is always the territory of a line of flight, away from structure, towards the non-meaning of minor language.

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