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schizoanalysis


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Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari's term for their project of re-engineering psychoanalysis by (i) repolarizing it around psychosis rather than neurosis and (ii) aligning it with Marxism by finding a true point of commonality between the respective discourses. The word first appears in Deleuze and Guattari's first collaborative effort, L'Anti-Oedipe (1972), translated as Anti-Oedipus (1977), and recurs in their subsequent books, Kafka: Pour une littérature mineure (1975), translated as Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature (1986), and Mille Plateaux (1980), translated as A Thousand Plateaus (1987), but, interestingly enough, does not appear in their final collaborative work Qu'est-ce que la philosophie? (1991), translated as What is Philosophy? (1994). In Anti-Oedipus Deleuze and Guattari specify that the project of creating schizoanalysis involves three tasks—one negative and two positive. The negative task is the setting aside of those aspects of psychoanalysis which in their view do not work—this is not as straightforward as simply jettisoning the concepts of the id, ego, and superego because Deleuze and Guattari are prepared to say that psychoanalysis works perfectly insofar as it is only a matter of dealing with neuroses, but the problem is that neuroses are a second order problem, meaning that—contrary to Freud—they do not tell us anything essential about the operation of the unconscious. Deleuze and Guattari argue that the unconscious is schizophrenic at its core but machine-like in its processes, which they refer to as desiring-production, and that in its day-to-day operations it creates desiring-machines which combine with one another to produce the assemblage known as the subject. The two positive tasks are: first, discover in a subject the nature, formation, and function of their desiring-machines; second, separate the psychic investments of desire from the psychic investments of interest. These three tasks are predicated on the following four theses: (i) every libidinal investment of the unconscious is social (not personal) and therefore bears upon a historical field; (ii) there are two types of unconscious libidinal investment—desire and interest; (iii) the non-familial (or psychotic) unconscious libidinal investments have priority over the familial (or neurotic) investments; (iv) the unconscious libidinal investments of desire have two modes—paranoid and utopian. Schizoanalysis cannot be considered a completed project: it must continue to adapt and change to keep in step with the changing times.

(i) every libidinal investment of the unconscious is social (not personal) and therefore bears upon a historical field; (ii) there are two types of unconscious libidinal investment—desire and interest; (iii) the non-familial (or psychotic) unconscious libidinal investments have priority over the familial (or neurotic) investments; (iv) the unconscious libidinal investments of desire have two modes—paranoid and utopian.

Further Reading:

I. Buchanan Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus (2008).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.


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