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Deleuze and Politics$
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Ian Buchanan and Nicholas Thoburn

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748632879

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748632879.001.0001

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Power, Theory and Praxis

Power, Theory and Praxis

(p.13) Chapter 1 Power, Theory and Praxis
Deleuze and Politics

Ian Buchanan

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that Deleuze's political philosophy can be understood as a contribution to and a departure from the concentrated debates on the issue of power which dominated the French intellectual scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Desire, rather than power, Deleuze and Guattari argue, should be the central plank in any meaningful account of contemporary politics. In an interview with Foucault published shortly before the appearance of Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze makes his case for focusing on questions of desire rather than power by arguing that the manifestations and machinations of power are obvious. What is not obvious, he argues, is why we collectively tolerate it. The chapter argues that, for Deleuze, the central political question is the mystery of voluntary subservience. It shows how Anti-Oedipus provides a first and provisional response to this problem, which was to preoccupy both Deleuze and Guattari for most of the rest of their lives.

Keywords:   Gilles Deleuze, political philosophy, power, desire, Félix Guattari, voluntary subservience, Anti-Oedipus

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