Ahab and Becoming-Whale: The Nomadic Subject in Smooth Space

Tamsin Lorraine

in Deleuze and Space

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780748618743
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671762 | DOI:
Ahab and Becoming-Whale: The Nomadic Subject in Smooth Space

Show Summary Details


This chapter explores the alternative conception of space that emerges in the concepts of heterogeneous blocks of space-time and smooth space which are outlined by Deleuze and Guattari in their A Thousand Plateaus. It first examines the concepts of territoriality (or milieu) and of the refrain in Deleuze and Guattari's description of the subject as actually constituted by the various rhythms of the body's components and their relations to interior and exterior blocks of space-time that become homogenized into the lived experience of an organism. According to this new conception of the conditions of stability and identity, ‘the organism as a self-regulating whole with its own spatial orientation can then be opened up to forces beyond it’. Taking up the frequent references that Deleuze and Guattari employ in A Thousand Plateaus to Melville's Moby Dick, and to the character of Ahab in particular, the chapter explicates the concept of the ‘nomadic subject’ which occurs when a process of subjectivity reaches a critical threshold that pushes it into another pattern of activity, thus actualizing singularities that were previously only implicit, and its power to affect changes, and be affected by changes as well.

Keywords: Deleuze; Gilles; space; space-time; A Thousand Plateaus; Moby Dick

Chapter.  7794 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.