From Circuit Debater LD
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gilles Deleuze

**the page is a work in progress

Deleuze's theory

Deleuze believes that the subject is fundamentally unstable. There are a few reasons for this, one of the first being time. Deleuze says that, because the subject is always changing throughout time (e.g. I am not the same person I was 5 minutes ago) time fractures that subject and makes it so that they are always changing—hence being unstable or “fluid.” Another reason why Deleuze thinks that the subject is fluid is because of the infinite amount of momentary interactions subjects have with the world and how each experience changes the subject little by little; this is Deleuze’s affect theory and something that is discussed in greater detail later on.

Because Deleuze thinks that the subject is inherently insatiable, instability follows as a bad thing. There are a few different ways to justify this. One is an impact justified way: stability has been used to justify oppression, i.e. when you definitively say there is something that is, you also invent the concept of what isn’t, which creates in and out groups. Another way to justify this is that stability goes against the fundamental nature of subjects and prevents them from being able to make meaningful relationships with the world i.e. pursue their affect.





Multiplicity: Multiplicity is something that cannot change in number without changing in nature, i.e. it represents a Qualitative difference rather than a Quantitative one.

Affect Theory

Affect is a term central to deleuzian theory (or at least, how it’s read in debate) and means our emotions and experiences.

There are a few different distinctions of types of affect:

Active affect: where you actively seek to repeat certain types of experiences you had in the past to stimulate a certain emotion. E.g. you ride a roller coaster once and experience a thrilling adrenaline rush that you really like and then you continue to go to amusement parks and ride roller coasters in order to experience that feeling again.

Passive affect: where you passively allow something to affect you and do not actively act on it. E.g. you’re sitting on a boat in the middle of a canal and aren’t paddling, rather you let the current move your boat little by little. Passive affect isn’t necessarily bad but active affect is probably better since when you actively choose to pursue certain experiences, you are able to take control of your own relationships with others and with the world.

Reactive affect: when the state reacts to (active) affect by trying to commodify it. When people use active affect, the state reacts in a hostile way because it doesn’t want people to be able to form connections that could overpower it. Reactive affect is often used to overpower and dominate active affect.

Something important to note is that affect itself is a neutral thing. Certain standard texts/ROBs/Frameworks can say things like active affect are more desirable, but affect itself is just a result of change and experiencing.


Rhizome are Multiple Multiplicities put together in no order or structure. Rhizomes are important to think with because it helps question hierarchies and binaries and helps show how everything can be inter-related with each other. Usually, Rhizomes are thought of as a comparison between trees and ginger roots. Thinking is colloquially imagined as a tree, with roots, a trunk, and branches that grow up. This is based on the idea of hierarchies and categories; it can be seen everywhere from schools and development theories to workplace charts and the United States government. It provides a beginning bottom with a desired end goal to reach. Compare it to that of a ginger root, which grows in random directions and has no sense of order to it. There is no start and there is not end.

Deleuze notes six principles of the Rhizome

  1. Connection
  2. Heterogeneity Connection and Heterogeneity basically mean that anything can and must be connected, it doesn't matter how different or similar.
  3. Multiplicity
  4. Asignifying Rupture Asignifying Rupture means the Rhizome can be broken off at any point and it will always reconnect and start again.
  5. Cartography
  6. Decalcomania Cartography and Decalcomania which means you should think of the Rhizome as a map, something always open and can be entered and referenced at any point.

These six characteristics denote the Rhizome as a process that allows and aids us in questioning hierarchal organization.

a "rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle...intermezzo." Instead of thinking as objects as being simply "this" or "that" we should be thinking of objects as "this and that"

A simplified interpretation of the Rhizome can be this Wiki, there's no central pattern or root to the growth of the wiki.


Assemblage is a philosophical way of looking at the world and understanding how things work together. It's all about focusing on the diverse and complex connections between people, things, and stories. Instead of thinking that individuals have all the power, it suggests that the ability to do things is spread out in networks involving people, objects, and narratives. There are several ways philosophers approach assemblage thinking.

