Theory of Delay in Balibar, Freud and Deleuze: <i>Décalage, Nachträglichkeit, Retard</i>

Edited by Jeffrey A. Bell and Claire Colebrook

in Deleuze and History

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748636082
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671748 | DOI:
Theory of Delay in Balibar, Freud and Deleuze: Décalage, Nachträglichkeit, Retard

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This chapter investigates two of Gilles Deleuze's resources for a theory of delay: Balibar and Sigmund Freud. Balibar's concept of delay (décalage) makes delay a consequence of complex synchrony. Freud's concept of delay (Nachträglichkeit) makes synchrony an artifact of delayed reaction. Deleuze's concept of delay (retard) treats synchrony as delay itself. Balibar explains the possibility of transitions without a general theory of transition. Balibar criticises Marx for not seeing the history during late capitalism, namely during the time in which capitalism's dissolution into communism is delayed. Deleuze argues that Freud's theory of delay erroneously depends on a ‘solipsistic unconscious’ rather than an ‘intersubjective unconscious’. The ongoing challenge to Deleuzian philosophy of history is to reveal how concrete assemblages of abstract temporalities can do the work that revolutionary historiography used to do with the succession of modes of material production.

Keywords: delay; Gilles Deleuze; Balibar; Sigmund Freud; décalage; Nachträglichkeit; retard; capitalism; Deleuzian philosophy of history

Chapter.  8651 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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