Metamorpho-logic: Bodies and Powers in A Thousand Plateaus

Paul Patton

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48 Citations (Scopus)


Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus is a rhizome book, made up
of a series of textual plateaus, rather than chapters, which deal with an
apparently heterogeneous array of contents. The successive plateaus do not
develop an argument so much as construct a number of concepts, in the
course of outlining a series of theoretical domains invented by the authors,
such as schizoanalysis, social cartography, pragmatics or nomadology. As a
result, it is difficult to say what the book is about. A Thousand Plateaus is
"about" all kinds of things: language, desire, music, forms of thought and
forms of social and political organisation. From the outset, it is apparent that
the form of the text is an important element of the project. Deleuze and
Guattari insist that "there is no difference between what a book talks about
and how it is made".' In effect, this book is a conscious attempt to invent, not
just a new style of writing but a new style of thought which they call nomad
thought. Accordingly, it is a matter of principle that it has no single, welldefined object or domain of enquiry. But this does not mean that it is without
unity or structure of any kind. The unity of this book lies in the fact that it
theorises a succession of assemblages, while assuming itself the form of a
particular kind of assemblage, a rhizome, in contrast to the tree structures
which are more commonly found in books of philosophy. Arborescent
structures are hierarchical, bounded systems with foundations or central axes
which provide clear-cut conditions of identity. Rhizomes, by contrast, are
flat, open-ended multiplicities defined only by thresholds beyond which an
increase of dimensions will involve a change in the nature of the system as a
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the British Society for Phenomenology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1994
Externally publishedYes


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