Three notable versions are:

Delanda’s-This version emphasizes the idea that assemblages are made up of different elements that interact with each other. For example, think of a city as an assemblage of buildings, people, transportation systems, and more. All these elements work together to make the city function.

Latour and Callon's (Actor-Network Theory)- They look at how both humans and non-human things (like technology or objects) play a role in shaping the world. For instance, consider how a smartphone connects people to information and other people, influencing how we interact and live our lives.

Deleuze and Guattari's- This is the most common version of assemblage in debate. It explores how different parts come together and create something new. Think of a musical band: the musicians, their instruments, and the audience all form an assemblage, and the music that emerges is a result of their interactions.

These different approaches share some important ideas:

They see the world as a web of relationships, where everything is connected and they highlight how new and unexpected qualities can emerge from these connections. For example, a community's culture can arise from the interactions between its members and their environment. They stress that the relationships within an assemblage are not fixed; they can change and adapt over time. Just like how people's roles and connections within a family can evolve.

Because Assemblage varies between different philosophers, the below information will be on Deleuze and Guattari's interpretation.

Deleuze and Guattari develop assemblage theory, drawing inspiration from dynamical systems theory, which studies how material systems self-organize. They extend this theory to encompass social, linguistic, and philosophical systems.

There are six key concepts in Deleuze and Guattari's Assemblage theory:

1. Assemblage: An assemblage is a complex constellation of singularities. These singularities are unique elements, and when they come together, they create an assemblage, like a puzzle with diverse pieces that fit together in specific ways.

2. Coding: Coding is the process by which elements within an assemblage are organized and ordered. It involves selecting, composing, and completing a territory. Think of it as arranging different parts into a structured whole, like organizing a group of people into a team with specific roles.

3. Stratification: Stratification occurs during the composition of a territory within an assemblage. It involves creating hierarchical structures or layers. For example, in a social context, it might involve creating a hierarchy of authority within an organization.

4. Territorialization: Territorialization is the ordering of bodies within the assemblage. It encompasses both material elements (like physical objects and actions) and immaterial elements (like ideas and statements). It's about establishing rules and boundaries within the assemblage.

5. Deterritorialization: This process involves the disconnection or disarticulation of elements within the assemblage. It's when components exit the assemblage, causing changes in its structure. Think of it as when people or ideas leave a group or organization, leading to shifts in dynamics.

6. Reterritorialization: Reterritorialization is the opposite of deterritorialization. It's the process by which new components enter the assemblage and create new connections. It's like when new members join a group, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives.

Lines of Flight

A "line of flight" is one of three key aspects in assemblages

   - Think of it as a way for these systems to adapt and change in response to new things happening in society, politics, or people's minds.

Note: In French, the original term is "ligne de fuite" in which "fuite" not only means "fleeing" but also suggests things like flowing, disappearing, or vanishing. So, it's about change and movement.

The concept is used to define a rhizome. A rhizome is a type of assemblage.

   The "line of flight" is like an abstract line or process that makes these systems change and connect with other systems. It's what enables them to adapt. It shows that these systems have a certain reality or shape, and they can't just add new dimensions. They need to transform through the "line of flight" if they want to change.

   It also lets these systems exist on a single plane of consistency, no matter how many dimensions they have. This means they can be flattened onto one level, making them more adaptable.

Examples of lines of flight include:

   - a political movement that started with one goal but adapted to new social and political changes, showing its "line of flight."

   - smartphones started with basic functions but adapted with new features to meet changing user needs.

   - your career might change as you adapt to new opportunities and challenges, showing your personal "line of flight."

   - ecosystems adapt to environmental changes, like rising sea levels, by changing their composition, demonstrating a "line of flight" in nature's complex systems.

In simple terms, the "line of flight" is all about how complex systems adapt and change in response to new things happening in the world, allowing them to stay relevant and transform as needed.


