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Bringing Deleuze and Guattari down to Earth through Gregory Bateson: Plateaus, Rhizomes and Ecosophical Subjectivity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Robert Shaw



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Perhaps because of their dismissal of him as living “une carrière à l’américaine”, there have been few attempts to explore the relationship between the work of Gregory Bateson and that of Deleuze and Guattari. This paper offers two ways in which we might do this. First, it explores the concepts, such as plateau of intensity and rhizome, which migrate from Bateson into Capitalism and Schizophrenia. This helps focus on this text as an attempt to create and imagine non-schismogenic forms of social relation. Here, the earthliness of this work is a necessary ‘grounding’ for the plateaus that Deleuze and Guattari seek to develop. Second, this paper builds on this by looking at Guattari’s concept of ecosophical subjectivity, arguing that Bateson is crucial for the ‘ethico-political’ dimensions of this work. It concludes with the claim that as a key influence on their work, exploring Bateson in relation to Deleuze and Guattari can open up new understandings of the ‘earthliness’ of their ideas.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shaw R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Theory, Culture and Society

Year: 2015

Volume: 32

Issue: 7-8

Pages: 151-171

Print publication date: 01/12/2015

Acceptance date: 20/01/2014

Date deposited: 07/09/2015

ISSN (print): 0263-2764

ISSN (electronic): 1460-3616

Publisher: Sage


DOI: 10.1177/0263276414524451


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