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  • Deleuze and Geophilosophy: A Guide and Glossary
  • Andrew Brown
Deleuze and Geophilosophy: A Guide and Glossary. By Mark Bonta and John Protevi. (Deleuze Connections). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004. x + 214 pp. Pb £26.99.

Given the centrality of ‘geography’ to the thought of Deleuze and Guattari (come on, guys, put him in your title too!), it is hardly surprising that a guide to their ‘geophilosophy’ should in fact be a usefully thought-provoking guide to their entire collaborative œuvre. This glossary includes entries on concepts that at first blush seem to have little to do with geophilosophy, or even space: ‘abstract machine’, ‘actual’, ‘affect’, ‘anti-production’, ‘artisan’, ‘axiomatic’ . . ., and we have not even left the ‘a’s. (The convention of alphabetical order, as so often, actually turns out to be a good way of deterritorializing discourse — and it is a pleasing aspect of this volume that practically none of its entries makes much sense without recourse to several others.) Capitalisme et schizophrénie (1972–80) was already itself a mapping of the modern world, with its peaks and plateaus, its hyperspatial connections, its vortices of intensity, its warps and wormholes. Bonta and Protevi take us through this exhilarating and alarming world, demonstrating with precision and élan that, for Deleuze and Guattari, ‘geophilosophy’ is earth-love-wisdom: a hundred years after Mahler we have a new Song of the Earth. The lyricism is perfectly apt: Bonta and Protevi insist, rightly, that crucial elements of Capitalisme et schizophrénie are derived from music — from Schumann’s refrains, from Messiaen’s birds, from Boulez’s smooth and striated spaces. Not that their analysis is at all romantic: they are forever emphasizing that geophilosophy is a good guide to contemporary political realities. Take ‘holey spaces’ (espaces troués), for example (pp. 95–96): these are a subsoil space of ‘swiss cheese’, and are where so-called ‘rogue regimes’ (a pleonasm?) hide their weapons from spy satellites. Iraq hid its WMD in holey space, where nobody has yet found them; Al-Qaeda lurks in caves (ditto). Space can be holey; it can also be arboreal. The Colombian FARC takes refuge not in caves, but [End Page 371] in the rain forests — an equally anarchic habitat. Yes, the forest may seem orderly and hierarchical, ‘striated by “gravitational verticals”’ (i.e. trees) (p. 88), but we must not fail to see the wood for the trees (as Deleuze and Guattari apparently have): the tree is deterritorialized by the forest, in which flows go in every direction (the strangler fig can grow from top to bottom and back again). ‘Its plateaus avoid climax’ (p. 88): forests are foris, ‘outside’ (p. 89), and thus pose a considerable threat to the State. The book’s Appendix, a case study of the ‘entangled spaces’ (p. 169) of Olancho in eastern Honduras, drawn largely from Bonta’s work there, constitutes an experimental try-out of Deleuzoguattarian ideas, tentative and suggestive: it concludes on something of a ‘new environmentalist’ riff, and this absorbing, inspiring work ends with the hope that geography might become ‘the shelter’ for the ‘vast diversity’ (p. 190) of everything (except the State and multinationals) — a rewrite of Heidegger’s shepherds of Being, perhaps, though without their crooks.

Andrew Brown


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