Schizoanalysis is an approach to understanding the human mind and society. It aims to analyze the unique ways in which our desires are connected to economic and political aspects of society. It explores how individuals desire things that might lead to their own repression, often involving psychological and social factors. It's about understanding the complex interplay between desire and the larger social context. Instead of simplifying things, schizoanalysis seeks to make them more complex and enriched with processes. It doesn't reduce complex issues; it embraces and explores their intricacies. It's about making things more diverse and varied in terms of their nature and development. Schizoanalysis was developed as a response to the limitations of traditional psychoanalysis in France. It emerged from work in institutional psychotherapy, where conventional psychoanalytic practices were challenged. Guattari wanted to find new ways of understanding and analyzing subjective structures, particularly for individuals dealing with psychosis. Its is aligned with a materialist viewpoint, which means it focuses on the material, real-world forces at play in the human mind and society. It doesn't merely deal with abstract concepts but looks at how actual forces and elements shape our experiences. In schizoanalysis, desire is seen as a powerful force that brings together different elements or assemblages. These elements are like the building blocks of our experiences and actions. Desire works to connect these elements and create a more potent way of acting or experiencing. Its interested in the idea that people and things are not static or limited. Instead, it explores the potential for change and becoming something different. It views individuals as multifaceted and ever-evolving, capable of transformation. Schizoanalysis uses a rhizomatic approach, which means it looks at systems and connections in a non-linear, interconnected way. It's about seeing how ideas, desires, and actions spread like the roots of a plant, in multiple directions.

Body Without Organs (BwO)

The BwO is an abstract idea that describes the unregulated potential of a body, which doesn't have to be a human body. This body operates freely without the usual organization or structure imposed on its parts. Deleuze and Guattari believed that the conscious and unconscious fantasies in psychosis and schizophrenia express the potential forms and functions of the body. These expressions demand liberation from the limitations imposed by organization and organs.

There are three types of BwO:

  1. the empty BwO- chaotic and undifferentiated

2. the full BwO- both destratified and intensified, allowing it to enter new relationships;

3. the cancerous BwO- too stratified and has predetermined objectives.

The concept is rooted in metaphysical ideas about the body, the unconscious in psychoanalysis, and concepts from philosophers like Spinoza and Immanuel Kant. It's not about fixed and determined activity but about potential and affective cohesion.

To become a BwO, one must break away from stratification (organizing into groups) and embrace an immanent "becoming" of pure intensity. It encourages transformation beyond existing categories.

The most common example used where Bodies without organs can be found is in the experiences of individuals like schizophrenics, drug addicts, and hypochondriacs. These bodies have abandoned stratification but haven't necessarily intensified, which makes them vulnerable to re-stratification.

Some other examples:

 A bird's egg represents life before the formation of strata (organizing structures) because it undergoes changes in its elements that result in a new organism.

Structure of Deleuze Positions in Debate



Deleuze is usually read as a kritik in the 1NC. It usually includes a (few) link(s), which are either topical or "generic state bad"* links, an impact which is usually fascism, and the alternative and role of the ballot (in no particular order).

*State bad links are links of a kritik which can be read on almost any topic where state action is used. These links, as suggested by the name, criticize the use of the state or the way in which the state is used.


Role of the Ballots

Miscellaneous Notes

- There is a very common card read in Deleuze frameworks in debate, the Deleuze 68 Card. Debaters will often read an independent voter on this card since Deleuze signed a petition to remove age of consent laws in France.

- Deleuze and Guattari is usually shortened to DnG or dng

-Good Deleuze Debaters include

  • Lake Highland Prep Harris Layson
  • Scarsdale Jessica Katz
  • Westlake Alex Coulter

Recommended Articles to Get Started with Deleuze

Deleuze and/or Guattari are one of the more challenging philosophies to understand-its not recommended to get into it unless you already have a good grasp of other philosophical concepts. In short, Deleuze should NOT be the first philosopher you read. Below in order of level of reading: "Beginner"

"Understanding Deleuze" (Claire Colebrook, 2000)

Introduction to the Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (Jean Khalfa 2003)

"Dialogues" (with Claire Parnet, 1977)

Intermediate and Beyond

"The Logic of Sense" (1969)

"A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia" (dng)

"Anti-Oedipus" (1972)

"What Is Philosophy?" (dng 1991)

"Difference and Givenness: Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence" (Levi R. Bryant, 2008)

"Difference and Repetition" (1968)