Thursday, 25 March 2010

Knights of the Round / Square table

I can recommend a reading of the Deleuze 'Roundtable' mentioned below, for a certain kind of comedy as well as for intellectual reasons. It's amusingly stacked pro-Deleuze (Eric Alliez, Claire Colebrook, Nicholas Thorburn, and Jeremy Gilbert versus Peter Hallward...), although Peter does, as usual hold his own. In terms of positioning Eric Alliez offers the most sophisticated, although patronisingly articulated, defence of Deleuze / Guattari located in terms of the analysis of real subsumption and the contemporary mutations of capitalism. Colebrook's 'normative' defence (w/o mentioning Canguilhem) of the Deleuze of life seems to embody the problems for me, rather than the solution. Thorburn, who has written a very interesting book on Deleuze and politics, which I don't entirely agree with, seems to end up rather side-lined.
In terms of interesting moments I quite agreed with Alliez on the anti-war demonstrations / marches in the UK - which the doxa now tends to regard as completely failed / an instance of clean hands / pseudo-protest. His suggestion that the potentialities of that series of protests may not be exhausted and 'not in my name' is not (necessarily) a sign of withdrawal, chime with my feelings. Peter notes we may just not know yet. As I noted in the post below I have most sympathy with what I perhaps unfairly called Peter's 'paleo-leftism', although vectored through communisation which would probe the limits of the affirmation of workers' identities. Despite Alliez makes the best attempt no-one really seems to much grapple with the question of the congruence of Deleuze and Guattari with the capitalism they analyse, more offering relentless and reiterated insistence that the Deleuzian analysis of affects, composition, minor/molar will provide key forms of analysis. There are also some amusing moments when it seems things got pretty nasty... at least on my reading.


johneffay said...

It is very funny, but rather depressing if you have any sort of sympathy for D&G.

Colebrook - 'But the ‘dialectical’ is the becoming'

I think Hallward does pretty well up against the massed ranks of the priesthood. I do agree with him that politically D&G are long on analysis and short on programme; something amply demonstrated by the waffle of the other respondents at the end of the discussion.

Benjamin said...

it was pretty funny, and I felt the D&G scholars could have done a better job. Unlike Peter I tend to think the problem with D&G is that they are too in the world, too congruent with the forces they are analysing. The very nostalgia of the position, I think, was evident in the paucity of invocations of relevant contemporary struggles, and how D&G might work today (Alliez gestured towards this, when not being mega-patronising...)