A Thousand Plateaus

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A Thousand Plateaus  
Author Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
Original title Mille Plateaux
Translator Brian Massumi
Country France
Language French
Genre(s) Philosophy
Publisher Minuit (Original French); Continuum (English Translation)
Publication date 1980
Media type print (hardcover, paperback)

A Thousand Plateaus (French: Mille Plateaux) (1980) is a book by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and the psychoanalyst Félix Guattari. It forms the second part of their Capitalism and Schizophrenia project (the first part being Anti-Œdipus). This book is written as an accumulation of "plateaus", or fields of intensity, rather than a series of chapters (Deleuze and Guattari derived their concept of the "plateau" from a similar concept originated by Gregory Bateson). The concept of a thousand plateaus is borrowed from a Balinese Tantric tradition signifying a non-climactic orgasmic field of a Thousand Plateaus. [1]

In fact, Deleuze and Guattari argued that the entire "book" is not a "book" at all, but a multiplicity of plateaus. Chapters and books are self-contained worlds with beginnings and ends; with climaxes that dissipate the accumulated energy. In contrast, in the act of attaining a plateau one might begin at any point (signifying the absence of a strict beginning), and the accumulated energy of the "climb" is not dissipated in a climax, but instead is experienced as one intensity among many (signifying the absence of a strict end).

The work reflects Deleuze and Guattari's rejection of hierarchical (arborescent) organization in favor of less structured, "rhizomatic" organization. In A Thousand Plateaus they oppose the "nomadic war machine", a force of aggression or resistance that ultimately works toward preserving heterogeneity, to the "state apparatus", which strives toward homogenization and totalitarianism. In the last plateau the noosphere is invoked.

The English translation was made by Brian Massumi. Before the full translation appeared in 1988, the twelfth "plateau" was published separately as Nomadology: The War Machine (New York: Semiotext(e), 1986).

A Thousand Plateaus served as a 'model' for Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's book Empire. Negri, who has also collaborated with Guattari, once called it "the most important philosophical text of the 20th Century."[2]


[edit] "Plateaus"

  • Rhizome (Introduction)
  • 1914: One or Several Wolves?
  • 10,000 B.C.: The Geology of Morals (Who Does the Earth Think It Is?)
  • November 20, 1923: Postulates of Linguistics
  • 587 B.C.-A.D. 70: On Several Regimes of Signs
  • November 28, 1947: How Do You Make Yourself a Body Without Organs?
  • Year Zero: Faciality
  • 1874: Three Novellas, or "What Happened?"
  • 1933: Micropolitics and Segmentarity
  • 1730: Becoming-Intense, Becoming-Animal, Becoming-Imperceptible...
  • 1837: Of the Refrain
  • 1227: Treatise on Nomadology; The War Machine
  • 7000 B.C.: Apparatus of the Capture
  • 1440: The Smooth and the Striated

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Deleuze & Guattari (1980): A Thousand Plateaus. trsl.: Brian Massumi
  2. ^ Hardt and Negri (2000) and Guattari and Negri (1985).

[edit] Sources

[edit] External links

  • April 10, 2006 article by John Philipps, with an explanation of the incomplete translation of "agencement" by "assemblage" ("One of the earliest attempts to translate Deleuze and Guattari’s use of the term agencement appears in the first published translation, by Paul Foss and Paul Patton in 1981, of the article “Rhizome.” The English term they use, assemblage, is retained in Brian Massumi’s later English version, when “Rhizome” appears as the Introduction to A Thousand Plateaus.")
  • Capitalismandschizophrenia.org has proclaimed 2008 to become "A Year of a Thousand Plateaus", by introducing a global readership gathering around their wiki.
  • "Drawings from A Thousand Plateaus" presents a paragraph by paragraph diagrammatic interpretation of the first two chapters of A Thousand Plateaus, by artist Marc Ngui.
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